Sunday, June 08, 2008

Travel with free money!

From the Stamford Advocate's Brian Lockhart:

High fuel prices and airline fares have many residents curtailing their summer vacations, but some part-time state lawmakers are still making plans for taxpayer-funded travels. According to the state Office of Legislative Management, nearly two-dozen legislators and their staffs have signed up to attend professional development conferences in New Orleans; Napa, Calif.; and other out-of-state locations.

Annoyed? I am. But what annoys me more was when I voiced my concerns about the town budget... (the same town budget that includes professional development conferences in Seattle, Virginia and Lake George...) and all I heard were crickets.* So...

Question: Who does the Democratic Council majority represent?


Tim White

* That's their usual ploy when they know they're simply rubber stamping their "boss'" initiatives... they sit silently and allow staff to speak over others who challenge staff's "needs."


Anonymous said...

These trips, while not entirely 24 hours a day business, are commonplace in the private sector. These confrences allow for exchange of ideas and allow for growth of an employee. Why should public sector employees be denied the same "education" as thier private sector counterparts beacuse they chose to serve the public at large. Public sector salaries are far lower than what most of these employees would command in private companies, allowing them the same "benefit" is not unreasonable. These items are a cost of doing business, what is your alternative to enhance the experience and knowledge base of the town employees to keep our staff competitive.

Tim White said...

These trips... are commonplace in the private sector.

Could you provide a source for this statement? For most people I know in business... this stuff has been scaled back dramatically this year.

I'd suggest online training, oftentimes called "webinars." Or simply limit the training to CT.

Furthermore, having asked staff about these conferences... and not having received any explanation (other than "training is important"... an argument with which I agree 100%)... I still can't figure out why a CT municipal property tax collector would need to go to Lake George for training. I mean... what has changed in the field of tax collection that warrants this trip?

Anonymous said...

YOU ACKNOWLDGE THAT THESE TRIPS ARE COMMON, BY INDICATING THAT "this stuff has been scaled back dramatically this year". TCan you provide a source indicating that it has been scaled back? Where exactly do we find these sources?
It is a necessary evil to doing business. Perhaps the council should determine what the training is (subject matter, speakers, impact, any related certifications,etc) and help in locating more local classes covering the same topics. Or we can trust that people we hired to do a job are competent to determine what thier individual department needs are and address same.

tim white said...

During the budget vote, I said that this budget was wrong at this time.

Things are different now as compared to just a year ago.

Everyone needs to seriously cut back, including government.

As for my sources, it's all anecdotal... but also uniform. Everyone, except apparently the Town of Cheshire, is cutting back... even the state is cutting back. Just read the article about administrative cutbacks (as compared to legislative cutbacks).

Anonymous said...

"Public sector salaries are far lower than what most of these employees would command in private companies, allowing them the same "benefit" is not unreasonable."
I highly doubt that when you consider the amount of accumulated sick days, holidays and vacation days that the public sector workers are getting. Large companies may be able to afford this, but the average mid-size to smaller companies can't. Then you look at the cost of healthcare.
I bet the majority of the public sector workers have a better health plan for less money then the mid-size to small business worker.
So don't start comparing benefits of the public sector with the private sector. There is none!
In reality, the mid-size and smaller businesses will cut benefits during slow times, that would never happen in the public sector.