Monday, December 15, 2008

Work Stoppage

Sometimes people take their jobs very seriously. Often, others around them feel uncomfortable because they feel that these "go-getters" and "workaholics" are making them look bad. I think this is the case involving the Mayor of South El Monte, California, Mayor Blanca Figueroa, who has been legislated against for being a little too serious about her work (See Full Story). Apparently, she had been spending hours upon hours in catch-up-time because she spends all her time, during the day, in meetings. Now, the City Council has, with a 4 to 1 vote, decided that she can't work past 11 P.M. in City Hall. Actually, they legislated that no City Hall personnel can work past the curfew of 11 P.M. By doing this, the Council tried to make it seem like they weren't singling out Ms. Figueroa. In justifying that curfew legislation, they used the lame excuses of security, safety, and liability.

I can feel for her. As a former senior manager of a Fortune 500 company, I know why Ms. Figueroa is being forced to work those long hours. Because of my meetings, I would have to work 2-3 hours (or more) before and after office hours to stay caught up with mail, letters, reports, etc. In other words, I had to spend my off hours in doing much of my normal daytime job. And, when times are tough, the work hours can only get longer.

This story has made national news because most people find it silly that any City Council would actually do this. Unlike the Mayor's overworked situation, the City Council has enough time on their hands to discuss and vote on the Mayor's work habits. Instead of figuring out why Ms. Figueroa is working longer, the Council has arbitrary forced her to work less hours. That will really help the situation. Given her apparent dedication to her job, the Mayor will probably have a mental breakdown as she gets farther and farther behind in her work. She probably needs the addition of an assistant to handle some of her workload. However, in these tough times, I am sure there's no funding to hire another person. In fact, that same City Council is probably mulling over city job cuts in this bad economy.

Ms. Figueroa has been in her job for 11 years. Only in the last 8 months or so has she been forced to work her crazy hours. My guess is that it is the City Council that is the root cause of all her extra work. They probably kept piling on the work by passing resolution after resolution that needed the Mayor's involvement. That's where most Mayor's in this country get their additional workload. The City Council needs to look in the mirror before passing what appears to be a silly curfew law. Just my opinion.

No comments: