Oh, Great. Now He Can Doze Under Cover of Darkness.

Remember that DOT staffer busted by WPRI for sleeping, eating and reading for half the work day? Well, he’s back on the job – but during a different shift.

The Department of Transportation worker caught in a Target 12 Investigation spending hours on the clock sleeping, eating and reading novels over several weeks, is back on the job in the same position but now working overnights. …
Most recently, Coulombe was assigned to inspecting construction materials used in the Barrington River Bridge project, which was the poster child for overdue, over budget state projects. Lewis said he is now assigned in the same capacity but at the Pawtucket River Bridge project.

How is it that we have zero tolerance at schools for various silly infractions by the students yet we readily bestow forgiveness towards serious work transgressions in the public labor sector?

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Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

” is back on the job in the same position but now working overnights. … ”
Back in the 80’s, while living in Boston, I got to know a laborer for the MBTA. In the course of a conversation, it came up that he had made almost $80,000 the year before. I asked how that was possible, he replied that “first you have to get on the night shift, then it is the overtime”, I asked why there was so much overtime. He explained that it was an unwritten rule that when you completed your shift, or most of it, it was permissible to sack out and pick up 5-6 hours overtime. He explained that another unwritten rule was that you had to find a hiding place where the media couldn’t spot you. Being in an exposed place could get you in trouble.
I am not suggesting them same is going on with the subject character, just pointing out that there is a certain malaise among government workers. You might notice that “connected” guys are frequently given jobs where no one is likely to be looking, and you don’t have to show up much. Transit authorities, public works, srtc.

Rich
Rich
10 years ago

As a public employee, I feel this guys should have been fired. His infraction wasnt a one-off occurence nor was it something that could be coached away, this was blatant theivery and dishonesty.

ANTHONY
ANTHONY
10 years ago

Wink,wink,nod,nod………the game is rigged my friends. In my industry..fall asleep…..screw off….get fired. The no accountability gang moves ’em around like pawns in a crooked game of chess paid for by….who else….the taxpayers.

bella
bella
10 years ago

Got to be a friend of Rubbers.

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
10 years ago

More reason to eliminate public-employee unions!

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Want to know why these people never get fired? Math. Yes, simple math. Government employee misconduct cases go to arbitration. Here is how arbitrators are selected: Each side is presented with a list of candidate arbitrators, let’s say 5. Previous cases and statistical data for each arbitrator are available to both sides. Based upon this data, each side either ranks their choices using a point system or strikes two arbitrators from the list. Through either method, arbitrators who rule in favor of one side more than the other are stricken and the arbitrator who comes down in the middle in every decision is always selected. This means that if an arbitrator rules in favor of one side in a single case without giving something significant to the other side, then they could potentially never get selected again. To the average progressive observer, this seems like social or worker “justice,” but it is actually the complete opposite of justice. Justice can only be achieved when the magistrate is truly neutral and is free to rule absolutely in favor of one side or the other if the situation warrants. Evidenced in true judicial proceedings, most cases do in fact warrant a one-sided outcome. Injustice is when the outcome is predetermined, as inevitably occurs in government arbitration cases. Now let’s look at the typical termination case. An employee is caught doing something outrageous but not exactly criminal (when it’s criminal, it’s often out of everyone’s hands). Arbitrator “case law” reinforces the concept of “progressive discipline,” so a single offense, or even a few repeated offenses will never be sufficient to terminate an employee. If the employee apologizes and promises not to do it again, they automatically get another chance. This results in the middle-of-the-road path required of abitrators to stay arbitrators, where the… Read more »

Warringotn Faust
Warringotn Faust
10 years ago

Rich writes:
“As a public employee, I feel this guys should have been fired. His infraction wasnt a one-off occurence nor was it something that could be coached away, this was blatant theivery and dishonesty.”
There was sufficient “everybodies doing it” for there to be “unwritten rules”. Since everyone involved was somewhat “connected” there was the infamous “code of silence”. That is why these peole gravitate to departments where everyone is in the same boat, they do not go to departments where there are “unconnected” people who might blow the whistle.
Dan writes:
“Want to know why these people never get fired? Math. Yes, simple math.”
I have known a number of government workers aho have told me that “it was so much trouble to fire anyone” that they were tolerated, or assigned to harmless positions.
I think of a time when I did a lot of business with the Mass. Estate Tax bureau. One day the receptionist postition was filled with a woman who was clearly deranged. When I got out back, I asked one of the lawyers how she ended up out front. His reply “She was making us crazy back here, so what could we do but put here out front to get rid of her”.

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
10 years ago

I rest my case.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

“I have known a number of government workers aho have told me that “it was so much trouble to fire anyone” that they were tolerated, or assigned to harmless positions.”
My quick run-down of the “arbitration scheme” ignores the time and cost involved in conducting a full and impartial initial investigation, discovery, holding a “Weingarten hearing” with union representation present, and all of the legal and personnel costs involved in the above. Some positions, such as teaching positions, have other mandatory panels, hearings, and reviews built in to the process that can take years. Even if somehow the arbitrator ruled against the employee, this is all before the inevitable court appeal of the arbitrator’s decision and bogus racial/nationality/age/gender/sexual orientation/military status/disability discrimination claim that will cost the state $100,000 to defend in the best case scenario, not to mention the negative press publicity it will generate. Which is why even frivolous discrimination cases are usually settled out of court just to get rid of the employee once and for all.
So, yes, it is often much easier to simply reassign the employee. I can’t envision a government manager who would rather be dealing with all of the above nastiness than just clocking out of their $100k desk job at 3:30PM every day.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Dan writes:
“Which is why even frivolous discrimination cases are usually settled out of court just to get rid of the employee once and for all.”
Dan writes:
“Which is why even frivolous discrimination cases are usually settled out of court just to get rid of the employee once and for all.”
What now seems a million years ago, I represented a black guy in a discrimination claim. He was a moderate sized landlord,the claimant was a tenant. He had attempted to evict her and had judgment for the same. Undaunted, she filed a claim with the Mass Comm. against Discrimination. Since they were both black, she claimed discrimination because she was a woman. Her claim was that he was breaking beer bottles in the hallways and then shutting off the lights. In the middle of her ridiculous testimony before the board, she burst into gospel singing.
The board called a break in the hearing. They took us aside and suggested that because of the “unusual circumstances” they would be prepared to dismiss the claim if we paid $5,000 in compensation (they could report this as favorably resolved). Now, was that a “frivolous discrimination case”, or what? We told them to whistle, and eventually prevailed. The cost to the landlord was not slight.
I think that most people have infrequent contact with government. Either they dismiss rudeness, and irregularity, as a perhaps unique incident. “Government is good”. People in more frequent contact begin to “notice things”. Those inside government, even though they say others should be fired, are habitudes of the system. They generally have little experience elsewhere, and are forgiving of the system that inculcated them. They understand placing obstreperous employees out to greet the public, “What else can we do”?

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