Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Computers? We don't need no stinkin' computers!

If you've ever helped an older relative log into hotmail or buy something on eBay, you know how difficult it can be just to get him/her comfortable sitting down in front of the computer. Technophobia is, I've come to believe, a generational ailment. Ninety percent of the battle is getting the person just to sit down in front of a keyboard and not freak out.

But you'd think that a city agency equipped with computers to carry out their task could at least make an effort. Cleveland's building inspectors were issued PDA's to help them file reports. Lord knows Cleveland could use more thorough building inspections these days! But apparently the department as a whole really isn't on board with this whole "information superhighway" thing, as the Plain Dealer reports.

Using a computer is, it would seem, way too much work for City of Cleveland employees. At least, employees in the building inspections department! Only 3 of 75 inspectors actually use the devices.

From the article:

"Jackson and some City Council members have questioned whether inspectors chose not to cooperate because the computers could track their workloads, making them accountable for the first time."

Wait a minute... The PDA's could help track workload? And hold employees accountable? Heaven forbid!

"The union representing most inspectors blames inadequate training. The PDAs intimidate many inspectors who have little or no computer skills, said Paul Garner, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 100."

Oh right, I forgot! Once you have a job, you never have to learn anything new every again. You don't even have to try. Why should you, anyway, when you've got a union?

And people wonder why Cleveland is a sinkhole of poverty...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a good issue to address, but perhaps the training really was inadequate... I've been to some pretty shoddy professional development programs myself. To be effective, these things usually require both continuity and accountability.

3:41 PM  

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