Working as a public servant has its challenges – one’s daily schedule, work product, and even salary are under constant scrutiny. Yet despite, or perhaps because of this scrutiny, government workers often outpace private sector workers in efficiency and innovation. And because our employees are generally motivated not just by their paychecks, but also by a desire to serve the public, where our staff comes to the City from the private sector, taxpayers reap the benefits of both worlds.
In the IT department, for example, Programmer Mike Tanner gained extensive experience with integrating and automating processes in his work for a private corporation. There, Mike’s objective was to improve efficiency in a way that would boost profits for stockholders. Improving efficiency in a public workplace means not only that hundreds of people do their jobs more efficiently, but also that taxpayer dollars go farther. Mike recently designed a computer program for the City that automated and integrated multiple data-entry systems at the Police Department, eliminating duplicate entries and providing officers and detectives with a single tool to look up and record case information. Other governmental agencies are considering implementing Mike’s program as well, a move that will save taxpayer dollars in multiple jurisdictions.
Our Human Resources Analyst, Crystal Ritchie, was also hired from the private sector. Before working for the City, Crystal gained extensive experience in training employees regarding productive workplaces, compliance with employment laws, and effective management tools. In her work for the City, Crystal is motivated by many of the same objectives she had in the private sector, but now her well-honed skills are helping to guard the public trust. Especially in lean economic times, the City benefits greatly from what Crystal learned in her private-sector experience about facilitating smooth workplace transitions, ensuring that employees feel safe on the job, and helping supervisors energize their team members.
As a final example, Assistant City Attorney Andrea Pogue’s resume includes work as an associate in a private law firm. Her experience in private civil litigation adds a vital resource to the City Attorney’s Office, meaning that existing City staff can handle non-complex litigation rather than contracting with an expensive litigation specialist. Andrea also serves as the point person for bankruptcy cases where the City is named as a creditor because of utility debts, a caseload that has sharply increased in the past few years. Andrea’s ability to transition her legal skills from a private to a public environment has saved taxpayers thousands of dollars.
Where employees make the leap from the private sector to public service, the benefit to citizens can be profound. This effect is magnified at the City of Meridian, because our employees come to work each day not only with the goal of earning a paycheck, but with the goals of protecting the public trust, providing excellent service to citizens, and contributing to a sense of community. We work for you!