Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Roundup

PG forum section has a piece on what you get when you 'Google' Pittsburgh. It could have been inspired by what Governing had up last month on The Out-Googling of Governments.

no joke, I read Brian O's column on the quagmire of closing the gap in the bike trail system around Sandcastle right after coming back from some afternoon biking also stymied by the same bottleneck. It's a big deal to some of us. Part of me wants to say there has to be a solution to the problem of finding a narrow bike trail through the area, but if you have been down there it is really a narrow and congested strip of land. Call it spatially challenged. I'm sure there are solutions, but probably nothing cheap. My Seabee colleagues I am sure could plant an elevated causeway along the riverbank. I really wonder what that would cost. Too much I am pretty sure, but it's fun to think about. Might be worth the publicity such an architecture might get if built.

Grata talks about feedback on his piece recently when he talked about how absenteeism is up at the Port Authority. It does make me wonder, the whole point of his original article was based on how absenteeism is up in recent years and the strong implication that workers were just skipping work. Yet you can't quite compare recent years given the big changes in the law (Family and Medical Leave Act), military leave (nuff said), and other factors; all of which would be expected to have an impact on those numbers. I would be interested in how much individual sick days per worker (adjusted for age) has changed in recent years before drawing too many conclusions.

and if I could ever transform myself from the itinerant typist that this blog represents into a 'writer' I would try to be Bill Bryson I think. That just came to mind because of a reference in Toland's Next Page piece on Chinese, English and all things language. I still think there is an economic development strategy worth trying to issue visas to a horde of Chinese language teachers so that Chinese could be taught in every school in the region.


Blogger EdHeath said...

Well, we have the Army Corps of Engineers, who could probably do the same thing as the SeaBee's, but then the Fed's would need a reason to get involved. Maybe they could use the dirt from the North Shore tunnel. It would be nice to find some solution to that issue, even if it is a "walk your bike here, carry your bike here" solution.

As for the absenteeism at the Port Authority, I got the impression it was not military leave (you should be able to schedule for most National Guard activities ahead of time). Also, Grata seemed to be saying the PAT employees were taking FMLA leave for their own aliments. That should be grounds for firing. Over all, the two articles leave me with the impression that the union has discovered it can bully some number of managers all the time, and use that as leverage against the rest. At the same time, it sounds like management’s response is to over-schedule. It almost seems hopeless, that this particular Authority is that far out of control. I’m sure the day to day employees mostly do their jobs conscientiously, but there are a few bad apples that the union is committed to protecting, and that undermines the union’s credibility. That management has given into the union so many times over the years undermines *management’s* credibility.

Monday, August 11, 2008 5:12:00 PM  

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