KSTP: Get a Life

So the big news here in the Twin Cities is that St. Paul Public Works employees that are supposed to be out patching potholes aren’t being as productive as they could be.

On Monday, KSTP, the local ABC affiliate, aired a hidden-camera story where they followed a bunch of St. Paul Public Works crews around the city videotaping them, timing them, and detailing how much time they spent working and how much time they spent loafing.  Turns out, there’s a lot of loafing going on.

Boy, what a newsflash.  Public Works employees stopping at convenience stores?  Heavens!  That’s about as big of a newsflash as when Fox 9 released the groundbreaking story that apparently, underage college hockey players are drinking alcohol!  Golly, who would have thought?

The KSTP story apparently resulted in the Public Works director resigning his position, despite the fact that nobody had previously questioned his ability to lead the employees, or his fairly hard-nosed response to the story where he vowed to shape up the employees.  The St. Paul human resources department will spend $10,000-$15,000 to interview all the employees, most of which is nothing more than political face-saving for Mayor Coleman.

Mostly, I’m pissed off that KSTP follows people around hoping to get them fired and then expects me to think it’s great journalism.  Get a life, KSTP.  I’ll bet some of your own employees aren’t as productive as they could be, either.  Maybe it’s because I’ve had a number of public works jobs in the past and have always considered convenience store stops just as valid a break as when KSTP workers spend 15 minutes talking about fishing or something.

UPDATE: [10/25/2010 9:11 AM] I’m all for increasing worker productivity and accountability. My gripe is with KSTP’s methods. Hiding in the bushes and waiting for people to screw up and then jumping out at them and drawing attention to their flaws is a cowardly way to encourage worker productivity.

4 comments to KSTP: Get a Life

  • Got to support kstp most of the Unions are lazy and I am glad to see someone is trying to do something. Nothing will happen as they compile their Union reps to go for the worker and not the tax payer. I was a Union member for some time but not lazy

  • @Live Life – I'm all for increasing worker productivity and accountability. My gripe is with KSTP's methods. Hiding in the bushes and waiting for people to screw up and then jumping out at them and drawing attention to their flaws is a cowardly way to encourage worker productivity.

  • People get upset about weird things when they are presented in the media – and surprised about weird things too. Of course we all wish people would be a bit more effective in jobs that are really important – but really, often the problem is in the presentation. I remember the time I was a guide – sure we sometimes looked lazy, but sometimes were busy as bees, when it was really needed. Wouldn't have looked good on a camera though.

  • @Tuittu – I know what you mean. I worked at a gold mine for a while. We would be out and about in the AM, then we'd come in for lunch because we were required to vacate the pit mine while they detonated the daily explosives. If the explosives were late, our lunch hour easily turned into 2 or 3 hours. I struggled with it ethically for a while and tried to find ways to be productive, but eventually just gave in and started taking afternoon naps like everyone else.