Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Ich bin ein" NIMBY!


Okay, so as you tell from the photo taken from my private driveway the DPW fortress is within spitting distance of my abode. So anything I say should be taken with a truckload of salt. But I'll say it anyway.

Sure, the idea of having round-the-clock shifts (4 a.m. to noon, noon to 8 p.m. 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.) to create cost efficiencies makes perfect sense--on paper. Just like an engineer can demonstrate, on paper, that bees cannot fly.

Last year snow and ice removal was over $200-k and much of the work was done by workers garnering overtime. Under the new system, crews would be on duty anyway and thus only be receiving regular pay.

The union last week voted not to give up their negotiated COLAs next year. The 38 men and women are some of the lowest paid town workers and those raises would only amount to the salary of one employee. Besides, the Town Manager refused to guarantee no-layoffs even if they did give up their raises. Not much incentive there.

While police, fire, and emergency dispatch are 24/7 operations Public Safety employees knew that when they signed on. The DPW workers, some who have worked many, many years built their lives around a normal work schedule. So not only will morale plummet, but safety as well. As the sign once displayed in the garage area window said: "Warning: Every machine in this place can hurt you."

Digging ditches is hard enough during normal hours, I can't fathom doing it routinely in the middle of night.

The Bully reports:

35 comments:

cinder joans axe mistress said...

never saw a dpw worker work hard, as you imply. remember that photo i posted on my old blog from when they were building that ugly cement block wall in front of zanna's?

i watched for 10+ minutes as those "hard workers" did nothing.

as for plowing, amherst is the worst i have ever seen. i grew up in buffalo, so i know a little about snow.

sounds like another hairbrained scheme from harry shafter

Anonymous said...

The real loss in the elimination of overtime will be in increased response time of Fire and Emergency Services.

The next time your mother is lying on the floor (or you are) and you are waiting for the Ambulance to show up, think about what you are giving up when you eliminate overtime.

Overtime is a tool. In the case of snow removal, it is cheaper to pay overtime than maintain a FTE -- until annual snowfall gets to a certain point.

Unless you have a crystal ball, you never know what that point will be, do you? Until you see the weather report for the week. It is a flip of the coin.

With Fire and Emergency Services, though, wait until you have a fire in your kitchen. Or your mother is lying on the floor and you are waiting for the ambulance. Or school is delayed while snow is cleared and roads deemed safe for school buses. (MORE SNOWS DAYS! Don't tell the kids.) Then tell me who is so smart.

Really, Larry, if you don't like it in Amherst, move to Sunderland. They have a very cute library. And a nice HS where the biggest issue is the problem they do not have with alcohol. Or a roof on the elementary school that caves in from time to time.

They will get by without an override, can you? After my mother's heart attack, I was never so glad as when EMS walked through that door.

What does your wife say?

Narda said...

Proper staffing precludes the need for overtime.

Anonymous said...

There are a few DPW workers that make a bad name for everyone else. But a lot of them take pride in what they do and work their ass off.

But it is true that some of them work about 10% of the time.

Anonymous said...

Oh Amherst, little village, how you LOVE stealing bread from the mouths of the poor.

Who else are you playing nasty with, my crafty anarchists?

Anonymous said...

Let's see you build a stone wall.

When the builders put up the addition at our house, they built the main wall, two stories, on the deck and then the whole crew stood around for a half-hour talking. I thought it was strange at the time.

At the end of the half-hour, they looked at each other and then the whole crew got under the wall and lifted it up into place. No crane, no hydraulic jack, just a bunch of guys using their bodies.

Once the wall was up and anchored, they stood around for another half-hour while their bodies recovered. By the time they are 50, their bodies are spent. Let's see you lift a wall, see how your body reacts.

You were probably driving by in your car when you saw them recovering from building your wall. What's the matter, can't walk? Too much effort?

Their wall is not pretty enough for you? Let's see you build a wall.

Anonymous said...

Narda said...

Proper staffing precludes the need for overtime.

January 20, 2010 11:28 AM

And you are...

The Psychic Weatherman?

I want to be the one to call The New York Times, we have a psychic weatherman in Amherst!

What else can you do? Crush the hopes of ordinary people?

Anonymous said...

Narda said...

Proper staffing precludes the need for overtime.

January 20, 2010 11:28 AM

And you are...

The Psychic Weatherman?

I want to be the one to call The New York Times, we have a psychic weatherman in Amherst!

What else can you do? Crush the hopes of ordinary people?

cinder joans axe mistress said...

"Their wall is not pretty enough for you? Let's see you build a wall."

you fool! why do you think i hold them in such disdain? i have built many walls and other landscape projects in my 20+ year career. walls of stone that are appropriate to the new england context. that concrete monstrosity has forever cast amherst into the oblivian of 'anywhere' usa.

if they are too old to work, then maybe get someone younger.

my webpage shows only a fraction of the work i have completed, since i don't focus on that skillset anymore.

john sendelbach's landscape page

cinder joans axe mistress said...

and i always worked my ass off, ask anyone.

cinder joans axe mistress said...

go sit on my work here, fool

Anonymous said...

And a very pretty ass it is, cj.

LarryK4 said...

Anon 11:12 AM

My wife says your an Anon, so who cares.

Anonymous said...

My wife says you can't spell, so who cares.

LarryK4 said...

I guess we're even (technically it was not spelling, but grammar.)

But then it is my blog. So I can say/spell/punctuate things however the Hell I wish.

Taylor said...

This is just another bad idea that Larry Shaffer has come up with. He keeps coming up with ways to save money by cutting services in DPW & Public Safety. A commenter on the Gazette article, suggests cutting Larry and the Town Manager position. Maybe it is time. Do you need a Town Manager, Assistant Town Manager, Comptroller, HR Director, etc.?

LarryK4 said...

No, what we really need is a MAYOR.

Anonymous said...

Right so they can end up in pridon like so many other mayors. Feed the corruption, hire a mayor.

LarryK4 said...

Then try electing an honest one.

Anonymous said...

You know perfectly well that Amherst voted down the Town Council form of government and, in doing so, chose the Town Meeting form of government in perpetuity.

FOR- EV- ER.

Imagine living in a Town run only by those willing to sit for hours a day, weeks at a time, just they can listen to each other pontificate. Sounds like this blog.

No wonder we are in this position. While you people rant, they pontificate and nothing gets done. You are all the same.

You try running a town where everyone thinks they know everything and has to prove they are right -- at the expense of everyone else. Town meeting is the biggest waste of your time and money.

At least you can fire Larry Shaffer, but Town meeting is forever. And ever. And ever.

Have you ever watched Town Meeting? They want to import Guantanamo releasees to Amherst. That is their idea of how to run a town, invite Osama's cousin to live in Village Park. Now there's a great idea.

And you complain about Larry Shaffer? At least he has someone watching him, like you and the rest of Amherst. Town meeting would have all of Guantanamo living in Amherst and no one would say a word.

Anonymous said...

Larry,

Is that true? What would Amherst need to do to switch?

Anonymous said...

Most but not all towns have Town Meetings. A few towns are governed by town councils.

Anonymous said...

Dear Cinder Joans Axe Mistress,

Your coach has turned into a pumpkin. Please scurry away. You no longer live here. It's 2010, time to move on. Please feel free to come back for the next Amherst town celebration in 2109.

Anonymous said...

"The DPW employees were told about the new schedules last week, just as the union made public that it would not be willing to give up its 3½ percent cost-of-living adjustment that goes into effect July 1. The police union agreed to forgo its 3½ percent COLA, but in exchange was assured its Quinn Bill educational incentive payments would remain intact.

Carlson said the perception of the DPW union membership, even if not accurate, is that the workers are being penalized for keeping raises that were collectively bargained.

"It's not officially a response to that, but most of the people think it is," Carlson said.'


Welllll, welllll, wellll...

cinder joans axe mistress said...

300th anniversary legacy piece proposal

Anonymous said...

Quite amateurishly done. In other words, in keeping with your other work.

cinder joans axe mistress said...

hardy har...what do you want for 3 minutes work?

Anonymous said...

No, it's what do you want? I'm sure you are submitting a bill as usual.

cinder joans axe mistress said...

no... i wasn't recruited 3 years in advance, i wasn't asked to revise my plan again and again, i didn't win the vote over other artists, and I wasn't misled into a program that was later disbanded without reason...so i offer this one pro bono

where is the 250th legacy piece?

that's right, there is none.

at least i have this to show for it

Anonymous said...

You're the artist, surely you can draw sour grapes.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, as I was LMAO I was going to say you forgot to tell him to take his sour grapes with him.

Anonymous said...

I like idea of moving away from a authortarian type Town Manager who can operate without impunity and if it saves 150k, that is 2-3 public safety positions that can be funded.

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