Byzantine Work Rules & the BMHA

18 Dec

Last week, I linked to a post that Buffalo Geek did about the 72-step process to rent a shelter at a county park and how the parks department is using Six Sigma to streamline that and make it cheaper, more efficient, and customer-friendly. When you see 72 post-it notes representing a step in the process, you realize that it is graphical evidence of the heart and soul of governmental waste and failure.

Buffalo Ideas’ Paul Wolf is a lawyer for the BMHA, and he has a similar post up today:

Everyday I try to make a difference at BMHA, but years of political influence and bureaucracy have made it truly a tough place to work. One time I wrote a memo directing the Finance Department to pay an outstanding bill that was brought to my attention. I was told the memo needed to be on green paper in order for the department to act. What? After asking why and being told that’s how we do things around here, I went to the copy machine and copied the memo onto green paper. The flow chart of how payroll is done is an amazing sight, the steps involved for a contractor to get paid is unbelieveable. I and several other employees with the support of Executive Director Dawn Sanders, are working on obtaining our Yellow Belts in Six Sigma as a tool for addressing bureaucracy issues.

Not for nothing, I’m all for Six Sigma and whatever it takes to make government run more efficiently, but isn’t that something that could have been done just by the use of common sense any time in the last 20 years? Just sayin’.

In any event, the BMHA has two vacancies on its board of directors, and Wolf is openly soliciting applicants with some specific experience and a desire to make positive change to apply via Mayor Brown’s office. The best way to implement change in stubborn, inefficient quasi-governmental entities is to join them and lurch them into the 21st Century.

One Response to “Byzantine Work Rules & the BMHA”

  1. hank December 18, 2008 at 2:26 pm #

    Alan, I agree with your sentiment, the last sentence especially.
    But, just like in political office, these days the thing that they should be looking for in an employee isn’t necessarily experience.

    We’ve got 535 experienced politicians in Congress—how’s that working out for us?

    What they should be looking for is COMMON SENSE. To see a steaming pile of horseshit, call it exactly what it is, and refuse to do anything but deal with it properly. If that means tossing the book away, then so be it.

    College education? I know too many people who have a degree, and are as dumb as a box of rocks. In the world of auto parts, they’re known as “College Trained Idiots”.

    Proof of being able to think and act logically, and to do as Marines are trained todo—Adapt, Improvise and Overcome should be the criteria for finding people who can crawl onto a shitpile and make sense of it.

    If that means stepping on the toes of local politicos, then so be it as well. They’re the reason the system is a total disaster anyway.

    I’d apply for the job myself, but 2 things hold me back.
    One can probably count the number of registered republicans working for the city of Buffalo on one hand, and have 3 fingers left waving. My mother had to switch parties to get her job at the water dep’t, and she had a sister who was secretary to the Corporation Counsel and another sister as a secretary in the Mayor’s office at the time.

    And I refuse to come home to take a job on the government tit. The city, county and state governements are the biggest employers in WNY, and that’s why things are in the state they’re in right now. I won’t contribute to it.

    Whoever they put in those jobs should have a contract that pays by merit…how much you get done, how much money you save, how many steps you eliminate to streamline processes for the taxpayer, how many political patronage jobs you eliminate.

    The ideal candidate, that would fill all those niches and do that job, would probably end up in Delaware Park looking like Vince Foster did in Fort Marcy Park. That’s the problem–nobody holding these jobs or having responibility for these departments and processes wants anything to change. And the Failboat will sail again tomorrow.

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