You have answered my query. I agree in some ways. I think that having a city run water authority will bring in more money to the city (via water leases) and have the added benefit of removing some overhead and liability that the current system does not provide. I am not sure, though I fear some flaming may arise from this comment, why having the union is necessarily a good thing. I understand that unions help protect workers and help to negotiate when employers are being unfair. However, there comes a time when the union becomes a blind protector - fighting for things that seem dubitable at best. The city workers in this case would get to keep their jobs, as you state. But the new water authority, as a separate entity, would be allowed to create new hiring practices or keep it union or try some. The cry of privatization prevents the real issue from being heard.
First off let me just say, Latin Teacher I have read your profile, and I would like to welcome you to our great city. I, like you, am a transplant (Philly native), not to be confused with a carpet bagger.
I agree with your "blind protector" statement, and if that were the case I would be the first to fight it. But that is not the case with any of the citys 3 labor unions. Let me restate something I posted to the tag board a couple of days ago:
OK one more blurb about Unions. I did not mean to imply that all unions are doing good for the people. Because some have been divisive in their stinginess and have run prices through the roof and industries out of the country. Some have been too obstinate to promote changes in their industry's business model (B. Steel) and let their futures fade away. IN EASTON, the 3 bargaining units/unions we have are still on the useful side of the labor continuum. They protect against short cuts and unfair practices. BUT WE MUST TAKE HEED OF THIS, when our unions are no longer filled with people that have a vested interest in Easton's financial well being, we stand the chance of being fleeced (food for thought). Make Easton more livable, and employ a good number of residents. posted 4 Oct 06, 06:42 PM
You make the assumption that the city has hiring practice issues related to the water plant and the workers represented by AFSCME Local 447. That is not the case. Yes, the City does have hiring practice issues, just none related to this topic.
The current administration champions shortcuts to financial solvency. Every solution to any problem we have experienced has involved cutting or selling off assets. There are council members onboard with this philosophy too; Council President Vulcano has stated to me more than once that the City is not in the real estate business. That has been the guiding thought process behind the selling of a considerable amount of City owned property. The Mayor's office is working to cut employees/benefits. Their issue is that a overwhelming majority of the City's funds are spent on employees. We say, "No shit, Sherlock!" And here we come again to one of EU's major points-- Easton is A CITY. The purpose of city government is to return tax dollars to residents in the form of ESSENTIAL SERVICES. And this is where our disconnect is with the City leaders.
Mind you, this issue is not one of us complaining without offering solutions. We offer the same solutions over and over. We need to generate revenue, modernize, and enforce. The city is owed in excess of one million dollars in unpaid water bills. The number was $1.6 million a year ago. This is the elephant in the room. We don't enforce any ordnances that can drive revenue. BA has been lobbying for years to get the fire department to recover funds from insurance companies. The Bussiness Adminstrator's reasoning for not wanting to accept credit card bill paying was that the "City would have to pay a percentage". We gave away free parking for a week days after closing a swimming pool and cutting 3 fire fighters, 3 police officers, and 3-5 public works employees. And we fought for two years to convince the other four council members that then Councilman Mike Fleck's idea to reinstitute the Amusement and Mechanical Devices Tax was a good financial decision (too bad we screwed that up too-- $252,700). Close the pools, cut police, cut fire, cut public works, lease the water plant, sell the trash trucks, HIRE CONSULTANTS.
No Latin Teacher, the issue is not organized labor. The issue is essential services. We do NOT get what we pay for.
Thanks for the comments,