New Boss In Town

2610 Words
Brixton Beckwith watched as the CFO returned to the conference room with two women and his face set in a frustrated countenance. The man shot Solomon Anders a nasty look before pausing to pull out a chair for each of his compatriots. Brixton Beckwith’s eyes narrowed on the brunette with the hair tied in a bun at the nape of her neck with a pencil shoved through the knot of it. She was familiar to him but he couldn’t place her and when Mordecai introduced her as Julie Haversham, he was certain he didn’t know the name. She must have one of those faces. The other woman, Opal Weaver with her mousey brown hair in a mess of curls reminded him of a girl he’d known in university who spent all her time in the library never coming up for air or fun. She had to be the accountant who worked with Mordecai. He found his eyes drawn back to the assistant. Julie, he was sure Mordecai had called her. She was looking everywhere but at him and her fingers were clenched on the tabletop. She was nervous. Perhaps she thought she was there to be fired. His review of the company over the last week had demonstrated the only department which never ran at a deficit and was always run efficiently was the one run by Mordecai. Reports were always timely, absenteeism in the department was minimal and it was by far the least of his worries in taking over the company. He noted as Opal leaned sideways and whispered in her ear and she shot her a warning look and turned to whisper back in the woman’s ear. The older woman paled considerably, flicked a glance at him and then averted her eyes to the table. Interesting. He found himself curious to know what Julie had muttered about him which made the woman suddenly appear terrified. “Break’s over. Let’s resume, shall we?” Brix shrugged his shoulders and motioned for the people who were standing to sit again. “For those of you joining us, Solomon and Elaine would like to thank you for your dedication over the last several years. They will be leaving now.” “I’m not leaving!” Elaine sputtered furiously. “Elaine,” Brix leaned back and eyeballed the woman with a shake of his head, “as much as I value your wealth of experience in the national and local real estate world, since this company was signed over completely to Solomon six years ago his transfer of the company to our holdings does not concern you.” “My name is on the sign! It was my sweat equity which went into this place!” “Yet for insurance purposes you transferred full ownership of the company to your soon to be ex-husband. I cannot have a disgruntled employee working for me. The deal is done. Whatever else you want to fight over, take it up in court with your spouse. It no longer concerns anyone at this table. He signed over the title to this company to BrixWith Holdings as of nine am this morning. Leave before I have you escorted out and tossed on your ass.” “Ouch.” He heard the small whisper from the end of the table and then noted Opal blushing furiously as she realized she’d spoken aloud. He kept his face neutral but inside he chuckled. Mordecai’s junior manager was feisty. Solomon clapped slowly as he rose from his seat and nodded at Brix. “Brixton, thank you for your quick resolution of our business. Elaine,” he tapped his fingers to his forehead as if tipping his hat, “a giant f**k-you to you!” He smirked as he grabbed his coat off a chair, swung it over his shoulder in a casual move and whistled as he left the conference room with more pep in his step than a man who had lost his life’s work should have. Brix fought the twist of his lips at the man’s smugness. He knew without a shadow of a doubt the man had gone to Vegas with the sole intent and purpose of f*****g his wife over even if it meant leaving himself with nothing but the clothes on his own back. He wondered what it took for a man after forty years of marriage to become so hateful he would stoop so low. He knew the story of the pool boy but he also knew there had to be more to it than this. Nobody gave up their life’s work over a cheating wife. Elaine lost her temper at Solomon’s actions and began shrieking with fury. He looked to his head of security and nodded. In seconds three men came through the doors and were hauling her out of the conference room and towards the elevators. She was screaming she’d see him in court but he shook his head. “Now the ugliness is out of the way, Mordecai, can you please give me a rundown on the first quarter results to date? It was the only report missing from my files when I began reviewing the company this week.” “Of course,” Mordecai shoved a thumb drive into a laptop on the table and motioned to Julie. Brix watched her closely as she used a remote and a screen lowered from the ceiling to the wall behind her and then leaned over her boss’ shoulder and touched his keyboard which shared the laptop display to the wall. She whispered in Mordecai’s ear and he grinned and patted her hand resting on his shoulder. She gave a crooked smile and resumed her seat, never once looking in his direction. Again, as he studied her side profile while Mordecai pulled up his report, he found himself again fighting a feeling of déjà vu. He knew her from somewhere. Name or no name, he knew her. The way the comptroller had blanched at her whisper told him she’d made a disparaging comment. He leaned backwards and motioned to Malik. He whispered in his ear, “Get me everything on the PA. Dig deep. Something is off.” For the next thirty minutes, he gave his full attention to the CFO and forced his mind off the skittish judgemental brunette. He decided it was what was bothering him most. He felt she was judging him as if she knew him personally and it was nettling under his skin. “You noted two departments were in the red this quarter. Marketing and human resources. Can you a hazard a guess as to why?” Brix asked Mordecai. “They’re not my departments. I can’t explain why they do the things they do.” “I didn’t ask you to explain why they’ve done what they’ve done. I want to know what they’ve done which drove them to the red.” Mordecai shook his head and looked to his PA and junior manager with a sigh. “We’ve discussed this so much between the three of us any of us could recite it in our sleep.” He looked to Opal. Opal opened her mouth, “at the risk of feeling like a tattle tale, marketing has a history of wining and dining their clients to excess. We buy and sell real estate for millionaires and billionaires all over the US and we rely on their word of mouth and their contacts to bolster our business but we also need to run advertising campaigns on local, national, and international television channels, especially during prime time. We run internet campaigns and even have a team which is allocated to social media. Yet, for all the advertising we do and the great work we do for our clients, we throw lavish parties with our clients as the guest of honor. Last month, we closed on a fifty-million-dollar island for a client and instead of taking his money, shaking his hand, and thanking him for his business, we threw him a party which cost fifty grand in food, booze, and entertainment. We already had his business. We already secured it. The deal was signed. It wasn’t as if we were going to get him to buy another island through us. Why were we schmoozing so big for one guy? Elaine and Solomon approved it so it went ahead.” “This happens frequently?” “At least three times a year but usually quarterly or more for as long as I’ve been here,” Opal shrugged. “I’ve been here twelve years.” “What’s the issue with HR?” he noticed both Opal and Mordecai looked to Julie who appeared she would rather chew a dish of nails and glass than be put on the spot and he raised an eyebrow at her. “I don’t have all day Ms. Haversham.” She inhaled at his tone and then turned to face him head on flicking a glance at Macey, the head of the department she was about to shred. “There are multiple individuals in HR who work a lot of overtime. I myself work occasional overtime when it’s nearing month end or end of quarter. However, when reviewing payroll as is part of my job, I have noted there are people in the department who work sixty hours a week on a routine basis. I am not insinuating there is not a need for the hours to be worked as I’m not part of the department and I don’t know their intricacies. I am simply stating the fact the department statistically appears to have more overtime than all other departments combined.” “Why?” He turned his attention to Macey. “What is going on in your department you have individuals who are overworked to the point they work sixty-hour work weeks?” She appeared flummoxed and he c****d his head at her hesitation. “Do you not know why your own staff are pulling these hours?” “We had several people leave in a short period of time –” “If there was a hole in the staff count than the overtime would offset the hole. Try again without the bullshit.” He leaned forward and put his hands on the table upwards as if imploring her to explain, “don’t give me what you think I want to hear. I want the truth. It’s easier if you tell me the truth outright or I come down and spend a week in your department, figure it out myself and then if I decide the department isn’t being appropriately run, I’ll fire the entire lot of you.” He was rewarded with an entirely silent room and he looked around and pointed at Julie. “Why is her department running overtime?” “I don’t know why.” She swallowed at being put on the spot. “I told you the ‘what’ but I don’t know the why.” He watched her fingernails scratch a spot on the table uncomfortably and so he looked back to Mordecai, “was this not questioned by your office? As CFO do you not have the right to question this?” “I have and I have been told time and time again the scheduling and hours were approved by Elaine and as such I had no authority to question the payroll input.” He looked back to Macey, “now we’re back to you. Why are your staff pulling overtime to such excess?” “They’re not,” Macey finally broke. “Two of my staff are direct relatives of Elaine. Elaine couldn’t pay them a higher rate of pay than their counterparts because they’re all in HR and can easily look up each other’s payrates. Instead, she told them to submit overtime biweekly which would inflate their salary. They have to arrive ten minutes before and leave ten minutes after the last person in the office to maintain the appearance they’d been there longer than anyone else.” He sat back in his chair in stunned silence and looked to his lawyer and his own accountant who were both as perplexed by this revelation. There were times when he was purchasing a new company, he thrived on the excitement of what he would uncover but rarely did he come across a situation which caused him to be stumped and yet between the way the brunette at the end of the table was discretely shooting daggers at him like she despised him to the pits of her soul and the blatant fraud he’d just uncovered he was confounded. He rubbed his forehead and looked back to Macey. “Are they good at their jobs?” Macey nodded. “Celia is a great team lead to my staff and keeps the motivated. She is Elaine’s great niece.” “Go on.” “Mavis is her cousin. She’s actually really good at de-escalating tension between staff. She has a calming presence and when the real estate agents are getting in each other’s faces over sales she keeps them from tearing each other apart.” “Are they worth paying one and a half times the rate of their counterparts?” At her silence he grimaced, “of course they’re not. I will personally meet with both of them and let them know the arrangement they had with Elaine ceases effective immediately. This should help you get your departmental budget back under control if you’re recouping a hundred and sixty hours of pay at an overtime rate of –” he looked to Mordecai questioningly. “Time and a half.” He supplied quickly. “A hundred and sixty hours of pay at time and a half each month coming off your time sheets will ease your budget issues.” He grimaced. “It is not my intent to come into this company and fire everyone. I don’t operate this way. For those of you in this room unfamiliar with who I am, I worked my way up in my stepfather’s company and when he was ready to retire, I bought him out and turned his company into an international conglomerate. I do not tear companies apart. I make them part of my family and I make them bigger and better than they ever have been. However, I do not ever tolerate three things and I expect this to be filtered down to your staff.” He stood up and leaned on the table, “one. Do not ever steal from me. Not ever. If you take a paper clip from this company and I find out, you’re gone. Two. Upper management and their juniors and PAs will all have to sign NDA. What happens at BrixWith stays here and I won’t put up with breaches. Three. Don’t lie to me. If I ask a question, you better be telling me the truth because if I find out you’re lying to me you will not only lose your job but you will struggle to find a job at a seven-eleven by the time I’m done. Honesty above everything. Got it?” “Yes sir,” the entire table said at the same time. “Good. Go back to work. Macey, I’ll call for you when I’m ready to meet with the staff.” As the twenty-odd people filtered out of the room, he watched as Julie and Opal whispered back and forth flicking glances in his direction. There was definitely something off with these two. He needed to get to the bottom of it and fast.
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