In my opinion, attrition, and escaping, removed much of the experience required for municipalities to function with anything close to efficiency. Maybe it's always been this way, but I don't think it has.
When I started in the construction field, there were plenty of older, and wiser, engineers with equally competent staff working in the public sector. Of course, there were always a few that were basically smiling idiots drawing a paycheck, but the main part of the organization was efficient. It's not that way today.
Too many good people either retired, or quit. Many that retired did so in their mid fifties. With their amount of time served, and age combined, the 80 mark was achieved. This allowed the full pension amount, and many still had healthcare. Those that quit just walked away from a possibly good, long career.
Why did they retire? I've asked a few, and the reason was the same: "Tired of the crap". They were either unable to do their job, didn't have enough time to meet demands, were being crushed by the bureaucracy, or disgusted with the new hires. They'd had enough, saw a way out, and took advantage of the option.
Those that quit did so for the same reason. The misery of working in a bureaucrat Nirvana was too much. They really didn't care for the tons of paperwork, ridiculous reports, bureaucratic mandates, and inability to learn anything but how to fill out reports.
Many that retired found jobs doing the same thing for private consulting firms, with higher compensation. The firms were contracted to perform design, quality control, and inspection. The firms benefited from the wealth of experience. The new employees knew specifications, bid items, quality control, and were on the job to inspect the work. That's a plus for the engineering firms, since they were wading into the bureaucratic mire, and it's best to have those that know the trails.
Some might think the solution is for public entities to cut employees and equipment. That seems like a good idea, until you realize there's a responsibility to taxpayers, and you can't just turn private companies loose. Oversight is needed, and those with this position need to have practical knowledge, with experience. Expecting career bureaucrats to perform this tasks is foolish. Bureaucrats only understand paperwork, ridiculous mandates, and how to justify wasting money.
My solution will probably never happen, since it requires strong supervisors, with a goal of pushing the bureaucracy back into the swamp. Reducing repetitive reports, cutting inefficient employees, demanding accountability, and refusing to bow to more bureaucracy are the qualities needed. Removing the red tape allows those responsible to assemble an efficient staff, and that staff needs to be compensated without thought of how some other employee feels. Good people need good money, and will accomplish more than any two marginal employees. Employees that want to just collect a paycheck need to be terminated.
I don't know where this will end, but know the downhill slide is creating unnecessary costs to taxpayers. The lack of quality people leads to additional costs for errors, and omissions. The lack of experienced leaders is creating a work environment where the bureaucrats control, and bureaucrats are the bane of a healthy workplace.
In Case You've Wondered
My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.
If you're here for the stories, I started another blog: scratchingforchange.blogspot.com
One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.
I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.