#1 No Horses, But Detroit Water Department Employs 'Horseshoer'08-20-2012, 02:30 PM
Union head says it's 'not possible' to eliminate positions from bloated city entity
By Jarrett Skorup | Aug. 20, 2012
Despite having no horses, the water and sewerage department for the city of Detroit employs a horseshoer.
Yet even with a department so bloated that it has a horseshoer and no horses, the local union president said it is "not possible" to eliminate positions.
Union rules have turned the department into a government jobs program, some critics say.
The horseshoer’s job description is "to shoe horses and to do general blacksmith work … and to perform related work as required." The description was last updated in 1967.
The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) has a large debt, rising water prices and inefficient services — using almost twice the number of employees per gallon as other cities like Chicago.
A recent independent report about the DWSD recommends that the city trim more than 80 percent of the department’s workforce. The consultant who wrote the report found 257 job descriptions, including a horseshoer. Capitol Confidential sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the department for the salary, benefits and job description of the horseshoer position.
In response to the report, John Riehl, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 207, which represents many of the DWSD employees, told the Detroit Free Press that the department needs more workers.
"They don't have enough people as it is right now," Riehl said. "They are just dreaming to think they can operate that plant with less."
But critics say this is just another example of city departments operating as a jobs program for union employees.
"They have said for years that they don't have enough people," said Roi Chinn, a former city administrator and 2013 mayoral candidate for Detroit. "As the bureaucracy thickens and union power grows, there is always a built in reflex … to want more.
"Whenever you think you’ve heard the bad about the city of Detroit, it gets worse."
Chinn said if he was mayor he would sell the water department.
Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor for the Detroit Free Press, wrote last week about the "intolerable waste" in the water department.
"For unions and the whole idea of collective bargaining, this is the kind of report that just makes any sort of future very, very hard to negotiate," Henderson wrote. "It suggests that collective bargaining turns government into a provider of jobs instead of public services."
Daniel Edwards, a construction contracts manager with the DWSD, said the employee was transferred from the Detroit Police Department five years ago. The police department has horses, though the DWSD horseshoer no longer works with animals.
"DWSD has a blacksmith shop in our Central Services Facility," Edwards said. The shop "also ... repairs equipment and works with various metals and welding for the department when needed." The horseshoer now works at the Central Services Facility.
The city pays $29,245 in salary and about $27,000 in benefits for the horseshoer position.
This ought to piss Nunwitch off!Pffffffffffffffffffffff! Buh Bye Big Ears
#2 No Horses, But Detroit Water Department Employs 'Horseshoer'
08-20-2012, 04:36 PM
The water is good, though, better than most big cities. It's not as expensive for the suburbanites as they like to claim during election years. My bill is about $25 a month, for one person who does a lot of laundry, but doesn't own a dishwasher. I live in the largest suburb, so our bills are lower because we buy a larger quantity of water from the city than most of their customers. All the communities around here buy their water from Detroit, though. They talk about building their own plant, but never get around to it.
I'm not that angry about the horse shoe thing, because it is typical oversight for Detroit. The job should have been eliminated in the 40s. Whereas I'm not surprised that it wasn't eliminated during the 20 years of Coleman Young's administration or in the 6 years Kwame held the job, I am kind of surprised it wasn't eliminated under Archer in the 90s, or under Cavanagh or Gribbs, the last two white mayors in the late 60s and early 70s.
08-20-2012, 05:31 PM"Whenever you think you’ve heard the bad about the city of Detroit, it gets worse."Good men sleep peaceably in their beds at night because
rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
Real superheroes don't wear capes. They wear dog tags.
08-20-2012, 06:21 PMWhenever you think you’ve heard the bad about the city of Detroit, it gets worse.
Whenever you think you’ve heard the bad about this regime, it gets worse.
Liberalism is just communism sold by the drink.
08-20-2012, 06:46 PM
Multiply that by a million for the Feds and you can see why we're not just exploding our heads around here when we call for smaller government.Be Not Afraid.
08-21-2012, 03:48 AM
I am sure the city could use the money in better ways. But I guess if you live there and don't give a shit, then who will?
I seen on TV that a kid had a lemonade stand to raise money for the city of Detroit. He donated $3,300 to the city.
The city of Detroit, in Michigan, has a big problem. This year it will spend $200 million more than it has. This is called running a deficit, and it means that the city will have to close parks and fire workers because it doesn’t have enough money.
08-21-2012, 01:08 PM
They share some blame, too, but I'm willing to guess the problem predates the unionization of the city's workforce. I'm not sure when Detroit's city employees were unionized, but it was probably in the 50s at the earliest. They no longer needed the job by the end of WWII, if not earlier.
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