City Government

Low Pay, Politics, Haunt City Workers

Another one of those dandy “we are doing it right” surveys from Boise City. Results vary depending on how you view them.
Boise Logo.jpg

–57% of workers say politics strongly factors into everyday decision making process
–61% feel they are underpaid for their level of responsibility
–65% are unsatisfied with their raises
–77% say their job makes good use of their skills and they are satisfied with the job
–42% vs 41% split on favoritism and arbitrary action tolerated in their departments

City Councilors and the Mayor’s staff need to get on this quickly and not put too much weight in the “satisfaction” answers. There are problems in city hall, but they can be solved or abated by some quality leadership and prompt attention.

Case in point is the ongoing saga at the “Poop Farm.” Guardian has heard lots from people who just want a fair and honest work place. The manager of the city’s Twenty Mile South Farm has resigned, but there are still plenty of questions and issues that remain unanswered.

A clean up there would be a good start to restore faith in the system that has previously failed the workers.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. So Boise City workers are underpaid and 57% say politics has influence on the daily decision making process, heh?? I tried, along with friends to deal intelligently with some city workers
    (The city clerks Office) and we were insulted ,threathened and treated very rudely.

    Until All City workers and politicians realize they are ” Public servants” new electees will be gracing City Hall where there will be constant financial belt-tightening. After all that’s the
    American Way!!

  2. Like Captin Renault, Guardian is shocked, shocked there be politics at city hall. Folks, it’s best to take such opinion by employees with a grain of salt. First, government career employees have personal opinions and viewpoints that are all over the board and not everyone is going to agree with every decision. And it’s common that when you as a government employee disagree with a decision you chalk it up to “politics.” Second, my personal/professional experience leads me to believe that a lot, maybe most government employees are not politically savvy and they confuse their personal agenda with their duties in civil service and have difficulty distinguishing between the good politics of making bureaucracy accountable and the bad politics of meddling.

    That politics can infect agencies is sometimes the only method of accountability to bureaucratic inertia or agency/employee personal agendas. Were it not for the ability of elected officials to occasionally shine the public light of accountability into agencies our lives would be run by the unelected career elite: the “We Bees” (we be here when you were elected, we be here when you leave). I believe this situation applies to both liberal and conservative and Republican or Democrat administrations.

    Politics aside, I am surprised that only 61 percent of those surveyed believe they are underpaid.

  3. Paper and pencil satisfaction surveys are rarely good indicators in a workplace setting. What might serve the City better would be to follow up with one on one interviews with employees by an outside consultant who can ask for examples of when “politics played a role in daily decision making” etc. Surely the survey was coded by department, so even though the results are anonymous, someone can tie certain results back to certain departments, divisions or work groups. If that wasn’t done, no one was very interested in the results.

    When there are voids in information dissemination, most people will rationalize to fill in the blanks. So, while surveys say pay, benefits, favortism, etc are the problem, the real problem might be a simple lack of communication. In a public setting where everyone knows what everyone else makes, salary is always an issue. This one will be near impossible to overcome.

    I guess I don’t see the urgency in the survey results that the GUARDIAN sees, but I do agree that some followup is wise.

    That poop farm issue really has gone on a long time. It would be interesting to break the survey down by department and see how Public Works fares. Anybody got those results? And a side note…did anyone notice the custom mirror chrome flamed grills on the Airport Police Trucks in Saturday’s parade? Airport police don’t really have jurisdiction except the airport proper as I understand it….is there a reason they have such big, expensive and customized trucks? Underpaid employees generally just eat those things up.

    Ed note–Taxpayers paid for the custom vanity license( “Boom, Bang, Kapow”, etc. plates on the bomb dog rigs as well.

  4. I asked one of the Airport Police Officers about those trucks once…. he basically told me the money came from Dept. of Homeland Security bomb dog grants. It was a use it or lose it deal – what a waste! I can think of much better ways to spend federal tax dollars… actually if there’s such a surplus, maybe my taxes should be lowered instead.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: