Thursday, February 16, 2006

"Will You Still Need Me ?"

These are the responses to my February 14th article, "Happy Birthday Mayor Bloomberg! Tighten up on Employee Discipline, Lighten up on the Ninth Greenwood." Thanks to all, please continue to provide us with your feedback.


  1. I think Mayor Mike has always acted based on what’s right versus what gets vote. The best example is the takeover of the private bus lines. For how many years did Mayors and the Council worry about the unions and owners but not the riders. Mayor Mike got it done.

  2. Anonymous11:02 AM

    I've had the pleasure of serving the City, in some interesting capacities (fortunately for me). At the same time I'm aware of far too many able folks who have boring positions with the City, and frankly whose talents are totally wasted; who, to keep themselves grounded in reality and to save themselves the embarassement of falling asleep at their desk from sheer boredom, do the unspeakable... play Solitaire. These poor souls... if they'd only drop dead in front of their computers, it would be a blessing for them and their supervisors... You see, they'd go unnoticed for weeks, perhaps even months, depending on the office ventilation system, and they wouldn't have to face the humiliation of being caught playing Solitaire.

    Rather than fire the victim of ennui, perhaps Mayor Bloomberg should examine the reason why this poor guy was doing what he could to get through the day... It sure beats downloading songs and various and sundry other goodies.

  3. (Appoint a city-wide dean of discipline)

    Won't solve the problem. There needs to be voluntaryness and reciprocity in the employer-employee relationship, not stupid adversarial procedures that drag on. That's what makes people go postal.

    Each year, each manager should be able to decide if he-she wants each employee back. If not, that should be that. No conflict, no procedures.

    The employee should have a month of paid time to catch on with another manager, followed by severence pay based on their number of years seniority to find a job elsewhere. More than those in the private sector would get.

    Of course this should work both ways. During the period when some employees are forced to find another managers, some managers should be forced to find other employees, because those who are "vindictive," etc. should have lots of employees leaving to work elsewhere in the government. Hiring from other parts of city government should be encouraged. If a union convinced the entirety of the workforce of a particular school or precinct that its management was unworthy of their services, of course, that manager would have to be replaced.

    That, and a financial limit on the amount of "severence pay" management can afford, would limit the number of unjustified firings. A manager who dumped good employees (who went on to do well elsewhere) and brought in friends would cost a lot of money in severance, and draw a lot of attention. That manager's crew had better perform. Terminations would thus be rationed.

    There it is. No procedures. No deans. Just choice. In such a system, no one would be fired just for playing solitaire if they were getting their work done. Because it would be possible to fire them for NOT getting their work done.

    FYI in another era Frank McCourt of Angelas Ashes fame was fired by a principal not because he was a bad teacher but because he was an outspoken one. So there is the risk of losing good employees with the system I propose, rather than the certainty of keeping bad ones. But how great is the risk? McCourt just got a job at another school and had something like a 40 year career.

  4. I agree with the thoughts and sentiments herein with the exception of one suggested by the last paragraph: that malingering and/or having a do-little job are peculiar to the public sector. My personal experience as well as observation suggest that they are common in the private sector as well. Shame on you for stoking the fires of the old (and newly-fashionable) prejudice against the public sector!

  5. Nicely done and said as always, though I hesitate to say so on my work computer lest the salons at SUNY take the same stringent standard to me as the mayor applied to poor Edward. One comment: that the quote from Shakespeare appears in Merchant of Venice is not strange; it seems to me classic Shakespeare and why above all others he continues to be so admired. I mean simply that contradictions abound in his work and he appears to have reveled in them. For instance, Hamlet’s uncle’s speech to Hamlet about the loss of fathers is one of the most eloquent disquisitions on the need to balance mourning with the understanding that loss of father is a natural thing for a son to endure. The speech is no less true that the uncle murdered the father. But it gives one pause that the speaker is both right (as to his sentiments) and utterly self-serving in offering them up.

    Finally, I was surprised that in contrast to poor Edward, you did not note the amnesty program of the Chancellor’s and the light touch with McCaskill, who not only forged but thieved—and then lied to investigators, yet got to resign with pension. But then he was an ideological friend and not a mere minion.

  6. enough unexplained crap happens in my life; it is uplifting to find out the truth of why, so harmlessly, occasionally.

  7. I hope His Honor reads and heeds your plea for Edward. He may not be an inspiring public servant but neither was the king with his name and numerals and he didn't live on $27,000 a year.

  8. As informed by Maurice Chevalier, "thank heavens, for little recapitations"! And, as to the Article, Starquest: Bravo(an exclamation evoked by your playwrite references),! And, a happy post-Valentine's Day to you.

  9. Very clever, and I agree

  10. Glad to get the whole article. I hope you succeed with the Edward
    > effort!

  11. If Greenwood wasn't sufficiently hip to know he should be looking as busy as can be when bigwigs are passing by, he's too dense to be in the public employ.

    Most of us learn that lesson in grade school.