Friday, March 4, 2011

Yes, There is Gravy

    But Not Where Some Think It Is

Toronto Police Services:

Paid Duty Costs Taxpayers Millions "Unnecessarily strict rules for employing paid duty police officers are costing Toronto taxpayers as much as $2 million each year, a city audit has found...In 2009, Toronto police worked 40,919 paid duty assignments, earning $65 an hour — nearly twice the rate of a regular constable. In York, officers earn $57 an hour, Ottawa $58, Montreal $42 (time and a half their hourly rate), and Peel $64."

Do we really need highly paid police officers to stand around a construction site gazing into the holes being dug while ignoring traffic around them? In many cases, their job could be replaced by an orange traffic cone or sign.

* "56%: Percentage of all paid duty assignments devoted to traffic control, which the auditor found may be excessive"
Even worse, the police officer with a gun may be working in impaired fashion when he returns to his regular duties....

"(while) Working excessive paid duty shifts can interfere with an officer’s regular duties. Officers are not permitted to work more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period, and paid duty shifts are not permitted to overlap with regular shifts....In one of the audit’s more contentious findings, it notes there is insufficient oversight of internal paid duty policies....In one case, an officer was twice late for court because of overlapping assignments. The individual was paid for a court appearance as well as the paid duty shift....In another, an officer worked 19 hours of paid duty in a 24-hour period."

"The auditor’s report will probably reach city council by spring, just as councillors will be grappling with a projected $774 million budget shortfall."

Another older story on how "Paid duty is jealously guarded by the rank and file of the Toronto police officers, as well as Toronto Police Service’s, Toronto Police Chief, Bill Blair."

Another 2009 Toronto Star investigation agreed: "The findings mirror a December 2009 Star investigation that found private companies, taxpayers and community groups were forced to waste millions of dollars hiring paid duty officers for jobs that could be done by crossing guards or even orange pylons."
... "Deputy mayor Doug Holyday predicts the Ford administration won’t flinch from changing paid-duty rules to save the city millions of dollars, even if the cash comes out of police officers’ pockets."
... Good !

Toronto Transit Commission:  TTC

While there is still no media driven investigation or auditor's report on this - by far the biggest chunk of the city budget - I really wonder who is providing oversight for the MANAGEMENT at the TTC?

In snippets of conversation I hear down at the local Tim Horton's, a popular spot for frontline TTC staff waiting to pickup vehicles to start their shifts, it seems that there is a glut of duplication of efforts by management staff and supervisory personnel. Indeed, this was borne out recently when I witnessed and overheard a conversation between a supervisory person and a TTC driver, where the supervisor was hand-writing a list to keep track of passenger fares. The supervisor was remarking how it was a 'make work' project that no one was going to look at and was only doing it because there was nothing else for him to do.

In another anecdotal situation, a driver coming on to the College streetcar remarked to the person he was relieving that there were '20 guys just waiting for a vehicle to become available'. No doubt, this is in reference to the fact that the TTC is suffering some serious maintenance and aging problems with the current fleet. Yet, who plans these things? Having 20 TTC drivers sitting around being paid while there is no work to do seems egregious. What manager plans these extravagancies?
Where is the investigation of the entrenched TTC management culture. I'd bet there are big savings there.

.... Mayor Rob Ford?  Are you listening?

( Also - See my previous blog on TTC managment situation)