Also, read my blog post Grading City Employees.
A large terrace tree, directly next to the driveway of a city park, was cut down by the City Of Madison this spring. Over the course of the months since the tree was removed several storms had come through the area and small type limbs had been gathered from the park, and neighboring homes, to make a convenient pile for pick-up by the city. In the isthmus area, where cars are always using street parking, having such a clear visual location for such debris is a smart idea. In fact, over the many years, the spot alongside the tree has been the place for park limbs for pick-up from the volunteers who do that task.
Several weeks ago I had taken about six limbs off the large pile, as it was getting too big, and placed them directly on the opposite side of the park driveway.
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 noticed that the crew took a coffee break and walked about the area, no doubt rubbing their pant legs on the end of the limbs of the pile that still awaits being picked up.
I have always been supportive of public employees. My dad worked for the county, my brother for decades with the state, my nephew has worked for many years at the UW, a brother-in-law was a postmaster. I worked in the state assembly. I am not one to be harsh with those who work for us.
But today was off-the-chart as a city employee demonstrated purposeful arrogance and willful disregard for the obvious easy solution that presented itself. This is why the rank-and-file citizen has a sour connotation for those who are paid by taxpayers. That is sad as there are many, such as myself, who still fight and urge for fairness and political settlements that work in favor of public employees and their unions.
Today it does make one wonder……..