An Introduction: Light Bulb Changing
My story? If that’s what you want to hear, then I’ll let you have it. My story — that being my experiences in City Hall — is what will shape the content and tone of the posts that follow.
How many City Hall employees does it take to change a light bulb?
A few to draft a proposed scope of work, others to select the consultant that can change the light bulb the best, more to set and conduct a public meeting about the proposed light bulb changing, politicians to approve the appropriation of funds for the changing of the light bulbs, the consultants to do the actual work, and a dozen more public servants to watch and report on the consultants’ progress.
City Hall has too many public servants and too few public savants. For every competent worker, there is a division full of workers counting the days until they can retire with the help of their obese pension. And that’s how City Hall recruits employees in the first place; by offering a ludicrous retirement plan on top of absurdly secure employment.
Once hired, a then-possibly competent employee is molded into a slow-moving being that resists any change to his or her work flow or understanding of the world. Fifty years in the same job and environment will do that to anyone, especially when coworkers change less than the building’s coats of paint.
As the saying goes: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again using the same method since innovation would take too long.
A litany of forces influence City Hall favoring to fail conventionally rather than fail unconventionally in a gamble for success.
- Local media, attempting to resemble a “watch dog” by barking up every tree, attack anything that resembles stupidity.
- Residents have the power to vote councilors and mayors out of office, as well as the power to distrust anyone that speaks to them.
It’s a rational move for a councilor or mayor to avoid criticism to remain elected, but irrational if the elected official’s goal was to improve his or her community.
That reluctance to do anything risky trickles down to every public servant in City Hall, who have the same rationale of remaining employed. Even if they did succeed unconventionally, an elected official would take credit for the success despite likely holding up the idea along the way.
It’s why projects that should take a month take a year, and it’s why projects that should happen never do. Even light bulb changing.