Detroit water and sewer dept. employs “horseshoer” but keeps no horses

by Walter Olson on August 20, 2012

And the union chief says there’s no room for cuts, even though the department employs far more workers per customer and per gallon handled than do many other cities. [Jarrett Skorup, Michigan Capitol Confidential]

Ken White adds: “But hey, if the Detroit Water Department ever BUYS horses, they will have a horseshoer on staff already. That sort of foresight is why Detroit is so successful.”

P.S. Mark Bennett: “The game of horseshoes does not play itself, you know.”


1 Doug 08.20.12 at 12:24 pm

i believe that there was litigation by the suburbs that were hooked into its system. The suburbs were upset that they could not get an accurate water amount and that they were funding The City of Detroit’s police and fire system. Good times for lawyers.

2 Mannie 08.20.12 at 2:10 pm

According to the article, he does perform blacksmithing, welding, and general machinery repair jobs.

That doesn’t detract from the fact that the Detroit government is bloated.

3 Titus 08.20.12 at 4:12 pm

“According to the article, he does perform blacksmithing, welding, and general machinery repair jobs.”

I was going to say: surely the title is a quaint honorific anachronism attached to an actual more or less functional job.

4 DAV 08.20.12 at 5:06 pm

Years ago, I did a job for the Bessemer & Lake Erie railroad. The railroad employed firemen. A fireman’s job on a train is to tend the fire under the boiler. The B&LE only had diesel locomotives. No need for firemen. They were there because of a union contract. In fact, the firemen had nothing to do except ride the train.

It was suggested that they fill out a small questionaire of about 10 items for about one month to collect some information to be used in a new traffic tracking system. Didn’t work. It wasn’t in their job description. If Detroit was able to get the horseshoers to perform other tasks then they’ve made progress.

5 wfjag 08.20.12 at 7:25 pm

Why do you assume he has no function? It is easy to conclude that there are deserving horses’ behinds needing to be fitted with a shoe and then nailed shut.

6 Scott 08.21.12 at 6:55 am

The sad part is that an actual farrier could make a lot more on their own.

7 Saulius Simoliunas 08.22.12 at 12:02 pm

Horseshoer is a red herring. There are some ancient classifications. However, EMA did not uncover a new classification of COO paying about 200 thousand dollars annually, when we have a director and deputy director as per City charter. EMA did not talk about outdated technology. EMA talked about generalities and did not go into specifics for manpower and technology. It was designed to put the blame on workers and extol management. The truth is just the reverse. COO is grosser example than the horseshoer.

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