Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Election 2013 Issues Part 1 - CD Days

I labelled this "part 1" because I'm sure there are going to be a lot of parts over the next few months. And at the sake of sounding 'sanctimonious' most of the things that I want to bring up should really be common sense. Which is a trait that the City seems to lack a lot of.

Day after day, week after week, month after month... we the citizens of this great city (and in my mind, Edmonton really IS a great city) see more and more "stupidity" in the things the city does. Our taxes are being used abused by a process that is extremely inefficient. And most city employees will agree that more often than not, the left hand has no clue what the right hand is doing. Yet they won't do anything because its been tried to be fixed before and nothing has ever come from that either.

Do note. I worked for the City for 3 years, 22 of those months as being a "temp" employee before I was hired on permanently. And then because I did things right, the right way, and stood up for doing things the right way instead of the politically correct way (kissing ass) I was forced to resign. During my 3 years, I learned a lot about the hypocritical aspects of abuse and waste... and I think its time that the rest of the taxpayers understand one of the biggest reason WHY the system is so broken. More interestingly, the cure is not difficult to do however getting it to happen means going against the status quo..which for the most part, would be all employees of the city not wanting to give up something they've had.. the 'something' that creates the most wasteful system ever. .. and that is "time".

As a temp employee, I worked the normal hours but I didn't qualify for the normal benefits.. things such as holidays, pension, etc.. I also didn't qualify for what is referred to as a "CD day". CD days are a result of contracts negotiated by the Unions (like the one that never stood up for me) that say 'only so many hours are worked in a week', but at the same time the city expects employees to work a normal full day. So each day you work, you work just a little bit longer than your union contract defines, and over a few weeks you have earned enough 'extra time' to earn a day off. And in the past that may have been a practical benefit to have. But it no longer applies in the economy of today's world.

Anyway, as a temp, I would always be around during working hours, and often I would need to have meetings with others so I could plan my work projects to fill their desires. I would be just blasting away doing programming and run into a simple question. So I called or walked to their offices, only to find out they were on a CD day.. and my work on that project stopped. I always had other things to do, but I couldn't finish the current item, and everything would end up getting delayed and shuffled around.

The things that needed to be done could not be done because the other people involved were on a day off. And that is a HUGE waste of time. And.. time is money. YOUR money.

All over the world, people are having to bite the bullet and take less pay and/or reduced benefits. Governments all over are cutting back on staff and services, or wage hikes are being postponed. Yet here in Edmonton, we keep going merrily along our way spending wasting money without an issue. I have to figure that if the world is that bad off, then 'we' (the government taxpayer paid employees) should be subject to the same values.

Lets be clear. A lot of city employees get paid really decent money for the most part. I'm sure there are probably some lower paying positions... but on the whole, its great money, and for many, the work isn't really all that difficult to do. I do think some positions are vastly over paid, especially considering the amount of real work done versus all the time wasted on meetings that many miss... but that's another item for another post.

Basically... it is my belief that the City needs to step up and tell the unions that CD days are no longer practical... that too much of the taxpayer dollars are being wasted and too much time is being wasted. Efficiencies need to be made in the system and that can only start when everyone all works together, instead of a day here or there. (As a side note, these days off are always taken on a Monday or a Friday because it made for a long weekend.)

It would not hurt for employees to give up that CD day. I'm sure some depend on it, but we the people need to start thinking about the benefits for the many, and not just for the few. And I'm sure some form of plans or assistance would be allowed for in special circumstances... something can always be worked out for those people that actually NEED it.. Most don't, its one of those "nice to have" things versus a need.

Taxpayers are the ones that have that need... and its time to step up to the plate to do the parts that are needed to be done. It's certainly a small price to pay considering the current state of the world economy. Not only that, can you imagine just how much faster and better things would be done, when everyone is actually AT work and doing work? Hell, we might not even need to have tax increases because of all of the money saved by getting things done faster and more accurately..

Or.. we can keep wasting time and money, keep doing things the worst way possible, and tax ourselves to death.

Tell me.. just how well is your money tree growing? I know mine has died. I suspect yours has too, or if not, it's probably wilting a lot more than you are comfortable with.

(edited addition from comments)

Just as a side note, you may not have noticed... but there is ALWAYS someone taking Friday off, someone ALWAYS taking Monday off. Every week, 52 weeks per year.

This means that the City only works "well" for 3 days a week. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The rest is at best, a hit and miss day. And we just can't keep dong this.

Can you imagine how much more efficient work would be done by working 5 days a week, like everyone else? How much faster things would get done. And faster means less cost. Less cost allows for more projects. More projects means keeping more people active... the list of "good" things that can come to the taxpayers is HUGE. The only "bad" thing is some city workers are going to be pissed off over a few minutes a day.

People all over are giving up something, around the world. I think it's time we started to do our part too. I'm sure the seniors and those on fixed incomes will be happy to see things getting done faster, combined with a zero tax hike.

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