Jump to content

      













Photo

Public Sector Salaries


  • Please log in to reply
69 replies to this topic

#21 problembears

problembears
  • Member
  • 3 posts

Posted 08 December 2008 - 10:34 PM

Interesting discussion but I don't think it's going to go anywhere. Jack Welch, former CEO of GE sums this topic up very well in his book:

----------------
It's not that I don't appreciate government...government provides other services that are vital to a thriving society - schools, hospitals, and police to name just three.

But government, for all the good it does, is filled with all the problems that business has, but nobody seems to have the latitude to fix them.

Basically, government is riddled with bureacracy, waste, and inefficiency. In a company, you can clean those up, and you have to. In government, they're forever.

Why? For one, because it's difficult to move people up or out based on merit. Most government agencies have no differentiation to speak of. You can work for forty years, never excel or make a dent in results, and still get an annual raise. For another, you just cannot speak or act candidly in government without getting nailed. It is a world filled with compromise, patronage, and quid pro quo.

----------------

I think all of the above is true, but it's not the fault of anyone who works there. It's absolutely false to say that there are no smart or talented people in public service. But they work within the system that they have, and I don't think anyone will ever be able to change it.

#22 Caramia

Caramia
  • Member
  • 3,835 posts

Posted 08 December 2008 - 11:02 PM

I don't know about that, the provincial government in specific seems to have no problem whatsoever firing or laying off large numbers of people at a whim.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#23 yodsaker

yodsaker
  • Member
  • 1,280 posts

Posted 09 December 2008 - 05:30 AM

A good friend worked 20 years at Imperial Oil in upper-middle management.
She said the bureaucracy, empire-building and CYA mentality was as bad as in any government.

#24 davek

davek
  • Member
  • 670 posts

Posted 09 December 2008 - 07:15 AM

Ever ask a public servant to put in writing what they just told you in person? They will never do it. That's how lame I find them.


Please direct your building inspection questions to me at dkillion@colwood.ca. It is my pleasure to reply in writing.

I might still be lame, though...

#25 spanky123

spanky123
  • Member
  • 10,321 posts

Posted 09 December 2008 - 07:36 AM

I don't know about that, the provincial government in specific seems to have no problem whatsoever firing or laying off large numbers of people at a whim.


Sure but is the decision based on merit?

#26 Guest_Marcat_*

Guest_Marcat_*
  • Guests

Posted 09 December 2008 - 09:02 AM

Sure but is the decision based on merit?


If the decision was always based on merit half the upper management in the government should have been fired a long long time ago

#27 mat

mat
  • Member
  • 2,070 posts

Posted 09 December 2008 - 08:07 PM

If the decision was always based on merit half the upper management in the government should have been fired a long long time ago


Yep - especially if one is talking about Federal and Provincial finance ministry forecasters. For any Government employee dismissal action the decision to let go stands on seniority - the longer an employee has worked, the larger the settlement. One of the reasons all levels of government have relied on contractors where possible. An outside contract can be dismissed, or renegotiated, without huge payouts.

Somewhere there is a study done in the early '90's showing the actual economics of the massive staff and spending cutbacks in the 80's recession - there weren't any, in fact costs went way up. Highly qualified, internally employed, staff simply went contract, at up to 4 times the cost, and refused to go back after their negative experience.

#28 LJ

LJ
  • Member
  • 8,570 posts

Posted 09 December 2008 - 09:31 PM

Wow I am actually insulted and saddened by everyone on here. I don't usually feel that way about stuff on here.


Don't be.

Most of the people stating their opinions are just reporting anecdotal evidence, sometimes 2nd or 3rd hand, or espousing common myths about anyone who is employed by any level of government.

You know - the four municipal ditch diggers standing around watching the one other guy do all the work.

Yet in a time of crisis, emergency or personal need who is the first person anyone turns to for help. That's right - some level of government that they perceive should help them out.

In a private company you don't have to worry about some elector getting his nose out of joint if you don't say or do what he wants, then go crying to the media (or the opposition) when he doesn't get what he wants.

There are many fine people working in all levels of government, some who are considered tops in their field. There is also some deadwood, but this is not just limited to the government every private industry has its slackers and goldbrickers as well.

It is a lot harder to shine when whatever department you happen to work in changes direction suddenly and without warning based on some political event or election. You may have poured everything into a project that is brilliantly done only to have it tossed out or put on a shelf because of some political whim. And when you do a piece of brilliant work that is accepted - it is not you who gets the acknowledgement or accolades it is the politician.

So hold your head up high and be proud of the work you do, whatever it is, I am sure you do a fine job.
Life's a journey......so roll down the window and enjoy the breeze.

#29 Newlywednotnearlydead

Newlywednotnearlydead
  • Member
  • 187 posts

Posted 09 December 2008 - 09:45 PM

Ever ask a public servant to put in writing what they just told you in person? They will never do it. That's how lame I find them.


What public servants are you overgeneralizing about there?

#30 yodsaker

yodsaker
  • Member
  • 1,280 posts

Posted 09 December 2008 - 09:49 PM

Don't be.

Most of the people stating their opinions are just reporting anecdotal evidence, sometimes 2nd or 3rd hand, or espousing common myths about anyone who is employed by any level of government.

You know - the four municipal ditch diggers standing around watching the one other guy do all the work.

Yet in a time of crisis, emergency or personal need who is the first person anyone turns to for help. That's right - some level of government that they perceive should help them out.

In a private company you don't have to worry about some elector getting his nose out of joint if you don't say or do what he wants, then go crying to the media (or the opposition) when he doesn't get what he wants.

There are many fine people working in all levels of government, some who are considered tops in their field. There is also some deadwood, but this is not just limited to the government every private industry has its slackers and goldbrickers as well.

It is a lot harder to shine when whatever department you happen to work in changes direction suddenly and without warning based on some political event or election. You may have poured everything into a project that is brilliantly done only to have it tossed out or put on a shelf because of some political whim. And when you do a piece of brilliant work that is accepted - it is not you who gets the acknowledgement or accolades it is the politician.

So hold your head up high and be proud of the work you do, whatever it is, I am sure you do a fine job.


This is so true. Work your butt off for weeks, months on a project with meaning only to find out its been shelved. It certainly saps morale after a while and many eventually decide to do what is necessary but not more.

#31 mat

mat
  • Member
  • 2,070 posts

Posted 09 December 2008 - 10:05 PM

In response to G-Man, and LJ's fine post.

Public opinion of Government workers is set by both Union representation, and the spin of elected politicians. In reality there is no comparison to the private sector, especially for managerial positions, as the incentive margin is unavailable (Crown Corps excepted). Real performance targets, profit results, are readily quantified in private companies, and can be shared out to top performers in bonuses - but how can that be quantified through tax payer sourced salaries for fire fighters, geographers, social workers, teachers etc. - it is simply non - sensical. Yet we still get politicians, through pushy media, asking for these kind of 'ladder' performance schemes.

In my previous post I 'dissed' all finance ministry officials - that was wrong. Civil servants (senior) are not allowed to divulge info, or even express opinions, to the media. It is up to the 'elect' to decide on the course of action based on the information provided. The problem is we, as tax payers, do not know the info they were given by public servants, and how they are dealing with those who disagree with their philosophical position.

There is a real need for accountability in the public sector, especially in policing (federal and local - but that is my personal bug bear).

#32 Zimquats

Zimquats
  • Member
  • 299 posts

Posted 10 December 2008 - 03:57 PM

I think it has far, far less to do with a government bueracracy and more to do with the Union. Sure, projects can get shelved due to a change in the politcal winds, and I understand that can be demoralizing, but the same thing happens in the private sector. Look at all the hard work has gone into the design of a lot of the projects shelved due to econimics for example.

The real problem lies with the union. It's well understood that if you excell at what you do you still won't move past the person who does not give a damn but got hired 2 years before you. And who get's fired? Sure the government may cut departments occasionally (and yes, it is occasionally) but no one really gets fired for being a slacker or screwing up. And if by some chance this happens, it few and far between. Like mat said, it's all about accountability, and currently the union protects the public sector from having to be accountable.

And G-man, please don't take my comments as directed at you personally. I'm certainly not suggesting that you are stupid or inept. Even given my bias towards the 'general' public sector employee, I'm not so naive as to not believe there can be a few stand-outs who simply wanted to work public sector. You could very well be one of them. I'm just saying it's not the norm.

#33 LJ

LJ
  • Member
  • 8,570 posts

Posted 10 December 2008 - 09:02 PM

It's well understood that if you excell at what you do you still won't move past the person who does not give a damn but got hired 2 years before you.


I would vigorously disagree with you on that, I believe that to be another common myth.

Maybe at the very bottom of the pile this has some validity in a union environment, or if you are refering to pay increments. Other than that, most promotions are merit or competition based.

Correct me if I am wrong G-Man.
Life's a journey......so roll down the window and enjoy the breeze.

#34 Guest_Marcat_*

Guest_Marcat_*
  • Guests

Posted 11 December 2008 - 09:38 AM

I would vigorously disagree with you on that, I believe that to be another common myth.

Maybe at the very bottom of the pile this has some validity in a union environment, or if you are refering to pay increments. Other than that, most promotions are merit or competition based.

Correct me if I am wrong G-Man.


um, and I would vigorously disagree with you on that, and vigorously agree with Zimquats...

When I worked non-union, I climbed, I ran, I blew past a lot of guys that were hired long before I was, I climbed a rate of $10 an hour over the course of a year (while the other guys if they were lucky got a buck or two...), simply because I was a hard worker, was always at work, and if I ****ed up, I accepted responsibilities for my actions and decisions and took the punishment or flak for it. I then made the mistake of moving to a union company, simple because that was the only real choice at the time, in my union time, getting a pay raise was like pulling teeth, my job security was shot out the window because I was the low man on the totem pole in terms of seniority, whether I could do the job better, was more reliable, or tried that much harder didn't really matter...The union rewards slackers, lazy individuals, and those who simply like to coast along while holding back the hard workers, the ones that want to get the job done and are willing to do what it takes. (This isn't always the case, there are the few, but it is the norm...sorry, face facts folks it is...)

You're argument that it sucks in a union at the bottom versus the top is complete hogwash, I've seen more incompentance in a union in the upper echelons, than I've ever seen in a non-union company, with no accountablility for the people at the top or bottom...unions have become to big and two powerful and have lost their original intent.

#35 G-Man

G-Man

    Senior Case Officer

  • Moderator
  • 12,408 posts

Posted 11 December 2008 - 11:41 AM

Wage increases have nothing to do with you versus others at the same level and are only based on how long long you have been in the position.

If there is a competition for a higher position and one applicant has been there 5 years and is qualified for the new position and the second applicant has been there for 10 years but is not qualified the job will go to the person there only 5 years. Gaining a position in govt. has little to do at all with seniority and everything to do with your merit for the job.

No one in government moves past a job unless they apply for a new one.

#36 househuntvictoria

househuntvictoria
  • Member
  • 339 posts

Posted 11 December 2008 - 11:52 AM

I think a lot of people are missing out on the all important fact that most managers and pretty much everyone on the list of $75K plus published in the Sun, are, in fact, non-unionized employees of the various governments they work for.

I won't disagree the union-stifling sentiments posted here, but management and senior leadership positions in these levels of government are merit-based appointments and highly competitive positions. Sure, some of the leaders are order-in-council appointments without job competitions prior, but think you Gordo is picking from the upper echelons of the union establishment when he makes those?

#37 spanky123

spanky123
  • Member
  • 10,321 posts

Posted 11 December 2008 - 12:36 PM

I think a lot of people are missing out on the all important fact that most managers and pretty much everyone on the list of $75K plus published in the Sun, are, in fact, non-unionized employees of the various governments they work for.

I won't disagree the union-stifling sentiments posted here, but management and senior leadership positions in these levels of government are merit-based appointments and highly competitive positions. Sure, some of the leaders are order-in-council appointments without job competitions prior, but think you Gordo is picking from the upper echelons of the union establishment when he makes those?


Gordo is picking from the upper echelons of the Liberal establishment when he fills the OIC positions and those people then pick from the upper echelons of their "friends and family" establishment.

The perception, right or wrong, is that you have to know someone to get hired into a consulting or management position in Government and the Auditor General has largely confirmed that belief with his ongoing evaluations of hiring within the Provincial Government.

#38 LJ

LJ
  • Member
  • 8,570 posts

Posted 11 December 2008 - 09:16 PM

um, and I would vigorously disagree with you on that, and vigorously agree with Zimquats...

When I worked non-union, I climbed, I ran, I blew past a lot of guys that were hired long before I was, I climbed a rate of $10 an hour over the course of a year (while the other guys if they were lucky got a buck or two...), simply because I was a hard worker, was always at work, and if I ****ed up, I accepted responsibilities for my actions and decisions and took the punishment or flak for it. I then made the mistake of moving to a union company, simple because that was the only real choice at the time, in my union time, getting a pay raise was like pulling teeth, my job security was shot out the window because I was the low man on the totem pole in terms of seniority, whether I could do the job better, was more reliable, or tried that much harder didn't really matter...The union rewards slackers, lazy individuals, and those who simply like to coast along while holding back the hard workers, the ones that want to get the job done and are willing to do what it takes. (This isn't always the case, there are the few, but it is the norm...sorry, face facts folks it is...)

You're argument that it sucks in a union at the bottom versus the top is complete hogwash, I've seen more incompentance in a union in the upper echelons, than I've ever seen in a non-union company, with no accountablility for the people at the top or bottom...unions have become to big and two powerful and have lost their original intent.



I think maybe we are saying similar things but understanding it differently.

No you won't make more money for doing your job better than another person who is doing the same job. However - if you want to get ahead in the company you can apply on competitions for promotions that will entail you getting higher pay. You win these promotions based on merit and skill - not seniority.
The managers know who the deadwood is and those people don't get promotions. They stay in the same job for years and years become bitter and twisted and try to do as little as possible, or run for union office which amounts to the same thing. Then spend all their time complaining about the company that is paying their salary.
Life's a journey......so roll down the window and enjoy the breeze.

#39 Maverick

Maverick
  • Member
  • 129 posts

Posted 12 December 2008 - 10:06 AM

Wage increases have nothing to do with you versus others at the same level and are only based on how long long you have been in the position.

If there is a competition for a higher position and one applicant has been there 5 years and is qualified for the new position and the second applicant has been there for 10 years but is not qualified the job will go to the person there only 5 years. Gaining a position in govt. has little to do at all with seniority and everything to do with your merit for the job.

No one in government moves past a job unless they apply for a new one.

I agree with you on this G Man.
I have heard about the interviews one must go through if you are applying for a new job in the government.
What is the star system about and how do the competence interviews work?

#40 G-Man

G-Man

    Senior Case Officer

  • Moderator
  • 12,408 posts

Posted 12 December 2008 - 10:16 AM

I have no idea about what the star system is but the government does use a competency based framework for interviews. What happens is questions are developed around the competencies required for the job (listed at the bottom of each job description posted on the government job site). For example teamwork if the job requires high team interaction. Whatever the question there are certain levels for the answer you provide which must be based on past experience in a job. The questions are designed so that you can answer them no matter what your previous job experience is(cook or CEO) You then get scored by the panel on each question.

My suggestion is always give two previous job examples and always ensure that the question was stated clearly if it wasn't, ask for it to be said in a different way.

You're not quite at the end of this discussion topic!

Use the page links at the lower-left to go to the next page to read additional posts.
 



0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


To advertise on VibrantVictoria, call us at 250-884-0589.