He has a lengthy resume and impressive credentials in Ontario’s emergency medical services field and a three-year stint as an advanced health and safety specialist with the United Nations Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons based in the Hague.
But Patrick Allen, who was let go as the manager of EMS and health and safety with TO2015 two weeks ago, never anticipated having to deal with what can be described as an extremely toxic organization rife with dysfunctional characters, turf protection and gridlocked decision making.
In an in-depth interview done before Pan Am officials offered him a severance (which had a confidentiality clause designed to silence him), Allen said that in the nearly 15 months he was with the organization, he ran into constant indecision and senior executives who spent more time on empire building, micromanaging and competing for more budget dollars than actually saving money or getting the job at hand done.
When new chairman David Peterson came on board last fall and subsequently brought in Saad Rafi, the former deputy minister of health during the Ornge scandal, the logjam was exacerbated because there was a new culture of fear within the organization, Allen said.
“There seems to be a general fear among senior leaders to make a decision,” he said. “They have a fear of getting shown the door and not making their big bonuses (once the games are delivered).”
Allen claims the logjam was brought up about a month ago at the weekly town hall Rafi holds on the 7th floor of their Corus Quay offices. Rafi apparently said they recognize that they have to get better at decision making so “things can go through.”
Allen had his own personal experience trying three times to get a much-needed health and safety plan for the entire organization through the Games Operating Team (GOT). To this day, it has been mired in the group’s inability to make a decision and a fight by executives in infrastructure to grab the $1.2-million budget attached to health and safety, he said. His worry is that young employees have had no health and safety training to use while on the job, which leaves the organization “exposed” to liabilities should an accident occur.