Mayor Daley spends $18 million in taxpayer money a year on people who don't work

Mayor Daley spends $18 million in taxpayer money a year on people who don't work
union sleeping.jpg

There is wasteful spending in the city budget- and I’m not talking about Chicago Police officers who abandon their posts to have sex with women while they should be on duty. Last week, the city’s Inspector General Joseph Ferguson found $18 million that could easily be trimmed from the budget.

The city of Chicago employs a taxi service, 200 unionized city truck drivers, to drive city crews to and from job sites. Your street has a pothole that needs repair? A city crew of five will come out to make the repair. Four will actually work on the repair, while one sits in the truck reading the newspaper.

After the repair of the pothole is complete, the same crew moves on to fix something else in another neighborhood. The crew packs up the truck and our taxi driver goes back into action, driving the crew to its next job. When the crew gets there, the same four exit the truck and make the repair, while one stays behind listening to AM sports talk radio.

The job of city crew taxi driver is one that costs Chicago taxpayers $90,000.00 annually in total compensation. $90,000 for a person who works a couple hours a day; $90,000 for a person who watches other city employees earn their paychecks.

The contract with Teamsters Local 700- that provides the union driver position- was signed by Mayor Daley in 2007 and runs ten years. The contract prohibits the city from transferring certain responsibilities to other employees (translation, a “driver” is unable to be a “laborer” and vice versa). That contract also prohibits the city from subcontracting the driver to another company- as it would trigger union layoffs. When asked on Friday, Mayor Daley did not have an adequate excuse for not negotiating an end to this Teamsters’ rule when he negotiated the contract in 2007, saying “You have to give and take.”

Yes, apparently the taxpayer gives and the mayor’s friends again take, to the tune of $90,000.00 annually.

These drivers cost the city $18 million a year. We pay these union drivers $18 million a year to sit and listen to the radio, read newspapers, and literally watch the city crews’ paint dry.

Now you know why Chicago was in a $650 million deficit last year.

Now you know why Mayor Daley desperately had to privatize parking meters at a discount.

Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel vowed to cut $75 million from our budget. Hopefully, with some finesse against the union, our incoming mayor can fix another one of Mayor Daley’s mistakes and save Chicago at least $18 million.


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  • This is nothing new, it's been happening for so many years. Maybe your new mayor can change it I sure hope so.

  • I don't believe this! The city workers waste $18,000,000 a day! Stop being so nice to them and Daley! When Daley leaves office, he'll be the contract king! Watch him continue to rip off Chicago as has done for the past 20+ years!

  • Look, do you want to get out of a recession (er, depression) or not? If the answer is yes, then you need people to spend money into the economy. I'd rather have a city worker paid to pick his nose than have that same person sitting on the curb in front of his foreclosed house, watching his children try to go to school while living in a car. I am so tired of this anti-union, anti-public employee rhetoric that would have us all live in cardboard boxes, eating discarded food in the bin behind kmart. At least that way we'd ALL be bums and not just some of us - Yeah, that makes sense. When we have a decent employment rate, then talk about wasteful spending. But this crap is just shooting ourselves in the foot. Whereas taxes wouldn't even be a problem if people who could afford them were paying any. This is all just a farce aimed at keeping all of US poor and frightened.

  • So the attack on unions moves to Chicago now?

    Sounds to me like you're jealous more than anything else. These people are employed. Let's keep them employed so they don't join the other 16 million Americans searching for jobs.

    Did you bother to ask the Teamster's Union why this provision ended up in the contract? I bet they have a good reason for it. But of course you didn't - just like every other "journalist," you started with your argument and didn't bother to do any research that might prove you to be utterly wrong. How convenient.

    And I'm with "already been said" - this is $18 million that's going into the economy every year - think about how many businesses rely on revenue from those workers. You wouldn't be only eliminating their jobs, you'd be eliminating every job that's been created by their spending.

  • In reply to queenofbabble:

    Queen of babble-- thanks for reading, but I wholly disagree with you. It is not better to underemploy and overpay people to keep them off the unemployment rolls. Especially when the city of Chicago-- who writes the checks-- is not only out out of money to pay these people, but is roughly $600 million in the red (I don't know the new number for the projected budget deficit, but last year we were $650 million in the red).

    This example is just the latest in a number of city workers on payroll who do nothing for a paycheck.

    I am not anti-union-- but I am anti people who do nothing and get paid $90,000 from taxpayers. If anything, I'm pro union, because if being in a public union means I get to listen to the radio and "earn" $90K, I bet public opinion of public unions would plummet.

    Unions were created to protect the worker against the evils of the employer/company. The problems with some unions now is that they protect the worker from being accountable to their employer or for their job. During a recession, that can really upset people who work hard for $50K annually and/or people who work harder at finding work than some union employees at work.

    But like I said, thanks for reading and commenting.

  • In reply to bthomas314:

    But how do you know they are underemployed and overpaid when you didn't ask the Teamsters why those positions exist and what the purpose was of having them in the contract?

  • In reply to bthomas314:

    Sorry Brian, your logic is faulty...

    "During a recession, that can really upset people who work hard for $50K annually and/or people who work harder at finding work than some union employees at work."

    Destroying more people's lives will not not make it better for those working hard to find work or those making $50K a year. What the $50K people need is higher wages, not more unemployed people willing to work for less.

    "...but I am anti people who do nothing and get paid $90,000 from taxpayers."

    The operative phrase here is "anti people". You seem to have no idea how economies work. People don't live in vacuums. They live with families, parents, husbands, wives and children who will be affected if somebody in the family suddenly loses their income. They are people who pay mortgages in neighborhoods where the property value goes down every time people foreclose. These people go to restaurants or pay for services that lose customers every time "those people" lose their jobs. This kind of vindictive attitude toward people is how recessions worsen and SPREAD.

    No, Chicago is not "out of money." They are out of common sense, which they will get back when they finally come to their senses and tax the people and businesses that are not suffering from any negative cash flow and can afford it. Think Oregon.

    Thank you "Queen of babble" for adding sanity.

  • In reply to alreadybeensaid:

    Really?? Your argument is to allow the city of Chicago to pay people $90K to sit on their ass so they don't go on unemployment and make the recession worse?

    That is simply ridiculous!

    Queen of babble and already been said must be two of the 200 truck drivers or in equally high paying/low working city jobs.

  • In reply to rstrattonrc:

    No, my argument is to learn the entire story from all sides before I make a judgment. For all we know there were safety issues and that's why this provision was put in the contract. Also, where's the evidence that each of these drivers makes $90,000? I haven't seen any. Is that an average? Where did the author come up with that number? They don't site anything, so as far as I can tell, it's pulled out of thin air.

    I work in a private sector business where I make little money and those who make six figures and more barely work 20 hours a week while I do most of their job for them. The best part? Their decisions will probably put us all out of work because they don't understand the industry or what they're doing. My point? Waste is hardly limited to the public sector.

    Is it possible that there is wasteful spending in the City of Chicago? Of course it is. But let's do the actual in depth research instead of stopping once we think we've proven our argument. Let's talk to the Teamsters and find out why these driver positions exist. let's listen to both sides of the argument before we form a biased opinion on only half the information. That's simple critical thinking - something we should be focusing more on in the Chicago public schools, apparently.

    And if we're so concerned about wasteful spending by the city, there are literally dozens of places I'd look before I ever got to who is driving the trucks.

  • In reply to rstrattonrc:

    You want to know why the industrial north continues to fade into the sunset? Just read some of these nonsensical comments.

  • In reply to rstrattonrc:

    Can you look into the traffic people that stand at intersections to direct traffic? More often then not, they are standing in the way of traffic, and seem to serve no purpose.

  • In reply to rstrattonrc:

    "Really?? Your argument is to allow the city of Chicago to pay people $90K to sit on their ass so they don't go on unemployment and make the recession worse?"

    Actually, that's exactly my argument--even though I'm not convinced that they are actually "sitting on their ass". And the reason is because they will spend 100% of their income back into the economy as opposed to storing it in offshore accounts. So not only will they keep the economy moving, they will keep their families and communities functioning. The longterm costs to society of keeping people unemployed is actually higher than the dismal savings these local governments think they are making by getting rid of public employees.

    And no, I am not one of the 200 truck drivers or in high paying city job. I just understand how economics works and see through the BS backward logic of creating more desperation and unemployment in an already desperate labor market.

    Again "Queen of babble" speaks much wisdom.

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