Monday, August 08, 2005

A Watched Clock Never Lets You Off Work

Torporific over at Torpor Indy has pointed out that BMV Commissioner Joel Silverman has removed all clocks from the BMV because of “the tendency of government employees to be clock-watchers.”

Mr. Silverman clearly has a few things to learn about state employees. Taking away the clocks will not make state employees more motivated. State employees are clock-watchers because there is no incentive not to be. With nearly all state employment, good work gets you exactly the same raise or pay as mediocre work. Even a rational, intelligent individual will maximize their happiness by doing the least amount of work possible so as to not get fired. Their choice is (1) work hard and be underpaid or (2) be lazy and be underpaid. Who in their right mind would choose the former? There are *NO* bonuses for work well done, so even motivated, ladder-climbing workers will soon discover the idleness of their hard work.

Let me illustrate my point. Here is a job description for a current state opening, paying $44,226 per year:

RESPONSIBILITIES: This person will be responsible for determining effluent limitations for various pollutant parameters for NPDES permits. Essential activities will include gathering data, using computer models, conducting wasteload allocations, and preparing technical memoranda. This person will also be responsible for assisting in the development of policies and rules for the implementation of the NPDES permit program and will serve as a technical resource for the Permitting Branch. This person may also be assigned to write NPDES permits.
MIN QUALS: Four (4) years full-time professional engineering experence. A bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college required. (Major in Engineering required.) ...
ADDL INFO: The successful candidate should have technical writing skills, good communication skills, familiarity with NPDES rules and/or water quality standards, and proficient computer skills (including Microsoft Word and Excel).

Now Click here to see the Yahoo Hotjobs report that states that an environmental engineering manager in the Indianapolis area should make an average of $116,198.

Would you be a hard worker if you were the engineer getting paid $44K? Or would you spend your entire day on the internet looking for a job in the private sector for nearly three times as much money? Hmmm....

The problem with state employees is incentives and pay, not clocks. If politicians want to save the taxpayer dollars by keeping state salaries low, then the quality of work is going to suffer. Regardless of the intelligence or competence of the workers. Period. For a guy who spent his entire career in the private sector, Mr. Silverman has a lot to learn about worker incentives. And manners.


Blogger torporific said...

You've hit the nail on the head. I am not sure what they pay now, but up until a year or so ago, a starting salary for an attorney with the Secy of State's office was 21,000 dollars. Typically, a starting salary for other agencies is around 28,000.

7:27 AM  

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