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Thread: Government Employees are worthless?

  1. #1
    Member hindered's avatar
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    Government Employees are worthless?

    Something's been bothering me today. I heard it through the grapevine that my brother has been bad mouthing government employees again. Apparently city employees get too many benefits and shouldn't be treated as human beings or well-educated professionals. He's a civil engineer (private consultant) and work has been scarce in these parts for the last couple of years (budgets are bad), likely one of the reasons for this most recent tirade to my folks. His political views are completely opposite mine. While I'm not in love with 'big government', I do see the value in 'good' government. My brother on the other hand would pay 0$ if taxes were optional and views ALL levels of government with the same degree of disdain -- no government is good government.

    As far as I'm concerned, everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but I'd like to know why government employees are considered SO MUCH LESS deserving of any respect than an engineer who is also solely dependent on tax $$$ for his livelihood. So the $$$ is drying up and I still get some benefits to go along with my public employee salary! Is this a crime? Why is this any different than the benefits package his company gives him (PLUS the bonuses that I don't get) all the while including this in the overhead that needs to be paid for when it comes time to bill all those measly government entities he counts as clients?

    Anyone else have similar stories? Any suggestions for the next family gathering? I normally keep my mouth shut and just let him go on and on, but this time I am near the boiling point! Really, why should a consulting engineer view himself so much worthier? Am I crazy or is he?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    You know, I seem to be in a more Jovial and Politically Incorrect mood than normal. I am wondering if there is a delicate way for you to agree completely with him that ALL government is a Bad Thing and what a pain it is that the existence of the police and courts prevents you from committing murder when some jerk rudely bad-mouths the value of your very existence. o

  3. #3
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    He's right you know.

    We exist to be nothing other than code thumping, bureaucratic anal sons'a b****es. We are a drain on government resources that are better allocated towards road building, business incentive packages, and emergency management. All government staff including, finance, clerks, treasurer, environmental enforcement, building inspections, and zoning exist to do nothing but create hassles, enforce meaningless codes and collect fees to further bolster the city’s pork filled coffers with the citizens hard earned money. We offer only disservice to local businesses and residents.

    If we had any sense, we'd all resign from our positions and work in the private sector so that we could also beg for money from the government to support our private businesses. We'll let the market dictate all needed roads and development standards.

    I'm sure that all the other regular poster on this board will agree 100% with me


    On serious note. He's wrong and understand what you are doing for your community and how your goals are aimed to benefit the community. Our impact and importance is limited by any politcal climate we work under. The work we complete and the praise we deserve is directed to a politician who muttered "we should do something about _______" during a council session. It's the most thankless job you can take unless you can thank yourself for trying to do what you believe is best for everyone in your city, county or other politcal division. He needs to understand that the money he needs for his work is budget by the same government employee he badmouths.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  4. #4
    When people badmouth government employees, I can’t help but get annoyed (government unions are another story). For some reason people who work for the government are supposed to take less money for the love of the job, despite working just as hard as someone in the private sector. Government employees are also just as educated as those people in the private sector. But somehow we should be punished because the taxpayers fund our positions. One thing that we do have going for us is the great benefits and retirement packages.

    Government employees are also seen as more expendable. When a corporation lays off a bunch of employees people complain about corporate greed and lack of corporate responsibility. When a governmental unit lays off employees, people around here are dancing in the streets. It is celebrated, despite the fact that people with families are not without a job. People fail to realize that government employees support local businesses, pay property taxes, and are active in the community, just like everyone else.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  5. #5
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Oh yeah, and civil engineers are so highly regarded?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Local t.v. has been doing a bunch of "trash government employees' benefits" exposes here in Central Florida. We always seem to be fair game.

    Even my mother suspects we are up to no good. There is no way I'm going to tell her what my new office chair cost (it was pretty economical, but anything we spend, she sees us yanking it out of her wallet, and I've spent the last 18 months in a very uncomfortable secretary-type chair).

    I wonder why people don't check out the benefits, salaries, etc. of anyone else they give money to, like car manufacturers, Sprint, Target, etc. and then complain about their waste. Oh, wait, because that's a SECRET and we're the only open book around.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Just tell him "you can't fight city hall" and tell him to stop complaining about all the paid holidays he isn't receiving.

    Honestly, government employee's have to deal with alot more of the public's crap than the private sector.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  8. #8

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    Agree with him and become a "Consultant."

  9. #9
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    I always hear people complain about government employee benefits. But if defense, in a word: competition. There has to be a reason for qualified people to work in government, since the salaries are not going to always compete, the upper hand will come from benefits. These benefits could range from insurance to flex hours with plenty of days off, or maybe just being able to leave at 5sharp.

    People should be aware that when they start slashing the budgets and benefits of governments they will lose many of the good employees. And if people think gov. employees are difficult now, just wait until the benefits are taken away.

    PS. I have worked on both sides of planning and hear what each side says about each other.

  10. #10

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    I can't stand these kinds of sentiments.

    Here in Chicago, we frequently hear stories about city employee abuses (use of time, the frequent holidays, etc.). I always wonder about the private sector abuses that no one hears about, until they get Enron or WorldCom-size.

    And another thing. Government employees generally take on their jobs because they are doing things in the public interest -- as zoning officials, transportation engineers, prosecutors and public defenders, for example -- but private folks HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WORKING FOR THE PUBLIC INTEREST MEANS, unless the issue that directly affects them can be defined and challenged as being in the public interest.

    Don't get me started

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Agree with him and become a "Consultant."
    The ultimate revenge...

  12. #12
    Cyburbian sisterceleste's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    The ultimate revenge...
    Agree with ZG.
    You darn tootin', I like fig newtons!

  13. #13
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    It's always interesting to see how many "private sector" people and other anti-bureaucrats are actually getting their money from government. It doesn't hurt to ask them if the government is a significant source of their income.

    Does the civil engineer brother do work for the government? How many of his jobs are government funded.

    Virtually all retirees have some degree of government support. For some, it's 100%. Yet they are often the most vocal anti bureaucrats.

    Most farmers have significant government paychecks.

    That doesn't shut down the argument for most people. But it will quiet a lot of them.

  14. #14
    DA Monkey's avatar
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    Its a never ending argument and it is based on perception and opinion?

    My own experience supports the private sector, during my years there I worked harder, had a lot more stress, and was forever required to learn new rules and hoops to jump through as well as being expected to recall that knowledge within very short timeframes. As it was an engineering consultancy, clients = $ = time = your job.

    I worked in the public sector before private and now again I have returned. There is no doubt it is easier, there is a great deal of time and resource wasting, and the level of professional knowledge is somewhat lacking.

    Does this mean the professionals are of a lesser quality, less qualified, Im certain its does not.

    I think the public service is undervalued and underpaid, its poorly managed and over bureaucratic - it is a reflection of the machinery of government.

    I dont think you will ever win the argument, so just lean over the table and snot him, that should let him know how you feel.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    My husband used to tell me that my former job/place of employment was a waste of tax dollars. Then I reminded him that his work depends on government contracts. He never mentioned it again.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    ... yeah an my Civil Service Union butt has to spend the morning fixing a report done by a private consultant. We hire the private sector... but sometime you spend so much time spoon feeding you might as well do the work in-house....

    okay...sorry I ranted,,, I feel better...some of my best friends work in the private and I do respect them and think they work as hard as I do
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

    Renovating the '62 Metzendorf
    http://metzendorf.blogspot.com/

  17. #17
    I get the same sentiment here from time to time. While there are certainly government employees (and elected officials) who live up to the stereotype, there are many of us who are very dedicated and very talented and who are committed to service and to making a difference. I learned a long time ago that if I am going to work in the public sector that I better find some satifaction in doing a job well because quite frankly, the financial rewards are not that great.

    Often times I am put into a position of having to "justify" my existence here. However, I can't count the number of times when an issue has come up in a board meeting or other public forum and the policy makers state that the Planner is working on that issue.

    I think that the best thing that we can do as public employees is to go to work each day with the attitude that we are here to serve the public and to make a difference; concentrate fully on doing the best possible job at what we do; and not waste precious energy on those types of attitudes.
    A word to the wise ain't necessary. It's the stupid ones that need the advice.
    --Bill Cosby

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    People don't like the idea of hiring qualified public employees but guess what happens when you lay off everyone but the skeleton crew? - You have to wait months for a simple permit and get lousy service.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    exactly...thanks to budget cuts.... in the last year we lost 7 people...and they arent replacing them. I have the projects that 3 staff used to do....so some items just get neglected. Thank goodness I type 80wpm.
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

    Renovating the '62 Metzendorf
    http://metzendorf.blogspot.com/

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally posted by tsc
    ... yeah an my Civil Service Union butt has to spend the morning fixing a report done by a private consultant. We hire the private sector... but sometime you spend so much time spoon feeding you might as well do the work in-house....

    okay...sorry I ranted,,, I feel better...some of my best friends work in the private and I do respect them and think they work as hard as I do
    Heck, with 2000+ posts, I'll admit to some slacking periods.

    But, THIS has been my experience too often, as well. I don't want to get into a "private sector versus public sector" battle royale, but sometimes I wonder if our consultants even know how to write English

    (I have, on the other hand, been accused of tweaking and rewriting things too much. But still...)

  21. #21
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    This monster reared its ugly head a few weeks ago when the transit workers were threatening to strike over benefits - some of my coworkers were jumping on the bandwagon. I just reminded them that they'll be next.

    The worst, IMHO, are people like my uncle (a lawyer) who thinks all government workers are uneducated, lazy, good for nothings. He's a big republican donor locally and he fancies himself a bit of a libertarian.

    I said to him, "so you want to be protected from government and by government at the same time? C'mon, if it weren't for all of that government waste and bureaucracy how would you recoup all your campaign contributions?"
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Floridays's avatar
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    At one point I was a city planning director and decided to leave in order to check out the private sector. BIG mistake. During my interview, I actually bought into all of my CEO's b.s. about how we really "tailor" a plan to each community and "emphasize" implementation. It was nothing more than a cookie cutter approach to each client. IF we were lucky we'd be selected to help with implementation.
    I realize that government employees may take a lot of slack from people...but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I left that private sector job after 1 year and have no desire to re-visit that arena. Perhaps people do underestimate the people who work for government.
    The public sector to me is awesome. I love helping people to resolve their issues, even if sometimes (OK, OK, lots of times!) they can be rude and demanding. It's all about helping them to understand the process because they become very frustrated when they are shuffled from one agency to another due to misinformation.
    Damn...have I ranted long enough???

  23. #23
    Member hindered's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wulf9
    Does the civil engineer brother do work for the government? How many of his jobs are government funded.
    Actually, 100% of his work is government funded. He does primarily structural work and is a bridge designer. No working for developer's doing subdivisions for him. He's all government, all the time.

    Quote Originally posted by Wulf9
    Most farmers have significant government paychecks.
    My brother is actually a convert to this way of thinking and I blame (at least partially) his wife and her family. They hate government -- at least local and state government -- all the while taking $100,000's in federal farm subsidies. For real. I've looked them up.

    In all likelihood I will never confront him on it and will continue to take the high road. It's really not worth it because no matter what I say or how independent my thinking, he will then just excuse my opinions as influenced by the evil liberal media while he changes the television channel to Fox News and proceeds to quote Rush Limbaugh. Which of us is really controlled by media?

    It's just nice to know I'm not alone in feeling I don't deserve to be persecuted for doing my job. :-}

  24. #24
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker
    We exist to be nothing other than code thumping, bureaucratic anal sons'a b****es. We are a drain on government resources that are better allocated towards road building, business incentive packages, and emergency management. All government staff including, finance, clerks, treasurer, environmental enforcement, building inspections, and zoning exist to do nothing but create hassles, enforce meaningless codes and collect fees to further bolster the city’s pork filled coffers with the citizens hard earned money. We offer only disservice to local businesses and residents.
    Exactly... Until, of course, they want something either done... or stopped.
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  25. #25

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    My experience with the Private sector:

    In order to offer the lowest bid on a project, the consultant will spend less time on the project than others (especially government)... since projects are generally billed by the hour. That typically means shoddy outcome.

    More thought and dillegence generally results in a job well done.

    Plus, If a consultant completely messes something up, its not seen by the John Q. Public to be a big deal (perhaps to the consultant's colleagues it is), but as soon as a government agency makes a mistake, its the headlines of the local paper and people are calling for bureaucratic reform.

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