New Jersey DOT is Smart — How About Your DOT?

New Jersey DOT is Smart.

Here are some excerpts from a recent article about the New Jersey DOT and their use of GPS tracking to fulfill their charter as a state agency paid to do a job for the taxpayer.

All to many such agencies have just become a huge money sink, providing vehicles to state employees but having no idea what the vehicles (and employees) are doing once they are out of sight.

If You Aren’t Tracking, Then WHY?

The most common excuse agencies give for NOT tracking vehicles is “Expense”.

But this is actually a totally bogus, “we don’t give a crap” excuse.

“Expense” is the primary excuse all government employees give for not doing their job … as if they had to pay for things out of their own pocket.

GPS Tracking Doesn’t Cost, It Pays

GPS tracking has been proven, time and time again to ALWAYS save more than it costs … as long as the agency who installed the GPS actually manages the vehicles with it and actually does something with the information.

The real reason so many managers are reluctant to implement GPS tracking system is, they are scared.

  • Scared they might find out things about vehicle use … as in how many vehicles or employees are really not needed.
  • Scared they might find employee abuse and actually have to take action to correct it, instead of letting the tax payer suffer in silence.
  • Scared they might actually not have an excuse to demand ever more money and do less of a job with it … the proverbial “Self Licking Ice Cream Cone.”

Send Us More Money And We’ll Keep On NOT Doing Our Job.

Fortunately, for those of you who live or pay taxes in New Jersey, the New. Jersey DOT is bucking the bad government trend.  Hat’s Off to them.  See:

New Jersey DOT using GPS to track use and abuse of state vehicles

 BY  KAREN ROUSE STAFF WRITER, The Record (I used to work for the Record, what a GREAT newspaper!)

Some scream up and down the highway at more than 100 mph. Others have done private jobs while on the government dime.

Then there are those who steal time by parking their state Department of Transportation trucks in mall lots, on side streets, even near bowling alleys, and take leisurely breaks when they’re supposed to be filling potholes, fixing signs or picking up dead deer on the highway.

“Like pigeons that go and hide, we have employees that like to go cooping,” said state Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson. They say, ‘Let’s go get a truck and hide out in the park.’ ” …

Uncommon?  Hardly.

This is so, so common it’s often hard for management to believe what is going on out there until they actually do track their employees and vehicles.  You can read more about how common “cooping”  here: GPS Tracking Watches the Watchers

… Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop announced in August that the city had installed GPS in public works vehicles to “increase accountability and cut down on fuel expenses.”

The city initially installed tracking devices on 20 public works vehicles, and plans to expand it within that department and, eventually, to the Police Department.

New Jersey DOT is Smart
Are These YOUR Workers?

There has been “a culture of entitlement and abuse by employees (my emphasis) of city vehicles and we are taking every measure to ensure an end to that abuse,” Fulop said in a news release. The abuses, he said, have included taking cars outside of the city and using them for personal trips.

In an age when employees know the boss could be checking their Facebook pages or searching what websites they visit on company computers, many workers are not alarmed — as long as it’s done right, said Sandro Polledri, a civil trial lawyer in Newark who represents workers in discrimination cases. It’s acceptable to use GPS to investigate a worker’s productivity if not done surreptitiously, or during non-work hours, he said.

Just last month, the state DOT employees were issued a “Use of State Vehicles” notice that warns that “all department vehicles are equipped with a GPS system to monitor the location of the vehicle,” and that “the GPS system also records the speed of the vehicle and registers alerts when the vehicle is driven at high speeds.”

Violating the rules of the road or tampering with the GPS system could result in disciplinary action, including being fired, the notice says.

A separate department policy gives Simpson and the DOT inspector general 24/7 access to all transportation-related properties, including 69 yards, four rest areas, two regional headquarters and maintenance complex, as well as access to all vehicles within a yard, and structures in the yards….

If Yu Are Running An Agency (or a business) You Already Have the “Right”, and, IMO, The Duty

So many people seem afraid to implement GPS because of supposed “legal issues”.  This is almost as common as the “no funds” excuse.  But as attorney Polledri points out, it’s not really rocket science.

However for many officials it does involve an unfamiliar process … that is Growing Some Balls.

What the heck do you get paid for, anyway?

Are you afraid that if you exercise your authority the employees will quit their cushy jobs?  Call their bluff.

The answer, which seems so simple, yet so hard for so many government leaders to utter is summed up right here:

“We’re the Department of Transportation. We have to set an example for everyone.”

I recommend you read the whole article … if, that is, you actually give a shit about how your tax dollar is being spent.

– See more at: New Jersey DOT using GPS to track use and abuse of state vehicles

So what do you think, the New Jersey DOT is Smart, or not?