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Waste Not, One More Engineer is a Lot!

WASTE NOT, ONE MORE ENGINEER IS A LOT!

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As we all know that the city of Houston is currently going through a worst financial turbulence. We also know that the administration is crying out more loudly about the budget short falls ever since the red light camera program has come to a screeching halt. According to the Mayor Anise Parker, city is desperately trying to find the ways to off set the budget deficit. Proposals from budget cuts in each and every department, unprecedented hikes in permit fees and other charges for city services, to possible furloughs and layoff of employees are under serious consideration.

But guess what? Contrary to all that buzz about budget crises and impending panacea proposals for both voluntary and involuntary furloughs and layoffs, it appears that the City is crying wolf on one hand and playing chicken on the other.  What a joke?

A DOUBLE STANDARD!

Mayor Anise Parker has implemented voluntary furloughs for the month of December 2010, to be followed by mandatory furlough and layoff of over 2,300 employee workforce in April 2011.  But guess what? Contrary to all that Jazz  about budget crises, CITY CONTINUES TO HIRE NEW EMPLOYEES AND PROMOTE ITS FAVORITE EMPLOYEES TO HIGHER POSITIONS.  Check out the Public Works and Engineering Department! The Mayor and the Council needs to look in the backyard first. Secondly, they need to take strong action against those imprudent officials who are just doing the apposite of Mayors plea in regards to city’s fiscal crises.

Information we obtained from Public Works shows that during the month of November 2010 to March 2011, the city has filled the following top-level positions and more:

  • Deputy Director
  • Managing Engineer
  • Supervising Engineer
  • Engineer.
Despite the mayoral proposals, and city council approvals, to implement furloughs, increases in fees, and charges for services, hiring and promotions are on the rise in the department of Public Works and Engineering.  The said positions of Deputy Director, Managing Engineer, Supervising Engineer, and Engineer have been confirmed and funded in the months of November through  March 2011 -- all with maximum benefits in salaries and allowances.

MANDATORY FURLOUGHS AND LAYOFFS MUST START FROM THE TOP WHERE THE BIG MONEY IS. THIS WOULD GRADUALLY CONTROL THE WASTE.   WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE HIRING FREEZE? We thought it is in effect, but NOOO!!! 

What is going on? The administration is complaining about the financial crisis on one side and yet on the other side it makes a 180-degree turn and promotes its favorite employees. WOOW! this is beyond the imagination. It seems that the officials responsible for this act have totally disregarded the Mayor’s budget deficit cry.  They have the unchecked temerity and liberty to exercise their quasi-independent authority to promote their favorite employees to higher positions. They failed to recognize the sensitive economic situation in the city and cared less how the city is going about it. They failed to recognize the negative impact and monetary value of their administrative actions.

PEOPLE IN HIGH POSITIONS ARE ACTUALLY DAMAGING THE CITY MONETARILY WITH THEIR BAD DECISIONS. THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR OVER STAFFING AND NEW HIRINGS THAT LED THE CITY TO UNNECESSARY EXTRA EXPENDITURES. WONDER WHY? These imprudent officials assume that their binge hiring and promotion schemes will go unnoticed. WHAT A JOKE!

 YOU CAN STOP THE WASTE!

The Mayor and the Council must position themselves to launch an executive order to investigate these promotion deals. Strong disciplinary action is needed against  officials who are just doing the apposite of Mayor’s plea in regards to city’s fiscal crisis.

And then, CONSOLIDATE PUBLIC WORKS AND ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT’S DIVISIONS AND SECTIONS IN THIS ECONOMIC HARD TIME! Try this guaranteed money saving and service quality enhancing approach and watch the immediate and long term dividends grow.  For example, merge all the UTILITY functions into one main utility group. Keep few, but eliminate unnecessary high-salaried positions like, assistant directors, deputy directors, managing engineers and supervising engineers. This would save millions of dollars and the service would improve simultaneously.

Similarly, CONSOLIDATE TRAFFIC ENGINEERING functions currently housed in three places. Merge this group into one traffic division. This would improve the service quality and help better coordination among the traffic staff. Again, keep few but eliminate unnecessary similar high-salaried positions as mentioned above. This approach will minimize the budget deficit when the number of high salaried positions like assistant directors, managers, managing engineers and supervisors is drastically reduced. 

A detailed analysis of both groups' functions and staff operating costs will be pursued in our next posting.

Again, WASTE NOT, ONE MORE ENGINEER IS A LOT!

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