Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gooooooooood morning Richmond VDOT!!!!!

It’s kind of funny, when I think about it -- an entire state agency in a kerfuffle over my little blog with a readership of perhaps fifteen people, many of them relatives and friends who know my opinions anyway without my having to blog about them.

So yesterday’s post apparently drew the attention to the desk jockeys in Richmond, who called down to another layer of VDOT management, who called the next layer of VDOT management, all having time to peruse the blog, which I only noticed because all of a sudden my numbers have jumped. Apparently there is nothing better to do when you are a VDOT employee in Richmond.

The result of this is that yesterday afternoon a VDOT supervisor (the working kind, not the desk kind) showed up at my front door.

Let me just state a few things for the record: I in no way believe it’s possible to remain totally anonymous on the web without coming off as really paranoid. So I try to be as honest as I can be and, like Billie’s father says in Born Yesterday: “Never do nothing you wouldn't want printed on the front page of The New York Times.” If someone wants to find me, I know there is nothing I can do about it and still live a normal life. So here I am – I live with four large dogs and Gaspode (frankly, worry more about Gaspode…).

Secondly, I have this annoying habit of automatically assuming I’m wrong. I begin apologizing for things I didn’t do before anyone actually accuses me of doing anything or, when I know I have every right to believe what I believe or do what I’m doing, I try to find some common ground with my accuser.

I would say VDOT was sending out its muscle to intimidate me, but the man at my door was a very polite – if beleaguered – gentleman who had just been bawled out by his upper management, none of whom, apparently, could read. Because, if they had been able to read they would have known I was not chuckling over the VDOT workers, so much as them – the guys sitting behind the desks, glibly issuing orders to “save money” that actually cost more in the long run.

To his credit, the gentleman took one for the team, so to speak, and insisted that his project on Monday was necessary, and I suppose road conditions are subjective. But I drive the road quite a bit and its deterioration was unremarkable. I’ve also lived on VDOT-maintained gravel roads that needed far more attention and need it now. I’m no geological engineer, but I know when a road is screwing up my car’s alignment – even if I am a girl.

Anyway, the VDOT workers I observed Monday were doing the only thing they could do, given the screwy, if predictable, orders they were given.

I am fully aware this is common practice in every governmental agency, local, state or federal. Who cares about $80,000 when your budget is in the millions? It’s really small potatoes – just a number on the ledger.

I also know that our personal situation makes some people think we’ve no right to an opinion on any financial matter. Sorry. It’s my blog. I may be living in a rental house and my finances devastated but, if I treated my personal budget like the pencil pusher in government, I’d be living out my retirement in a cardboard box.

So, NO, I have NO gripe against our local VDOT workers, which was the point I was making in the original post. They’re obviously patient, tolerant people. But my aforementioned assumption of guilt requires me to apologize to them for stirring up the people who somehow managed to fumble their way out of high school without achieving abilities in reading comprehension: I’m sorry your upper management can’t read.

Ironically, in making such a fuss over this entry, they have, in fact, caused it to be viewed by more people than if they had just let it alone. One has to wonder what level of the VDOT bureaucracy has so much time on their hands that they can cause my site traffic to triple in one day – all of it from the Richmond VDOT server.

While I appreciate the attention, controversy is not what this blog is about and tomorrow we will return to our regularly scheduled domestic blathering.


jagosaurus said...





Darkgarden said...

Good deal!!! Go get 'em!!!

Heck the stories I could tell you about this county! ... oh wait.. I do. Never mind.

Get back to normal blogging so I can make fun of things over there.

Anonymous said...

This wasting of money is happening over the entire VDOT Staunton District. They have found a bunch of extra money in their budget that they need to get rid of before the end of the fiscal year which is July 1st. They are tailgating all that asphalt so that they can get rid of the money quicker. It cost about $70 per ton for asphalt opposed to $9 per ton for stone. That's why they aren't working on the gravel roads. Plus the gravel roads are now getting a reduce level of service under the VDOT Blueprint. By the way all of those guys have been called in to the Edinburg Residency and are being interogated to find out who told you the truth about what they are doing. Management plans to punish someone. Moral is very low in the department right now, we are laying off people but still wasting money. Funny isn't it?

Sisiggy said...

JAG: You laugh, but I'm the one who's going to have all the plowed snow piled in front of my driveway next winter.

DG: Yeah, enough excitement already.

Anon: We spoke to our local VDOT supervisor of yesterday's supervisor to reiterate that my criticism was of management, not of the people who were only doing what they could given the machinations of those up the chain. My husband felt like he was talking to a wall because the guy wanted to focus on the actual workers and not on the budgetary and planning issues of the higher ups. It reminded me of that Mel Brooks line from Blazing Saddles: "Gentlemen! We must protect our phoney baloney jobs!"

Gwynne said...

Ooh, this is gettin' good now! Hilarious. That line from Blazin' Saddles is perfect. Heh. ;-)

But wait, what happened to the 6th dog?!

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Jackson, you have no idea what a mess you have made. Someone will probably lose their job. I know the people in the pictures you posted. They are great guys that work hard every day in rain, sleet, snow, heat, etc. Because you are broke, living in a rental house and in a chronic bad mood, you're going to cause someone else and their family to suffer. Do you feel better now Mrs. Jackson? Personally, I wish you would return to Yankeeland. Everyone is rude and nasty up there. You'll be right back home.

Sisiggy said...

Gwynne: Salt is no threat to anyone. Neither are the Aussies, but they look big and they can be noise. And 'Pode is 'Pode -- ask DG.

Anonymous-Person-Who's-Too-Wussy-to-Leave-a-Name: Just a little more of that bogus "Southern Hospitality," huh?

1. The men were on a public street doing taxpayer-paid work being paid with public funds.

2. I'm not going to reiterate that my gripe was not with them because you, also, have failed to pass reading comprehension.

3. As for rude and nasty, I think your post speaks for itself.

And will you listen to yourself: "...who told (my husband) the truth"...ABOUT THE SPENDING OF PUBLIC FUNDS! I'm supposed to know the truth -- and so are you. These are your rights too.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Jackson: Please note that I addressed you as Mrs. Jackson. That's how we are raised here in the South. It's not bogus.

Trust me, I am not a wuss. I'm a VDOT employee that wants to keep his job.

1. I know the men were on a public street doing taxpayer-paid work being paid with public funds.

2. I did pass the reading comprehension test. I just hope everyone read all the way to the bottom to comprehend that your gripe was with management. It certainly didn't appear that way in the verbiage around the photos.

3. My post wasn't rude and nasty.

4. You have to know that in the business world, public or private, the ca-ca runs downhill. It won't be management that gets the ax. It will be one of those great guys of whom you spoke so poorly.

Sisiggy said...

I quote: "Personally, I wish you would return to Yankeeland." That was particularly polite. And hospitable!

I quote: :"...because you are in a chronic bad mood." You don't even know me, Mr. Anonymous.

I quote: "Everyone is rude and nasty up there." Oh! You know everyone!

What other niceties were you raised to use here in the South?

As for the rest, I guess I'm just going to have to do another post. Too long for the comments.

Gwynne said...

Amazing. Truly amazing. To think that someone might lose their job for disclosing the fact that the agency was doing this work to spend the remaining dollars it had in its budget before they were lost is BOGUS!! As you've already noted, taxpayers have every right to know how tax dollars are spent and we all already know that government agencies do this. All of them. It's part of what makes big government so non-sensical. So what big secret was disclosed?! And who hasn't seen with their own eyes gaggles of DOT workers hovering over street projects all the world over?! It's not like your website displayed a sight that we haven't all seen before. I think it's commendable that Dirtman went out to get the real scoop and that you went on to explain that the workers were not at fault here. Frankly, if one of those workers does lose his job over something as assanine as that, he will also have a very good case for wrongful termination and VDOT management needs a good shaking up. Sheesh.

Darkgarden said...

I think Mr. Anonymous writes like a girl. ... Probably is one.

Or a guy with no dick.

Yeah! That's it!

Hey! Mr. Anonymous! You have no dick!