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Grading Madison City Employees

September 23, 2019

I noted that this year (2019)  city employees have been written about on this blog at least three times.  What troubles me is that the post I needed to add today is one that does not allow me to comment with pleasure.

On February 11th I wrote the following.

Over the past weeks the Madison Streets Division has been called on to deal with several snow events, and then two days of icing.   To prepare for the snowstorm which is to start soon, and last overnight, city workers have applied salt to all residential streets.    When the storm begins there will be 34 trucks out to plow.   Many people take all this work for granted.   Because the employees do the job with professionalism it is easy to not ponder it very long.   But the hours are long, and at times it must seem to the workers that Mother Nature does not know when to stop.  So the next time you see a snowplow operator, as you walk on the sidewalk, wave heartily with a smile and let them know we appreciate their work.   They do us proud.

Om June 10th I wrote about a tree that needed to be cut on the terrace. The post was titled Madison City Workers Shine.

Within 18 hours of my calling a city worker assessed the tree, painted a yellow dot on its trunk, and told us it would shortly be cut down.  I truly thought it would be a fall cutting.

But today when a large truck with a cherry picker (basket) arrived at the intersection in question I had to look twice.  Once the chainsaws started I had to snap a few photos.   I was truly delighted at the speed with which the city took action on a tree that could have fallen on cars, power lines, or bikers.

I was noting in my mind those past posts from this year as I needed to post again about city workers, but not in a glowing fashion.

This morning a work crew came to remove the tree stump and at the same time removed the large mound of debris that was topping it.  That debris was placed into a city truck for removal. Once that was all done, I asked a city employee working a large front loader if I could just place the rest of the limbs in the small pile into his bucket that could then be put onto the city truck for removal.

“I can not do that”.  He added the pile can sit there for six months as it is not hurting anything.

I was told that the pile needed to be picked up by a separate truck crew, at some future date, who was assigned such work.  I explained that the limbs had been on the original pile over the tree stump and had they remained he would have taken them.   Yes, he said, it would all have been removed as that was needed to remove the root.

I was just literally a few yards from the limbs to be picked up, and the front loader was just a few yards from the simple branch limbs.   I was not asking the city worker to expend any energy whatsoever as I would toss the limbs for him–all I asked was for him to then dump that front loader into the back of the city truck–also parked just a few yards from the pile of limbs.

And he refused.

I am truly confounded by the shortage of reason and logic this morning from a work crew that had sunshine on their side, a nice soft lake breeze, and even a Packer victory to smile about from the day before.   And I was the one who was going to lift the light branches!

I know that each employee needs to be judged as an individual, and for obvious reasons, as the above attests.   I am hoping that perhaps the person who I encountered today just was unable to make coffee prior to heading for work.  Minus that there is no rational explanation for his behavior.

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