Follow us:

Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 24, 2009 at 2:42 PM

Seattle’s Street division

Costly report just another blunder in mismanagement

Reading The Times article “Street-division managers get blame in huge report” [page one, June 20] — a report that cost $500,000 — I was struck by what was not reported in the story.

The city’s collective-bargaining system negotiated with its employees obviously has failed. I was a union representative for several city departments in the mid-’90s and I cannot say I am surprised. The labor agreements with the city provide an excellent system of problem solving and arbitration when used correctly and would have saved Seattle taxpayers a half-million dollars and dealt with bad management, too.

Unfortunately the city of Seattle has over the years piled layers of bureaucrats on layers of bureaucracy. During my tenure, I found each city department created its own human-resources and labor-relations operations such that they were uncoordinated and unconnected, each unable to make any final or binding decision. Employee input was normally met with contempt by the bureaucrats in charge.

The hiring of expensive outside consultants is only part of a larger story missed by Times reporters. The story and the larger question is why Seattle government can’t use the perfectly good labor-relations tool they have with its labor agreements. And why do the taxpayers pay for redundant consultants and the costly, cumbersome system now in place?

— Bill Johnston, Tacoma

Comments | More in Seattle City Council

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►