Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fix Wisconsin (and maybe the US too) part 1

So much strife and dissent has occurred in the last three months.  It is exhausting to try to keep up with all the things that are going on.  Frankly I’m tired of the spoiled little boys and girls who are making the decisions in our government.  It is all about one party or the other and not what it should really be about. 

What should it really be about you might ask?  Here is my take on that. 

Our elected officials are not sent to Madison (or Washington) to get rich or to push their agenda (or the agenda of one entity – party, company, industry, person).  They are sent there to represent the people in their district. 

I know many districts are diverse with a number of opinions and beliefs.  Here’s the thing – the only way to find out what your constituents want is to LISTEN to them.  It is to have an open door police to take their phone calls, emails, and in person appointments to determine what they actually want you to do. 

If they aren’t doing this then they are not in touch with what the people in their district want, think, feel, or believe.  Even if they won an election that doesn’t mean the constituents agree with the legislator’s beliefs.  Therefore you have to do the above to stay in touch with in order to vote according to how the constituents want. 

Here is what I see we need to do (this is my opinion not anyone else’s and not based on some political agenda – no funds were taken from any special interests other than my own to form these opinions…)

·         Every employee needs to look for money saving ideas and present them in a professional way to offer options to the chiefs.  The people in the trenches see where there is waste.  They see where the programs work and where they don’t work.  These are the people who should be able to say – oh we can save money here…
·         Every employee needs to look to conserve everything from the energy bill (turn off those lights that aren’t needed) to the supplies they are using.  The savings may be small but pennies add up.
·         Every employee needs to be willing and flexible to the changes that will come down the chain of command.  Try something – if it doesn’t work fine but don’t just dismiss it because it is a change from what you are used to. 
·         Every employee needs to be doing their job to the fullest and best of their ability.  Get the work done – then go find more work.  If you are done with your work offer to help someone who isn’t done yet. 
·         Every department in the state (and the federal level too) needs to look at the ideas presented by the employees and determine whether they can be implemented.  If they can GREAT!!!  If they can’t – tell us why.  If an employee knows the why of it they can look at the situation differently and come up with a better solution.
·         Every department needs to look at their budget and determine where the fat is.  There is almost always excess.  Yes it is a difficult thing to say – if we don’t do this it will adversely affect our customers.  However, how many people will it affect?  Is it a small enough number that it could be dropped without too much difficulty?  Are there alternatives out there for the services and can we direct the customers to these services. 
·         Every department needs to look at the top level of administrators and determine how many there are and if there are too many.  These are the people who are paid the most and if we have to reduce the number of employees this would be the best place to start.  Now I’m not saying get rid of key people – that is just stupid.  I’m saying look for the “too many chiefs” syndrome and trim there.
·         Every unit in the department needs to look at the workflow to see how they can make it more efficient.  This will allow their people to do more with less.  We are doing it anyways we might as well make it easier.
·         The unions need to encourage their members to do all of these things.  They need to look for better ways to negotiate in order to complete the contracts quicker and with less strife.
·         The unions need to survey their members to see what is important to them – do they want a higher wage?  Do they want better benefits?  What is most and least important to the members?
·         Once these things have been done then the leaders need to meet – not just with department heads but with the employees of the state, the unions, the public – to discuss how much has been saved.  If we have made the budget balance – woo hoo – everyone do a happy dance.  If not – start the process over again.

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