Last week on Mt Vernon Hwy, near Johnson Ferry Rd, I saw a city worker digging a hole in the street. The hole was maybe 4' square, in the middle of the right lane. He was standing in the hole digging it out further, and the lane was blocked behind him with a truck and cones. Also standing around him were *NINE* other people, including two police officers. Of the seven other workers, none had any tools in their hands, or equipment or toolboxes sitting any closer to them than on the truck. The police officers were conversing in their midst, not directing or involved in any way with the redirected traffic. I passed the scene again ~20 minutes later and saw nothing changed except for one less worker standing around and a different guy in the hole (the hole was probably also larger in ways that I could not see).
Let's be generously conservative and say those guys were making $15/hr, and that they were only there for three hours, plus an hour for 30 minutes of travel on each end. The city (maybe Atlanta, maybe Sandy Springs, I am not sure) spent, at a minimum, $600 in labor. Of course, you should double that, since a common HR rule of thumb is that the TCO of an employee is double their pay (benefits, overhead, etc), so that's another $600. Let's also be generous and say that the job actually required two people at some point, and that one police officer is a sensible safety precaution during street work. In this ridiculously generous best case scenario (we didn't count the cost of extra fuel for extra vehicles, or any other incidental costs), the city spent $1200 on a job that should have cost $360.
I saw a similar situation at Peachtree and West Peachtree in Midtown on Sunday. Four people standing around, plus one reading a newspaper in the [first of three] truck, while one guy did actual work.
It really bothers me to hear city councilmen talking of cutting funding for highway street lights, or closing public educational projects, when every week I see thousands of dollars being thrown away on inefficient (union?) city workers. Who is responsible for this ridiculous waste of taxpayer money? Am I the only one who would like to take that person for a long walk off a short pier?
PS: I am sorry if these workers are not union members. In my experience, unions produce lazy workers with an overinflated sense of entitlement and no work ethic.