Someone Call the People from Guinness

7 Nov

This morning on WBEN, Prof. Kevin Hardwick interviewed CE-elect Chris Collins. One of the promises Collins made on Hardwick’s show a few weeks ago was to hire a “Six Sigma Black Belt”, which sounds ab initio like a bunch of trendy, management-speak bullcrap.

Hardwick asked whether Collins would be able to retain a ninja from the private sector to come work for Erie County pay.

The short answer? Probably not. Collins said he might have to hire one on a “consultancy basis”. What that means is that he’ll retain some sort of Deputy CE, and will ask the control board for efficiency grant money to hire a Six Sigma trendbot.

Translation: if the county can’t afford a Six Sigma Black Belt, I’ll ask for state money to pay him whatever it might take to attract him/her. Ostensibly, this magical consultant might very well earn more public money than any other public official in the county.

Well, thank God he’s going to run county government like a business. A business?

As Bauerle notes this morning, Collins has conveniently broken a campaign promise 12 hours after being elected. That’s got to be some kind of record.

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63 Responses to “Someone Call the People from Guinness”

  1. Mike Miller November 7, 2007 at 9:47 am #

    Alan, I wrote about my experience and training in Six Sigma and my concerns about this being just a buzzword a few days ago:

    http://shadesofgray.wnymedia.net/blogs/2007/10/22/erie-county-the-first-six-sigma-county-in-the-us/

    I even took a hit from a Six Sigma blogger about my post:

    http://www.sixsigmacompanies.com/archive/six_sigma_politics.html

    I even sent Collins an email asking how he’d implement Six Sigma in the county. He never responded.

  2. Derek J. Punaro November 7, 2007 at 9:55 am #

    I heard this on the way to work this morning, and my first question was – how much does the deputy CE get paid? My experience has been that there are many companies in WNY that utilize the Six Sigma methodology (which to the contrary, is NOT just management-speak bullcrap) and there has to be someone that’s a trained black belt that wants to get into politics.

  3. Mike In WNY November 7, 2007 at 10:12 am #

    This sounds like a rather partisan attack coming from someone who wanted others to give Spitzer a chance. Collins won because he is not the political hack that Keane is. I wish him well and will reserve judgment until a later time. Unfortunately, he still has the same old hacks to fight in the legislature.

  4. Russell November 7, 2007 at 10:12 am #

    Was it a campaign promise? Was it broken?

    The original pledge was an answer to a question that he said he’d like to do. Reality is setting in, probably after talking to some potential candidates once he made the comment, and he’s realized it’s not fully possible. However, he has come up with a contingency plan to make the best of the situation, based on economics and efficiency. That sounds reasonable to me.

    I think the gotcha playing the very next morning has to be a bit of a record, too, or is that just sour grapes?

  5. Buffalopundit November 7, 2007 at 10:26 am #

    I never said I don’t wish him well. I’m saying he made a campaign promise that he’s effectively broken with the swiftness of a gazelle. If Keane had proposed bringing in a high-priced private sector management consultant outside the framework of county salaries, you guys would be screaming bloody murder.

    Why did he say he’d do it without thinking it through, first?

  6. Mike Miller November 7, 2007 at 10:46 am #

    Oh, he thought it through alright. He’s no dummy. He had no intention of mentioning the costs associated with implementing Six Sigma. To be fair, it’s a difficult issue to present in detail to people who don’t know anything about it because it’s very involved, takes complete adoption as a business philosophy and has some considerable expense associated with it.

    But, on the flip side, a fully trained SS belt should be able to affect savings of more than twice their annual salary. You just have to sell the expense to the county employees and legislature and hope that they have the balls to perform the cuts that come out of it. That’s the real challenge.

  7. Mr. Pink November 7, 2007 at 11:27 am #

    The guy is answering questions the morning after having been up all night. Can we at least give him a chance before we start piling on?

    I agree we should call Guiness…the record is for the least amount of time it took for political ffoes to start hammering a victorious candidate.

  8. Ike November 7, 2007 at 11:38 am #

    seriously, now that you lost, stow the partisan hack act

  9. Buffalopundit November 7, 2007 at 11:40 am #

    Bauerle’s a political foe of Collins’?

  10. Buffalopundit November 7, 2007 at 11:44 am #

    Hey, Ike: what am I supposed to do? STFU when I see stuff that I call bullshit on? Are you my fucking editor? Take the hack comment and stuff it.

  11. steve November 7, 2007 at 12:01 pm #

    Pundit — “Well, thank God he’s going to run county government like a business. A business?”

    Yes, that is the way it is done in business from time to time. There is more than one way to get expertise into your shop — sometimes you hire it full time, sometimes you rent it.

    I don’t see this as a broken promise, I see it as a dose of realism.

  12. Buffalopundit November 7, 2007 at 12:04 pm #

    I find the timing convenient.

  13. Niagara-Erie Prognosticator November 7, 2007 at 12:19 pm #

    I also heard the Collins interview and it sure sounded like a broken campaign promise to me. Collins also said that he needs to get folks with “government experience” on his transition team and in his administration because that’s where he is not experienced and that his “legislative liaison” should perhaps be a Democrat with some experience. Sounded like an endorsement of the kind of expertise that Keane brought to the table.

    Sounded to me that the guy just realized how deep the water really is in the pool that he’s jumped into and he’s not quite sure how to swim in it. For all the rhetoric about running government “like a business,” it seems that he’s starting to realize that the “business of government” is not the same as private business.

    Although the guy may have been too tired to think on his feet, its also likely that the new talking points have not yet been formulated so he had to speak from the gut and unwittingly acknowledged the truth of the situation he now finds himself in.

    Once the Republican consultants get in there, look for at least two years of attempts to utilize the bully pulpit to attempt to bully the legislature and the unions into submission. Then look also for the legislature and the unions to hunker down for yet another period of legislative inertia and stagnation in government before people begin to declare the beginning of the end of Collins’ one term.

    Remember where you heard it first.

  14. hank November 7, 2007 at 12:22 pm #

    I think it would be fair to give the man some time to flesh out his proposal.
    my only experience with 6 Sigma was when I worked for Timken Bearing, where the arrival of steel pipe and wire from OH, the cutting and heat treating process and the final grinding and honing of the parts must be orchestrated to keep the lines moving 24 hours a day.

    I didn’t know it worked for municipal government as well.

    Anytime a candidate or pol uses the term” Run Government like a Business” the red flag goes up.
    Businesses (like the Bearing Co.) make a product that is in demand, and their products is traded for cash.

    Government, OTOH, takes money from citizens against their will and provides “services”, whether you need those services or not. Much more collectivist in it’s machinations.

    Government makes nothing, and has no market to bring it’s nothing to that has demand to pay for it in a dynamic market.
    That’s why it has become the money sucking corrupt mess that it is in most localities, states, and don’t even start on D.C.

    But I’d still like Collins to get some time to speak to the citizens on his plans. Why not hire a Six Sigma Black belt on contract that his salary will be negotiated from the amount of money he saves the county. If the guy wants 125K (just an arbitrary figure), He should be told “Ok, we’ll pay you the average county employees salary until your system saves the county X million dollars. Then you can have the salary you have asked for, and any bonuses would be tied to how much MORE than that he can save the county.
    I saw it work in the 70’s at a local WNY Hospital. An Administrative Dietician was hired to oversee the Food Service Dep’t. His salary and bonuses were in his contract, tied to how much efficiency he could bring to the process, how much he could save the hospital by reining in costs, and
    positive feedback from patients on the quality and service given them by the dietary staff.

    It works.

  15. lulu November 7, 2007 at 12:28 pm #

    I find the timing of this post to be reason enough for the accusation of sour grapes. That being said, this morning on the radio (103.3 perhaps?) Collins answered a question from a caller about how the Six Sigma program would be funded and he said he’d ask the control board for use of “efficiency money” that is apparently “on the table” but not currently being distributed. If they say no, other options will be considered. It sounded like a reasonable and honest answer to me. I sincerely hope he can affect some positive change around here, but I know it will not happen within 24 hours of election. Duh. Let’s give the guy a chance and embrace an opportunity for change!

  16. Chet Morton November 7, 2007 at 12:29 pm #

    I heard this also at 7:22 am this morning on WBEN. It sure sounds like Collins is backtracking. He had previously said he would hire a Six Sigma black belt as Deputy County Executive. Now, he told WBEN that he is not sure he will do that, but that he may ask for efficiency grant money from ECFSA to hire a consultant to assist. Hardwick seemed to pick up on the comment as a backtracking on a campaign promise. Given that ECFSA’s vice chair Bob Glaser (who is acting chair) gave Collins $1,000, I strongly suspect ECFSA’s relationship with Collins will be quite close and warm.

  17. iNdAbUFF November 7, 2007 at 1:06 pm #

    With everything else that is wrong with the county starting with the Dem leadership in the Leg this is a yawner and just meant to stir up some post election controversy…I am with Derek Punaro on this…Six Sigma or any efficiency system are only as good as the peeps implementing them…if I recall correctly, ShitiStat didn’t come cheap either.

  18. iNdAbUFF November 7, 2007 at 1:09 pm #

    Listen…KEANE LOST…time to move over Rover and let Collins take over…

  19. Russell November 7, 2007 at 1:12 pm #

    Tell the whole story. The reason why Collins said he doesn’t think he can bring in a Six Sigma black belt is because of money constraints. It’s not that he’s breaking a promise, which wasn’t even a promise. It’s that the pay of the Deputy is too low to get someone. So he’s going to do it the way the County can afford. What is wrong with that?

    And saying that your legislative liaison is going to be someone with government experience and quite possibly a Dem is not backtracking either. This is the way it’s done in the business world. The two major corporations I have worked for both had government liaisons that were former office holders from the party that held the majority in the chamber they were dealing with.

    Because he’s willing to fill a lower position with someone similar to the credentials Keane has does not mean he’s saying Keane is better qualified for the job. Why would you think a middle manager should be the company’s president just because he’s qualified to be a middle manager?

    Look, Collins will have his hands full dealing with this obstructionist, status quo Legislature. He knows he needs someone who can deal with these tantrum throwing grade schoolers. Just look at how quick BP was to attack Collins and he wasn’t even judged fit to serve in that body. Imagine how much worse those 12 will be.

  20. iNdAbUFF November 7, 2007 at 1:20 pm #

    And let me addddd….I didn’t even vote for Collins…

  21. Buffalopundit November 7, 2007 at 2:02 pm #

    Just look at how quick BP was to attack Collins and he wasn’t even judged fit to serve in that body. Imagine how much worse those 12 will be.

    Wasn’t judged fit? I lost by a 2:1 ratio in a district where my enrollment disadvantage is a 2:1 ratio. That’s not really reflective of my “fitness” for the job. Russell, weren’t you busy explaining how crappy both CE candidates were, and now you’re moaning that I have the audacity to point out what conservative commentators said on a radio station that all but cheerleaded for Collins?

    As for the “sour grapes” meme, might I remind people that:

    1. I wasn’t running against Collins; and
    2. I haven’t uttered my opponent’s name in any way, shape, or form.

    Seems to me people have a higher tolerance threshold for Collins’ quite obvious mis-steps than anyone else’s. I wonder why that is. He gets a pass because he won last night? He’s a Republican? I mean, there must be a reason, right?

    Collins never said pre-election day that a SSBB might cost more than what a Deputy CE makes. But now he does.

    I repeat: if that shoe was on the other foot, you guys would be screaming bloody murder. But Collins gets a pass. There’s a reason for that, but no one’s addressing that.

    Fascinating.

    UPDATE:

    Hank’s comment:

    Why not hire a Six Sigma Black belt on contract that his salary will be negotiated from the amount of money he saves the county. If the guy wants 125K (just an arbitrary figure), He should be told “Ok, we’ll pay you the average county employees salary until your system saves the county X million dollars. Then you can have the salary you have asked for, and any bonuses would be tied to how much MORE than that he can save the county.

    is quite reasonable. Maybe Collins runs with that.

  22. Derek J. Punaro November 7, 2007 at 2:36 pm #

    What is the Deputy CE salary? Anyone know?

  23. Mike Miller November 7, 2007 at 2:37 pm #

    Can I offer an alternative way of thinking here?

    As I said earlier, I don’t think Collins backed down on his Six Sigma promise. He never really stated HOW he would implement Six Sigma other than it may come under the duties of Deputy CE. That was, and still is, a viable option depending on what level of SS training you want to sign up for (full SS blackbelt, greenbelt, abbreviated Lean Six Sigma). Not all SS belts make hundreds of thousands. I surely don’t.

    This was my frustration when I first did my post about it. He wasn’t up front about the investment required to implement SS. That’s called “playing it close to the vest”. If he had disclosed the possibility of adding a SS consultant, regardless of the potential savings, he would have had something for Keane and the media to jump all over. Smart business tactic, not so wise political move, but I don’t see it as backtracking or backing down from a promise.

    At worst, you can accuse him of nondisclosure. I’d expect a lot more of that from him. Businessmen find ways around obstacles to get what they want too. They’re just not used to having to explain their actions.

  24. mike hudson November 7, 2007 at 2:48 pm #

    like it matters.

  25. Buffalopundit November 7, 2007 at 2:51 pm #

    What is the Deputy CE salary? Anyone know?

    It depends on one’s longevity in county government. It’s budgeted for $108,000 next year, but that’s factoring in Fisher’s longevity. A new person’s salary would probably be lower.

  26. dougk November 7, 2007 at 3:32 pm #

    bp, jeeze, take a breath man, regain objectivity

  27. Russell November 7, 2007 at 4:21 pm #

    Come on, BP, that ratio garbage doesn’t wash. How could you cling to something like that in the same night that Collins won in a district where enrollment was 2:1 against him? And your loss was closer to 2.5:1. If you give the voters what they want, they’ll vote for you, regardless of affiliation. Many have done it in our county. If affiliation is such a determinant, why even bother having elections? You were judged unfit, plain and simple.

    Your post went a little further than just pointing out what conservative commentators said.

    Yes, I didn’t think either candidate was great, but I have never attacked any elected official before they took office, let alone the very next morning. In fact, I attended Clinton’s first inauguration. It’s bad form to be on the offensive the very next morning. He hasn’t even taken a single step yet and you’re already talking about “mis-steps”?

    For me, it’s not about party affiliation. It’s because it’s only the morning after the election. For you, it’s obviously because of party affiliation. Sour grapes does not only concern the one you directly ran against. It can be over someone you supported or just voted for.

    You didn’t know someone like that would command a high salary? Collins never made this a campaign promise. He said, in response to an impromptu question, that he would like to. He’s realized he can’t, but is still finding a way to make it partially possible.

    The more you write today, the more you sound like a hack. This is pathetic. I think you need a vacation.

  28. Jay Arthur November 7, 2007 at 4:38 pm #

    Lean Six Sigma can be applied to any business, even government. Every business encounters the three demons: delay, defects and deviation.
    Government agencies all seem too slow. Why? Delays between processing steps. You don’t need to make the people faster, just the paperwork going through the process.
    Government agencies make mistakes. Just count them. Aggregate them in meaningful categories (e.g., accounting errors) and systematically find and fix the root causes of these errors.
    Deviation is more of a manufacturing issue: too small, too big, etc. But can snow plows do an inconsistent job of clearing the streets? Sure.
    There’s always room to improve in any business and government is no exception.
    The Veterans Administration has been using the QI Macros SPC software and Six Sigma-like techniques to reduce the cost of healthcare ($5,000/hospitalization vs $8,000 or more for regular hospitals) and improving the quality of care at the same time.
    I applaud the move to bring in improvement experts (rather than trying to train your own) because it will jumpstart results. But many companies are doing on their own with simple applications of Lean Six Sigma Simplified.
    It’s not that hard, businesses just need to do it.

  29. Buffalopundit November 7, 2007 at 4:45 pm #

    You guys are a piece of work. While hacking it up for Mr. Collins, you completely ignore the fact that my post offers practically no new information beyond what WBEN reported. And I’m the one who needs to regain objectivity?

    Come on, BP, that ratio garbage doesn’t wash. How could you cling to something like that in the same night that Collins won in a district where enrollment was 2:1 against him? And your loss was closer to 2.5:1. If you give the voters what they want, they’ll vote for you, regardless of affiliation.

    That must be the most ignorant piece of horseshit I’ve read all day. First of all, I ran a fucking shoestring campaign. I didn’t have the time to go out begging people for money because I have a full time job. I didn’t pander to a load of unions because I didn’t want to owe anybody anything. Plus, I’m not a millionaire who can self-finance, and I’m a rookie – Collins ran before, no? So, you can fucking come on here and tell me that I’m not “fit” for the job if that makes you feel better, but that’s just being patently insulting. You could have said the voters rejected me, which would be accurate without any subtext of unworthiness, but I suspect you chose your words carefully. I know I do.

    You can compare my little $4000 campaign to a massive, countywide centerpiece campaign waged by a well-financed millionaire if you’d like, but it’s just this side of disingenuous.

    Many have done it in our county. If affiliation is such a determinant, why even bother having elections? You were judged unfit, plain and simple.

    No. I lost. I was not judged unfit. There’s a difference.

    Your post went a little further than just pointing out what conservative commentators said.

    Yet you don’t bother to explain how. 🙄

    Yes, I didn’t think either candidate was great, but I have never attacked any elected official before they took office, let alone the very next morning. In fact, I attended Clinton’s first inauguration.

    So, Russell – you tell me when it’s ok to comment on things, is that how it works? Where, precisely, do you maintain a platform from which to “attack” anyone, anyhow? What Clinton has to do with the price of tea in China is anyone’s guess.

    It’s bad form to be on the offensive the very next morning. He hasn’t even taken a single step yet and you’re already talking about “mis-steps”?

    He took the step – he made a promise. He’s now backing off of it. That’s a mis-step.

    For me, it’s not about party affiliation. It’s because it’s only the morning after the election. For you, it’s obviously because of party affiliation.

    What’s obviously because of party affiliation?

    Sour grapes does not only concern the one you directly ran against. It can be over someone you supported or just voted for.

    Why don’t you start a “All Collins Happy News” blog if my opinion about something that happened is so offensive to your sense of, as another person once put it, social panache.

    You didn’t know someone like that would command a high salary? Collins never made this a campaign promise. He said, in response to an impromptu question, that he would like to. He’s realized he can’t, but is still finding a way to make it partially possible.

    As Chet pointed out, I’m sure he will. It’s easy when the acting chair of the control board is a political contributor of yours.

    The more you write today, the more you sound like a hack. This is pathetic. I think you need a vacation.

    The more you write today, the more you sound like Collins’ towel boy. This is pathetic. I think you need to apply for a job on his transition team and ensure that his precious eyes never read a critical word.

  30. Russell November 7, 2007 at 5:39 pm #

    Your title of the article, the translation paragraph, the business comment and the swiftness of a gazelle line are all examples of where you went further. Don’t roll your eyes at me.

    Jack Quinn had the highest difference between his party affiliation and that of his district in the entire Congress. He did that in an election where I believe he spent under $100,000. He was outspent something like 4:1. His name recognition was under 10% when he started the campaign. But he won. It can be done on a shoestring budget without being a millionaire. And I think what you spent on a county leg race is probably relative to what he spent on a Congressional race. Those budgets get into the millions, so he spent under 10% of the average.

    Did you not know you had a full time job before you ran? Did you not know you need money to run? Did you expect to win or were you just hoping for 30%?

    My point about Clinton was that the campaign ends with the election. You give a person the benefit of the doubt ’til they take office and begin governing. At least that’s what people with some class do.

    If you really care to know, I wrote editorials for my college paper. Sorry if that isn’t a lofty enough platform for you and that I didn’t clear it with you first.

    The party affiliation was in regards to your saying there’s a reason but no one’s addressing it. I think I’ve addressed it a few times. Are you just playing dense?

    I’m not a Collins supporter. You even pointed that out yourself. What I’m saying is you’re not telling the whole story and you’re not giving him a chance. He won. Get over it and grow up. Len Lenihan was on a half hour after him. He heard his comment and didn’t say one thing about it. You’re acting like more of a hack than the party boss. That’s ridiculous. (I know he heard the comment because he said he knew Hardwick was there before Hardwick spoke, so he had to have listened to the interview.)

  31. Russell November 7, 2007 at 5:52 pm #

    I did not mean the unfit comment as an insult. I now see that it did cross the line and I’m sorry.

  32. Rifle Dude November 7, 2007 at 6:28 pm #

    Alan, would you ever (seriously) consider being a part of the administration? Even as part of a transition team?

    You are smart, up-to-date on the issues and think outside the box. If Collins was a smart man, your name would be on many short lists.

    Don’t give up. You ran in a district in a system that would prevent just about any Democratic challenger from being an influential force. (Imagine what it must feel like to be a Buffalo Republican.) Be proud of what you did. I can’t imagine how frustrated it must be to invest so much time and energy (especially that of a father of young children) and not see more positive results.

    Who cares what some rimjob writes about on these boards. What the hell have they done lately to try and change things?

  33. Buffalopundit November 7, 2007 at 7:38 pm #

    Thanks, RD. I haven’t thought about being part of a Collins administration, but I’m pretty open-minded and would seriously consider any offer that came along. Because I did this to better my community, partisanship be damned. Thanks.

  34. Jaquandor November 7, 2007 at 8:09 pm #

    I find it pretty hard to take seriously any management gewgaw that uses Karate terminology.

  35. Buffalo Hodgepodge November 7, 2007 at 8:46 pm #

    I voted for Collins but he needs to lay off the management buzzwords. I’m already sick and tried of the business allusions like “Chief Executive not Chief Poltician,” “voter prospectus,” “TQM,” “Six Sigma,” and the other nonsensical metaphors. He’s trying a little too hard to sound coolly apolitical and he doesn’t need it.

  36. Size Nine November 7, 2007 at 9:06 pm #

    “Running government like a business” raises red flags for me too, but not for the sinister reasons that Hanks mentions. It’s way simpler than that.

    It is idiocy for the same reasons that no one brags, “I’m going to run my hospital like a university!” Or, ” I’m going to run my church like a drycleaner!” Or, “I’m going to run my bakery like an airline!”

  37. Size Nine November 7, 2007 at 9:29 pm #

    Oh, and not that you asked, but I’m sorry that you took such a beating. I mean it in spite of what I’m about to say.

    Had I been in your district, I might not have voted for you even though I share your party affiliation. This is because of your bad temper and propensity for profanity. We already have a county legislature that famously needs adult supervision. Elected office requires patience and even respect towards people that you disagree with and dislike, and you don’t exhibit much of that. Flinging the F word around won’t get your initiatives passed no matter how sound your ideas might be.

    Having said that, you nevertheless earned my respect by running. Especially if you never criticized your opponent. A fine example that others should emulate. I always say that if we can’t stand their (whoever your version of “them” is) candidates, we have to run our own. And you did it.

    So, BP readers, Collins is fair game but go easy on Pundit for a few days.

  38. Buffalopundit November 7, 2007 at 9:32 pm #

    Profanity is flung around here when I’m insulted. Not when people disagree with me. Thanks for the sentiment, nonetheless.

  39. Size Nine November 7, 2007 at 10:17 pm #

    Well, thanks for making my point. The County Legislature isn’t tea with the Queen. It’s jam-packed with opportunities to feel insulted.

  40. BobbyCat November 7, 2007 at 10:58 pm #

    Partisanship and the incessant fighting between Dems and Reps have done more to damage this area then any good they might have done individually. After all the hype has faded and the last hurrahs are uttered about improving our County, both parties are really interested in power and patronage. It’s the engine driving the system. That highway job for your brother-in-law is what County government is all about. You can call it a cynical view, but only if it’s untrue.

    If Collins does nothing more than hire a bipartisan administration and end this foolish political war, he will have succeeded.

  41. Mike from Grand Island November 7, 2007 at 11:02 pm #

    From a business management standpoint the first step has got to be regionalization. Any CEO would want to rip the redundancy out in a heartbeat. But…A Republican who tries to sell that will have no base. People in this area complain about taxes and big government but will not give up their local control. It reminds me of that magot brain album by funkadelic with that song about fear… I hope Collins can move this bunch of scared white guys.

    What a season it’s been! Bob and Marilyn, Clark, Mullins, etc… This has been fun to watch.

    Thanks for running BP – takes balls and time away from family.

  42. Bruce November 7, 2007 at 11:23 pm #

    Bobbycat,

    Don’t bet on Collins putting in a bipartisan administration. County Hall is about to become a patronage haven for Tom Reynolds’ hacks and former Patacki people losing their state jobs. Collins is owned part and parcel by the Reynolds people, and they have been dying for the last 8 years because Giambra wasn’t giving all the jobs to their people.

  43. Mike Miller November 8, 2007 at 7:34 am #

    Rhetorical question of the day:

    Why is it that we are so quick to jump all over each other?

    Geez, opinions are everybody’s right and can lead to some productive conversations about issues and concerns, but this trend of lapsing into insults is really troubling. Nothing gets solved that way and the real message gets lost. It’s just a big waste of time.

  44. Buffalopundit November 8, 2007 at 8:49 am #

    Well, thanks for making my point. The County Legislature isn’t tea with the Queen. It’s jam-packed with opportunities to feel insulted.

    Point taken. However, in my professional life I behave professionally. This blog is an extension of my personal life, and my words are carefully chosen. Occasionally, an Anglo-Saxon word or two are necessary in my personal life, as they are in just about everybody’s.

  45. Derek J. Punaro November 8, 2007 at 9:48 am #

    Jeez, even assuming a big decrease in the salary, I still find it exceptionally hard to believe that there are no Six Sigma Black Belts willing to take a government job for even $80,000. If I had the time, I’d go take the test and do it.

  46. BobbyCat November 8, 2007 at 10:43 am #

    Geek,

    Tom Reynolds is as neked of power in Washington as the Wizard of Oz. He blew the last election and his collegues stripped him of power. He’s done, stick a fork in him.

    Collins has his own mandate. He doesn’t owe any debts to any Wizards.

  47. Kevin Pritchard November 8, 2007 at 10:44 am #

    Six Sigma is NOT “trendy, management-speak bullcrap”.

    It is a proven method of eliminating waste and redundancies in various processes, mostly manufacturing.

    I’m sure it can be tailored to county services, but the question really is “at what cost”. As many of the previous commenters can likely attest to, quality management and improvement programs are only as good as the buy-in you can get within the organization.

    Ii have no problems with bashing Collins hours after his election, but as someone who has had dealings with his companies both before and after he acquired them, I can attest that post-Collins, the companies are better run and more efficient.

  48. Jack R. November 8, 2007 at 12:19 pm #

    Seeing how we are going to be using the $18 Million in effciency grant money the republican control-board has been holding onto (just waiting for Collins to win and be able to redirect that money to where the republican establishment saw fit), why are we settling for a six-sigma black-belt…let’s get a six-sigma power ranger instead! maybe we can get a different color six-sigma power ranger for each department?

    their are thousands of outstanding run governments in america, why don’t we study those as a way to improve instead of going after the manufacturing oriented six sigma…
    maybe someone should tell chris that he can’t run the erie county parole department like a chinese sweat-shop!

  49. TseTse November 8, 2007 at 1:44 pm #

    Ah yes – the term du jour, Six Sigma Black belt. What a term! Another slick sales pitch used to lure gullible executives into spending mega bucks on training. Also, another hook for some fast talking socio- economic barnacle to attach himself/herself to a high paying job with a lucrative severance package. In 5 years it will long be forgotten. Replaced, no doubt, by some other fad terminology like Level 4 Jedi Master Precog .

  50. Frieda November 8, 2007 at 4:24 pm #

    A Fortune article stated that “of 58 large companies that have announced Six Sigma programs, 91 percent have trailed the S&P 500 since.”

  51. BobbyCat November 8, 2007 at 6:57 pm #

    I have just begun to absorb the new term, “Six Sigma”. Never heard of it before.

    What amazes me, is the number of Six Sigma experts who have magically fallen out of the trees like commandos. They’re everywhere and tell us that its all bogus, a sham, they have experience, they have statistics, we can’t afford it, Chris Collins is Willie Sutton-esque. Why, we should march him straight to the pen.

    Holy cow, the ink is barely dry on the write-in ballots and all these friggin experts have it all figured out, like lightening.

    I wish some of these smart guys had run for office. Where were you when we needed ya?

    Maybe we should give County Exec elect the benefit of the….aww nevermind.

  52. Jack R. November 8, 2007 at 7:32 pm #

    no need to apologize bobbycat…being behind is nothing to be ashamed of…

    but seriously, any business process so childish as to name a person who is good at it a black-belt needs to be mocked. chris collins said he wanted a six-sigma black belt to be his county executive…how do you not laugh at that?!?

  53. dtwarren November 8, 2007 at 9:23 pm #

    Six Sigma has been in this area for years. Being a former employee of a GE Capital company I have had Six Sigma training (green belt going back to 2001). In this area we have/had a number of GE subsidiaries, holdings, etc. that utilize Six Sigma Combine that with a number of other conglomerates that have implemented Six Sigma and their respective holdings I am surprised that anyone in business has not heard about it.

    While I agree that it will take a considerable amount of resources to fully implement I believe it would be to our benefit to do so. Although to obtain its maximum benefits it should be completely implemented, I do not subscribe to the opinion of some that it must be implemented completely or not at all. Even if it is not fully implemented the County could benefit from from the application of some of its process improvement methodologies (SIPOC Charts, DMAIC review of processes, etc.).

  54. Derek J. Punaro November 9, 2007 at 11:06 am #

    It’s humorous how people will criticize Six Sigma, but many of them will applaud a system like CitiStat. Software doesn’t fix problems, it allows you to collect data. Six Sigma is a process you can use to analyze that data and implement changes.

    Everyone wants to hear plans for how a politician is going to fix the problems in government. Collins said he’ll use Six Sigma, which is a hell of a lot more concrete a plan than I’ve heard from anyone else.

  55. BobbyCat November 9, 2007 at 11:06 am #

    Look Warren, you’re being much too rational and making waay too much sense for this blog. If you’re looking for the common sense blog, its across the way. This blog is for screamers and loonies.

  56. starbuck November 9, 2007 at 7:29 pm #

    Yeah Warren’s comment seemed out of place somehow. Couldn’t quite figure out why, but Bobby nailed it. It’s rational, informative, and constructive the whole way through. It might’ve blended in if he’d just added a few words to attack somebody.

    Derek, one thing to keep in mind is he didn’t totally rule out the possibility of finding a BB to take the DCE job. I agree with your earlier point that there might be a BB somewhere who will want it. The resumes will start flowing in to him, so we’ll see pretty soon.

    As others pointed out, he never in the debate promised he’d find a BB. Just said he’d try, and in same breath mentioned other possible qualifications for the position – “TQM background”, etc. and clearly was describing a concept rather than guaranteeing one specific qualification as Bauerle wrongly claimed.

  57. Greg November 10, 2007 at 12:34 pm #

    Like most of these corporate buzz words I’m reminded of Dilbert
    So I wasn’t surprised to find a Dilbert cartoon specific about Six Sigma

  58. Greg November 10, 2007 at 12:59 pm #

    Serious question, how does one get the different belts in six sigma? Memorize some test questions like a lot of the computer industry certifications? Have a proven track record of cost savings?

    With martial arts that use the belt systems you have to show you can actually do the various forms, kicks, punches, etc. So is the belt system in six sigma also performance based, or can anyone study and pass a written test?

  59. Joe November 10, 2007 at 6:26 pm #

    The minute someone says something critical of Collins, some of you jump on them and practically accuse them of being unpatriotic. People have plenty of reason to be suspicious of Collins. He is a totally unknown person. Based on what is out there, it is fair to conclude that he is a greedy businessman who pays his employees low wages, and keeps millions for himself. There is internet data showing that Collins’ businesses have poor credit ratings because he has liens on equipment, as well as present and future accounts receivables. If he runs the County like that, we are going to have a big mess because he obviously likes to borrow. There is also internet information leading to the conclusion that Collins’ “success” in business corresponds with gov’t contracts that in turn correspond with political contributions. Think Chris Alf. There is also talk that Collins’ transition team will include Jimmy Griffin and Nancy Naples. That is scarry. As for Six Sigma, that really does sound like a fad, and Collins has never really explained it at all. In fact, he has never really explained anything about what his term of office will look like. In essence, he has told us the following: he is a uniter, not a divider; he is a successful businessman; his opponent was a career politician, who ought to be ashamed of himself; and that he’ll “run it like a business.” We know nothing, but he was elected. Based on what we know, it seems really bleak. I really hope he proves me wrong!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. WNYMedia.net :: Buffalo Geek - November 8, 2007

    […] for Collins. Probably not much time for him to settle in and get comfortable. After all, he has certain bloggers already calling him out for breaking campaign promises less than 12 hours after the […]

  2. WNYMedia.net :: Buffalo Pundit - November 8, 2007

    […] came down hard on me for having the unmitigated gall to criticize Collins on the day after his election, and […]

  3. WNYMedia.net :: Buffalo Pundit - November 11, 2007

    […] Left in comments: […]

  4. Chris Collins and the Dictatorship of Petty Bureaucracy | Artvoice Daily - October 17, 2012

    […] or engagement on urban issues. He did win, and within the first 12 hours he pledged to hire a “Six Sigma black belt” at tremendous public expense to implement what average people call “common sense”. He eventually hired six-figure […]

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