Though the economic crisis is hitting everybody hard, as usual, it’s hitting New York hardest. And now that our executive and legislative officials, elected or otherwise, are asking the hardworking citizens of New York City to tighten our belts, buckle down, keep our noses to the grindstone, and all those other can-do, Depression-era slogans that pacify and create optimism within the bitter, struggling, and justifiably resentful working class, a new bit of legislation is going to give state employees a permanent three-day weekend.
Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, a state legislator from the topside of Queens, has proposed shifting around the work schedule of “non-essential” state employees to give them Fridays off. Though they’ll have Fridays for themselves, the hours that the work Monday through Friday will be increased from eight to ten, making sure that they still work a full, 40-hour workweek, and that they have fully earned their fat government paycheck.
But if no one will be paid any less, where do the savings come in? The answer is electricity. Big electricity savings totaling upwards of $30 million, enough to close the MTA’s budget gap and keep service running on the G, W, M and Z lines throughout Brooklyn and Queens. But is that enough?
To the regular Joe’s reading this newspaper, $30 million seems like an awful lot of money. (Not to us though. Pol Position pays extraordinarily well, and we’d all be rich if we weren’t such a regular presence at the OTB across the street from our headquarters.) But in the grand, governmental scheme of things, $30 mil isn’t all that much, at least not enough to completely shift the workweek of millions of New York employees.
It’s akin to blowing up the moon to tap into its deep cheese reserves. The cheese may be phenomenal, but how will the devastation affect the nautical enthusiasts that populate our nation’s waterways, and what will we gaze at with our many, many lovers from the luxurious balcony of the Pol Position penthouse?
Pol Position would love, love, love a three-day weekend, and offer up our emotions in increments equaling the number of days that we could potentially have off. But we have to ask the question, do these employees deserve the three-day vacation. It’s a tough question, but we have to look at the record. (Pol Position is nothing if not thorough.)
When was the last time an employee of a state park alerted you to the fact that your shoe was untied, and that it was about to cause you to trip and fall into a nearby barrel of medical waste? That only happened one time, out of the hundreds of times we’ve visited the outer boroughs’ great state parks.
Has there ever been an incident in which an employee of the Empire State Development Corporation bought you a slice of pizza? Not one we’ve ever heard of. The only departments we’d like to see get some time off and reduce their productivity are the tax and finance departments, because Lord knows we’ve been audited enough in the last five years. (Who are they to tell us that Night Train wine and Fastbreak brand breakfast candy bars don’t qualify as a business expense?!)
And so, Pol Position asks, why do state employees get the break. We work hard too! If you think it’s easy to bust the chops of our local elected officials, day in and day out, we assure you that it’s not.
Being this cynical and miserly is taking years off of our lives, and that extra Friday off could do wonders for health. (We’ve been holding in these kidney stones for close to three months, and we could really use a Friday off to let them pass.)
We would also like to remind our state representatives about the nature of people, in that if you give them one inch, they will take several miles. Give state employees a free Friday, and city employees will start wanting their Fridays off, too.
Then the state employees will start begging for Thursdays off, and then another day, until there won’t be a single day during which we could get our driver’s licenses renewed, which is one of our most cherished activities and annual traditions.
In conclusion, we would like to thank our state employees for doing a very reasonable job running New York. By keeping their nose to the grindstone and making it through their very long workweeks, they are setting an excellent example for or lay-about state representatives, who are truly our most “non-essential” employees.