July 2012

A few years ago, I read an article (I forget where) about a poll asking workers what frustrates them the most about their jobs. The survey was taken during the height of the recession.

The top response was surprising: you’d think that feeling overworked or being underpaid or feeling nervous about keeping one’s job would have ranked the highest. None of these did. The number one frustration expressed in the poll by a wide margin was not having the right equipment and/or supplies to do one’s job effectively.

It makes sense when you think about it. I know I get very aggravated when I’m trying to do my work for this magazine and my computer isn’t working properly. That’s why I understand completely your frustrations when it comes to this OGS state contract issue you’ve been dealing with; more specifically, the truck spec’ing. The frustrations came to a head on June 11, when OGS had a room full of superintendents in Ithaca but didn’t have the new bid form to hand out to everybody, even though they had said they would have it. All the questions, concerns, comments, complaints could have been addressed while OGS had a captive audience; they could have led superintendents through the form, so that when it came time to use it, it would have easier to complete.

Of course, as all of you already know, this whole truck spec’ing issue is designed to save the state money. It won’t; not with all the time that’ll be wasted and crews not being able to get the trucks exactly the way they need them. As one superintendent said to me, “We’re not talking about buying paper cups, we’re talking about buying chasses.”

I really do feel your frustration over these new rules and the state’s seemingly total lack of understanding about how you do your jobs and what you need to do it. Unfortunately, it appears that these new rules and forms will have to fail before somebody high up in the state realizes you can’t make somebody’s job more difficult and expect it’s going to miraculously save money. P

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