City Government

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil

Tuesday the GUARDIAN received copies of the Boise Public Works newsletter from three sources. All three were probably employees of the department and expressed concernes about a message from the PW director.

People are so spooked that one copy was FAXED from KINKOS, one came from a blind e-mail account (they actually retyped the text of the newsletter). The third party sent us a PDF scanned copy of the message to employees.

There is nothing earth shaking in the PW director’s message and perhaps that is the problem. The GUARDIAN has posted letters from many readers regarding the tool lending policy, supervisors hiring subordinates for off duty jobs, conflict of interest with off duty work intruding into the city duties and use of cell phones to do private work on city time. (These letters come from unknown sources, but the GUARDIAN has been able to confirm much of the material with known sources.)

The city apparently has no “full disclosure” requirement of employee moonlighting jobs. Instead they rely on an honor system which was summarized by the PW director thusly:

“In summary, while there is no prohibition in either policy to outside employment by city employees, we all need to be sensitive to the issue of potential conflict. If you have a question as to the appropriateness of seeking outside employment, you should discuss this matter with your supervisor.

“Thank you for your attention to this matter and if you would like to discuss this issue with me, feel free to call or send an e-mail.”

The catch is the employees think the conflicts are with those mid level managers! NOT A SMART CAREER MOVE TO RAT ON YOUR SUPERVISOR. They all claim to have made attempts to get things corrected–going all the way back to the POOP FARM fiasco, but they can’t get any satisfaction. After the GUARDIAN exposed a policy of lending city owned tools and equipment to workers for their private use, the policy was officially “suspended.” That confirmed allegations in several letters.

Mayor Dave Bieter appeared on the KIDO am580 news show last Friday and said he was not aware of a tool lending policy at Public Works when the hosts asked about the memo which suspended the practice. We suggest he read the GUARDIAN.

Bieter has previously scheduled a city-wide meeting of employees Wednesday 22 March in the council chambers which is “webcast” over a video link.

Bieter’s spokesman, Michael Zuzel said in an e-mail, “Unlike previous meetings, the mayor will not be taking questions “live” during the webcast.” Instead, Bieter will take written questions in advance. So much for a give and take communication session with the boss. “Come and listen, but don’t ask questions.”

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Ferris Beuller
    Mar 22, 2006, 4:12 pm

    Moonlighting or surviving?

    Folks reading this might be under the mistaken notion that anyone working for the City of Boise is raking in the dollars at a record pace and icing the cake with so-called “moonlighting.”

    It is important to remember that not all second jobs are moonlighting. A lot of employees of the City of Boise work a total of two or three jobs just to make ends meet. It is the same story throughout the area and is not specific to the City of Boise.

    There are those who do take advantage of the training they have received and make money off of it. That is an abuse and there is no excuse for any of it.

    More shameful is the practice some have of exploiting their position with the city. Problem is, a whole lot of them are the ones in charge. Turning in those guys is risky business.

    Why is it so hard to get anything done? Simple – it may bring a negative light on Team Dave. It is a well known fact; no one makes Team Dave look bad.

  2. Guardian, give the man a break. Vetted questons work for Bush. 50% of Idaho loves Bush. 1% of Boise citizens might listen.

  3. Concerned Insider
    Mar 23, 2006, 8:16 am

    I agree with Ferris Beuller and have said in the past that there is nothing wrong with employees moonlighting. It is only when they do it during their normal city working hours, use city own equipment and as it seems with these two managers – abuse their position to get the job done.

    Simply put, you don’t say “NO” to either one of these two managers in question – ever! That management style sometimes works at the workplace depending on several situations, but when it comes to either one of them having their employees work for them after hours – some might feel if they didn’t they could count on problems with their day job. There is no doubt I would.

    The moonlighting business these two managers are in requires skilled labor, ongoing education and state certifications (these certifications are renewed yearly) all of which has been and continues to be paid for by the city. Then when needed, they call upon their own city trained employees to fill the gaps of what they can’t or prefer not to do themselves.

    These two managers have come up with a moon lighting business the city will pay for. At least now, with the tool loan policy shut down they’ll at least have to pay for the tools they need.

    As for going to the director with any issue, there are two ways to do that. Go to him directly or go to HR, either way the results are the same.

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