John Brummett writes that there are ways — as was demonstrated by Game and Fish action last week — to encourage even independent agencies to reduce the fleets of vehicles provided employees for non-work purposes. The more diffuse governing boards of the collegiate kingdoms may be harder to persuade. Time will tell.
This is an opportunity for me to repeat a decent point that has so far been only made by a global-warming denying rightwing nut on the Game and Fish Commission. Some 130 employees of Game and Fish, to name a few, are about to lose the significant perk of a free state automobile — with the significant perk of free maintenance that entails — for commuting to work. "Let’s get out the violins on that one," writes Brummett.
Well, sure, most of the rest of us provide our own transportation. Many of us pay for our parking downtown, too, something no state employee is required to do as far as I know. But still. This perk amounted to a pay enhancement. It has been enjoyed for years. It's part of the package that might figure into whether an employee stays with a state agency or goes. (That is, it does if you don't believe all state employees are calcified in place, stirred to action only long enough to retire for a few days so they can be re-hired and doubledip.) These employees have been given an abrupt pay cut and the one dissenting Game and Fish commissioner said he was troubled a bit by that. Yes, they are still employed, no small blessing these days. But many of them aren't to blame for a policy that substituted cars for a rational and better pay plan.
The vehicle reduction was called for — a necessity even. But it's a cold world where the recipients of a pay cut are to be yukked at because they work for government. How I wish the FOI applied to private enterprise and the perks extended to lucky ducks of the private sector — bonused and cosseted and fed at company expense, sometimes even in money-losing years when those on the bottom end of the pay scale get fired. No, I'll hold my chuckles. There but for fortune ...