After reading about the fifth Tuesday City Council meeting I thought it was time I added my thoughts to this discussion. As a tax-paying citizen of Fort Wayne, Allen County and the state of Indiana, I have often wondered why my tax money has to be used so much more inefficiently than it is as a private citizen. If I wanted to replace my asphalt driveway with concrete, I would not go to a contractor and tell them they had to pay a certain wage or I wouldn’t hire them. I would request quotes and then look at the those I receive and decide on which is the best deal, even if it wasn’t necessarily the lowest bid (though that most likely would be the case if all things were equal). But the government says you have to determine a set wage for each area of a project, and the vast majority of the time it is the local union wage. Where does that make any sense?
I use to work for a construction company for 15 years as a bookkeeper. We only did a handful of government projects and always had to pay a higher wage to our employees when they worked on them. I can assure you that the quality of our work was no different than when we did a similar job and paid our men a good wage. And the amount of paperwork for these jobs was crazy compared to any other job we had to do. Just because you pay a higher wage to someone doesn’t mean that you are getting a better job.
So I ask, especially in these tough times for our local government, why do we not do what any private citizen would do and put projects out for bids and choose the best bid? Are the people we elected working for the people that elected them into office or some union or company?