I just had a long conversation with a caregiver who obviously has left one of the TC property Manager's feeling rather upset. It seems that there is a feeder who is feeding the cats upstairs. The cats obviously then go upstairs and lies in the corridor. The complainant walks down the same corridor to take the lift and passes the cat. She said she is frightened of the cat.
The feeder in the area went down and took a look. Apparently, he said he left a note under the feeder's door and he did not see any cats around.
Recently last week, there was another complainant from the same woman who says the cat is still lying on the 6th floor corridor. Another officer went down and told another feeder in the area to remove the cat by this week as the complainant had said she would go to the MP.
The feeder I spoke to then went straight to the MP and said that he wanted the MP to tell the complainant to be more tolerant. He said that the cat should not be removed just because she's scared of cats (which is true). He also got upset that she apparently said people were feeding in the void deck and asked why that should bother her (again true).
I agree that the cat shouldn't be killed just because the woman is scared of cats, but we are all in agreement that the cat should not be upstairs in the first place! The feeder said it's very dangerous for the cats and is sure to result in complaints - and so instead of arguing that the woman should in his words, get over her phobia, we should try and find a way to solve the problem. He said that he was willing to concede that in some cases it may be a serious condition - so say she has a letter from her doctor certifying she really does ailurophonia, do we then have to get rid of the cat?
The main thing as I told him is to try and SOLVE the problem. If the feeder will just stop feeding upstairs, the cat will then go downstairs, and presto the problem is solved. As for the situation with the cats in the void deck, there is no issue with that and he might want to point THAT out to the MP instead of asking the MP to insist the woman be more tolerant. The MP isn't God and can't do anything about the latter, but he may be able to about the former.
In addition, I asked him why he went to the MP. This TC has been quite helpful and the feeder said he wanted to show the TC he's not scared of them, though obviously the directive to remove the cat came from a property officer - and not even her boss, the property manager he usually deals with. I asked him if he spoke to the manager to try and work it out. He had not but had gone straight to the MP to show he's not scared of the TC. He then called the Manager to tell him he went to the MP.
I said that it's important to try and build a relationship of trust. The Property Manager had been reasonable all along. Instead of going straight to the MP, I suggested he speak with the Property Manager first and try and work it out. The feeder said that the Manager would now be know they cannot be bullied. I said the flipside is that they may no longer wish to deal with him anymore on the more casual terms that they used to and be less prepared to cut him more slack as well.
If you are in a situation where the Property Officer is not being approachable or helpful, then approach the person who is their direct superior (the Property Manager). If they are unhelpful, then see the Senior Manager, then the General Manager. This is good for two reasons - one, sometimes employees work on their own initiative. This may not be what the people higher up in the TC wanted and to deal with it directly would STILL rectify the situation, but avoid the embarrassment to everyone involved if it was brought up to the MP. Two, it shows that you don't complain at the drop of a hat. You went through all the proper channels and tried to work it out with the TC before going to talk to your MP. It will contrast nicely with the other complainants who went down at the drop of a hat.
If you go down because you fear the complainant is going down to see the MP first but the TC has been supportive, then let the TC know as a courtesy anyway as it has nothing to do with them. Tell the MP the TC is doing a good job if they are. Explain what YOU are doing. Let them know what you have done, as opposed to what the other person has done. Actions speak louder than words sometimes - and if you have been reasonable, co-operative and helpful, that speaks volumes, especially if the other party has not been.
I just spoke to the Property Manager and said I would go down and check the area out too. I told him that the main thing is to get the cat down. He said the woman is in agreement that she is willing to give it more time, but wanted to know what would happen if eventually she got pregnant and the cat dashed out, scared her and she fell. Who would be responsible?
I said none of us would ever wish that to help, and we certainly hope the situation is resolved by then, but if it SHOULD happen, it's not the TC's (or anyone's) fault or responsibility. It's an accident, and the same thing could happen if a child dashed across when she wasn't expecting it, or any other unexpected occurence, which is why they're called accidents. He agreed.