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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tracking City Employees Is Money Well Spent?

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2009 at 7:46 AM

click to enlarge time is money - VIA FLICKR BY WSTERA2
  • via flickr by wstera2
  • time is money
We understand that parents want to know where their kids are at all times, and that the state should keep track of the whereabouts of sex offenders. But in this era of government waste, it doesn't seem necessary for San Francisco to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep tabs on its own workers, via GPS.

For the last few years, the Department of Public Works has spent roughly $200,000 annually monitoring their employees while they are out and about on the job. Apparently, the idea was so well received, that other departments, including Parks and Recreation earlier this year announced its plans to spend more than $350 grand on GPS devices for workers in its department.

City officials swear the it's not to micromanage workers. It's really a way to streamline communications, follow up on residential complaints, and more importantly, ensure that streets are being swept and parks are being maintained.

In other words, it's a way to make sure workers aren't running personal errands on the taxpayers dime.

"It's to keep track of the vehicles, we need to know where they are at all times," Christine Falvey, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works.

Fair enough. But at a time when the city is facing another round of cuts (roughly 30 percent) and workers are sensitive to potential paycuts and layoffs, it feels like this might be another example of frivolous spending.

We were surprised that Supervisor Bevan Dufty didn't seem to know that some city departments are spending money to monitor employees.

It might seem a little like Nanny government, but on the other hand, Dufty says GPS devices will keep employees "mindful" of how they spend their work time.

Good point. Maybe taxpayers should rely on GPS to keep tabs on their elected representatives.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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