I recently heard on the news that the average wage of a municipal worker across Canada was at least $6 an hour higher than a private sector worker doing the same job.
How anyone figures this out is beyond me but according to the report, municipalities could save over $1 billion a year by bringing wages into line with the private sector.
Now I don’t have a problem with the higher wage, where I have a problem is if city workers are going to earn more, then surely they have to be more productive.
But after watching the gong show acted out on my street the past two weeks, I have to question whether the city workers even match private industry in their productivity.
Let me explain what I have witnessed in the past as the city decided to replace the water and or sewer line into a house across the street. First the crew showed up with the heavy equipment to dig up the street — of course, it seems that this takes at least four vehicles as well as the excavator. The next day, more trucks showed up, the pipes were replaced and the following day the road was repaved.
All well and good, but about 20 metres away is another place where the road was dug up last year and never repaved. Where is the common sense in this type of mismanagement?
Every day at least three trucks would show up, nearly always with two people. Most times, all they did was examine the job, then leave.
After all this, the area had to be paved again, which meant all the equipment had to be hauled in, but still they ignored the unpaved area close to it.
Further to this, there is at least one other road with an unpaved excavation about a block away.
It seems to me that if the roads department managers used some common sense, they could schedule all the paving jobs in an area so that when they bring in the heavy machinery required, the cost would be a lot less.
I don’t for one minute blame the workers, they just do what they are told. Where the responsibility lies is with the foremen and managers who decide what the crews do.
I would like to suggest that our city council members make this a high priority. As the saying goes, “a penny saved is a penny earned” and my tax bill is higher again this year.