Sunday, May 3, 2009

Living in silos

A feature of many government agencies is their silo mentality.  This department over here takes care of a particular thing, and that's it.  That department over there takes care of another thing, and nothing else.  Heaven help the person from department A that dares point out to department B that they need to go and fix problem X - that is a great excuse to kick off a fresh round of inter-departmental warfare and back-biting and the production of reams of bum-covering paperwork.

I got this email from my compadre last night, and it is so true:

A clear example is the lack of co-ordination within a single agency, eg: RTA.
Iron Cove Bridge graffiti control is managed by three separate units within RTA who do not co-ordinate their work efforts between each other. The white/black reflective signs are cleaned/replaced by RTA signage section. The girders and abutments are painted by other staff or contractors. Then comes the high-pressure cleaning people who clean-off the concrete railings and concrete-barriers inbetween lanes.
All areas had been defaced some six months ago.
In that period I have reported graffiti on all the abovementioned 'surfaces' and I know you have done so too, though:

- the reflective signs were replaced about 3 months ago and have since been defaced
- the girders and abutments have been repainted twice in the last six months
- the concrete railings/barriers were finally cleaned-off this week for the first time
Hardly a co-ordinated approach within a single agency, let alone trying to co-ordinate between separate organisations.
The result is 0 graffiti-free days for the overall bridge structure, yet if they had co-ordinated their efforts, we could have had several months of graffiti-free days.

What my compadre missed is a fourth department - that which visits the bridge twice a day to change the peak hour lane markers.  The people who move the lane markers from one side of the middle lane to the other side drive back and forth across the bridge twice a day.  Have they ever once reported a single tag on the bridge?

I doubt it.  

They just move the lane markers.  Graffiti is somebody else's problem.

That is a mentality that has to change.  

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