Denise Petet

I think when you have ‘beancounters’ in an office, looking at numbers and titles and balance sheets, sure, you can make a good case to streamline that, reorganize this, etc. And, usually what happens, the ignorant – as in unknowledgable – about a group or agency make broad sweeping decisions and then the people that do the job are left to pick up the pieces…usually while feeling very resentful about having some outsider tell them how to work.

In every group or agency there is the potetial for greater efficiency. Does that form REALLY need to be on paper and approved by 5 people, or can the same checks and balances be attained by having it be electronic and having 3 people approve it? Does an agency really need 5 layers of buerocracy or can 2 accomplish teh same task with the same amount of oversight? Do we really need one office assigning street repair and a separate office contracting with traffic control and signage or can they both come out of the same office?

none of them are easy questions and usually require not just ideas from employees, but middle and upper managers that are open to suggestion, and take time to figure out.

Sometimes I’m sure you do save money. For example moving one small group into empty space in another group’s building, thus eliminating the rent for that second building. Other times when you see things reorganized what you end up seeing is that the number of employees don’t really change, people just have different titles. Some take pay cuts, others actually get pay hikes and things are often tweaked to look good on paper to show a ‘saving’….but if you dig deeper you’ll see that in a year or two there’s been no real saving beause they’ve had to do something to make up the lack.

For example, going from state owned adn run motorpool, to privetizing the motor pool, ie renting cars when people need to go on the road. Sure, looks good on paper to sell those cars, not buy more, not maintain a maintenance garage and parking lot…then you look and realize every time someone needs to rent a car it takes two employees a good half hour each to go and pick up and return said car(loss of productivity), plus purchasing gas retail, plus the cost of rental and are you REALLY saving money? Or did you just make it look good on paper for the short term to score some PR points?

All too often I think they go for the ‘flash in thep pan’ looks good on paper ‘saving’, which ends up either breaking even or costing more in the long run. But they’re rarely held accountable for the long run. When you are in government and have jobs and people that can change every 2-4 years, those that make long term poor decisions are rarely around to deal with the fallout.