Mendocino County employees have authorized a strike, and if you are weeping and worrying at their plight, or if you’ve been making sandwiches for unemployed government workers, I have some advice:
Dry your eyes. Toss the baloney.
County workers are already overpaid by any local measure, and giving raises will only encourage them. Let them strike. If they want to stand at the Ukiah courthouse Friday afternoons to chant (or have professional chanters come up from SEIU headquarters in Oakland) honk your horn in solidarity. Throw nickels out your car window.
But don’t throw taxpayer money at them, as the sane among us fear supervisors might consider. Their duties and obligations should be to citizens, not employees.
In the real world, what difference does it make if desk drones at Human Resources are absent a few months? Or years. Who cares if an Administrative Assistant quits in a huff and goes to work for Orange County? Or Walmart.
The notion county employees are overworked or underpaid is pure fiction. The only yardstick SEIU uses to suggest workers are insufficiently compensated comparing them to overpaid employees in other counties.
We don’t need an SEIU representative to describe the tragic inequities between Mendo workers and those in Marin and Sonoma Counties before we start to laugh. There are plenty of differences, but only a few involve salaries.
Income isn’t first on the list of differences among county workers in Ukiah, Santa Rosa and Mill Valley. Search all you want for the mythical “highly skilled social worker” in Mendocino County who’s planning to sell her house, uproot her family, transfer her children to new schools with no friends, find a new church, new bank, start work in a new office with a new boss and strangers for co-workers, buy a house costing three times what she sold hers for in Calpella, all for the joy of working in Bakersfield.
How many county workers (aside from cops and lawyers, neither group represented by SEIU) make such a move? I’d guess none. Not one a year.
Now compare their salaries to those working in our local jobs market and see where on the totem pole government workers sit. (Hint: On Top.) (And we’ve not touched on the lavish taxpayer-funded lifelong pensions County employees get, but not those at Mendo Mill, Fowler Motors, plumbers, roofers, waitresses or Ukiah Daily Journal employees.)
It also ignores the reality that government employees are neither required nor expected to toil diligently in service to the county. And their leaders would have a hard time demanding excellence from worker bees in the face of their own flailings and failings in recent years.
Our Supervisors are the most confused, inept and overwhelmed of any Board I’ve seen. It’s gone through more department heads than there are departments, and assumes there are two sets of budget books, contrary to every known principle of economics and finance.
These are the sharp cats that bungled the marijuana issue to the point of comedy. Of all the pot in all the USA, Mendocino County’s reputation for quality was unmatched. When weed became legal our leaders had a built-in advantage over every other product. Given this priceless gift, they did what bureaucrats and politicians love to do: Dream up fancy rules, confusing regulations with mysterious motives and logic-free goals.
Result: Mendo marijuana tanked and took the economy with it.
County bosses are in no position to recognize worker incompetence much less care about it, let alone correct it. And we should understand that the supervisors themselves are overpaid and unlikely to start griping, publicly at least, about the high cost of hiring marginal help. `
Which takes us back to salaries. If SEIU members are underpaid and overworked why is it we never hear of any of them quitting to take lucrative positions at Friedman’s, Parducci Winery or Costco? Any notion they are overworked is too ridiculous to discuss.
THE RULE: If employees aren’t quitting it means they’re thankful being employed. If they start resigning and if the county can’t find replacements, it means the world has gone bonkers.
A sure sign of feeling inferior is demanding unearned deference from those around you. Please meet Ukiah High’s new principal, Analese Alvarez.
Oops. I meant to say “Please meet Ukiah High’s Almighty Doctor Analese Alvarez, B.S., M.S., PhD., and maybe DDS and RSVP too.
Failing to address her as “Doctor” brings a quick correction, and school workers who’ve had the pleasure of being upbraided by the new principal are already talking, laughing and rolling their eyes.
Someone might consider taking the academically rich but socially clumsy Alvarez aside and suggest respect comes from deeds, not demands.