So Mayor Dave wants the big bosses at Madison Metro Transit to “rein in” their overtime expenses and stop paying bus drivers over a hundred grand a year. Well, hallelujah! It’s not like this abuse hasn’t been going on for well over a decade. Quite a few years back, the State Journal pointed out the highest-paid City of Madison employee was a bus driver.
Apparently nobody got riled up about it, and nobody did anything.
A week or so ago, again, the State Journal published a list of highest-paid city employees, and whaddyaknow…there’s a whole mess of bus drivers at the “tippy-top”, as the late Gene Parks would have said.
But now – with unemployment, even in “recession-proof” Madison running rampant, and the collapse of the economy, there’s a LOT of pushback. And this time, Mayor Cieslewicz claims he’s going to put an end to it.
Quick question: why is the city’s bus company allowed to run its operations so sloppily that this problem even happens? You mean to tell me they didn’t see this HUGE overrun in overtime hours coming, and didn’t say anything about it to anybody, until the paper put it on the front page? (Answer: nobody cared, until now.)
And how come nobody cares about this stuff until unemployment soars and the economy tanks – what kind of management is THAT?
If you have ignored the story, which has been playing out for days now, there are about a dozen senior bus drivers who hog up all the overtime (because their union contract ALLOWS them to) and they’re all pulling down well over a hundred grand a year by working 85 or 90 hours a week.
And now that what’s left of the local media is paying attention to it, they’ve found out there’s a whole passel of bus mechanics who are gaming the system and lining their pockets, running the same scam.
Good lord, if these bus drivers….holders of Commercial Drivers Licenses, all of them….were hauling potato chips or hogs, instead of human beings, they’d never get away with it. Too many laws and rules against it. State Troopers would stop their rigs at the scales and they’d sit until a new driver could be brought in….just like they do on commercial flights, where the pilots can only be at the controls for a specified number of hours in a day.
So, how do we end this practice of city bus drivers with the most seniority getting first dibs on overtime hours, and hogging it all up? Simple. New rule. Has to do with passenger safety, so it trumps all the other stuff. And the new rule still lets the most senior drivers have first dibs on OT.
Here’s the new rule:
No city transit bus driver shall be allowed to work more than X number of hours per week.
Let the managers figure out what the value for X should be…50, 55, whatever. And put the rule into effect tomorrow.