On Channel 10, we learn of the dozens of state employees, some with six-figure salaries, put on paid administrative leave for months on end, even more than a year. Perhaps among thousands of employees, an organization will sometimes find it to be the most efficient thing to do to pay employees not to work while some issue is resolved, and in the case of government, the glacial pace of action is its own, distinct story. Even so, when the number of such employees gets to be over fifty at a given time, doesn’t it begin to reveal an employment attitude in government that money is never really an issue and that the system is set up mainly for the benefit of employees?
Channel 12 has another example. This time, in the evergreen field of government employees’ doing things that shock, it’s a Department of Transportation employee who (allegedly) regularly sleeps in his vehicle during working hours. Department Director Peter Alviti (formerly a director for the Laborers’ union) displays that attitude again:
Alviti told us the engineering technician’s job was to inspect concrete at a Rhode Island plant, to make sure the mix had the required ratio of water and dry material. Alviti also said this case prompted him to personally address about 90 RIDOT employees who have similar access to state vehicles.
“The public sector is not an easy place to be, I reminded them,” said Alviti. “But it’s the place we chose to be employed. All of us. And with that comes some additional responsibilities, particularly when it comes to public perception.”
Yes, you read that right: An employee is (allegedly) caught sleeping on the job, and the director’s response is that public sector employees are like martyrs of accountability. A job that allows for regular midday naps is “not an easy place to be”?
Never mind “public perception.” I think we ought to be more interested to learn about and understand the perception of those who work in government.