Thursday, December 28, 2006

Physical Plant and feather bedding. At least we know part of the reason the buildings are in terrible shape.

Everyone knows that there is weird stuff going on at the Physical Plant at SIU. We have heard about electrician's changing a light blub and charging $100, plugging in phone jacks for $150 or charging $250 to repaint an office they haven't repainted in 10 years. But recently, I was educated about how stupid the whole thing is and I thought I would share it with you.

If you work for the physical plant, you are owed a break in the morning, lunch and a break after lunch. This seems OK, but there is a special twist at SIU. To take their break, the people at the physical plant, pack up their stuff and drive back to the physical plant. When their break is done, they take their stuff and drive back to the work site. I have seen this happen lots of times, there are workers and they disappear for an hour in the middle of the morning, they reappear.

My guess is that out of the 7.5 hours they are clocked in, that this "system" wastes between one third and half the work time in the day. Can you imagine if everyone did this?

The other thing that seems to be happening is the physical plant can't seem to redo classrooms during the semester, so they wait for breaks to do any work. Of course, they don't do much over the Christmas holidays and there are interim summer classes these days, so there just isn't time to get in there and do the work.

We all know that SIU is down thousands of students and there are plenty of classroom spaces sitting empty. The university could easily rotate 3 classes between 4 classrooms over the course of a semester, then you could repaint and fix building problems at your leisure. It is true that they might have to teach classes as early as 9:00 am to make room for the fix up, but so be it.

The tax payers know that SIU is a terribly inefficient system, they don't want to give the university more money because of it. It is time for Glenn Poshard and his team to figure out how to do more with less. The union in the physical plant needs to buy into ending the huge waste of time they have built into their systems.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, but you need to start somewhere.

Your comments are welcome.

No comments: