Imagine it’s 10:30 am on a typical weekday during the school year. At that time New York City is paying 211,843 members of the NYC teachers’ retirement system (or was a couple of years ago). What are they doing? If you made a pie chart, what would it look like? How many are retired? (We know that, it was 88,507, or 41.8% of the total). How many are out sick? How many are in preparation periods? How many are on break? How many are in out of classroom assignments or administrative posts? How many are on release time? How many are on sabbatical? How many are the second pedagogical employee in a classroom? How many are doing not much useful because they are waiting for something from someone else, because of some disorganization that wasted their time? And finally, how many are actually doing something useful with regard to the education and child care of children?
What if, instead of the pie chart being based on the number of people, it were based on the total cost of the NYCTRS members in each category – their cash pay or pension, their health benefits, their other benefits? Now imagine the same charts being produced for all the other city and state agencies – police, sanitation, fire, transit, corrections, judiciary, parks, social services, hospitals, etc.
Good management seeks to ensure that workers have the qualifications, motivation, training, tools, organization and scheduling to do useful work almost all the time they are being paid, and to limit the amount going to those not doing such work, to the extent possible. So that the workdays fly by, and the maximum (or at least a fair) amount in services is produced for a given about of cost. By that standard, how good was the management in the Cuomo and DeBlasio Administrations? How fair is the deal the employees and contractors of the City and State of New York provide to other New Yorkers, compared with what public employees, retirees, contractors and their retirees expect to be provided with by private sector workers in exchange? What would happen if an organization such as Consumers Union (Consumer Reports) were to examine the quality and value of public services provided by state and local governments the same way it looks at the goods and services provided by private corporations? That is the topic of this post.Continue reading