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The Great Canoe Competition

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  • victoryusa@jail4judges.org
    The Great Canoe Competition The Great Canoe Competition Two teams of rowers decided to have a canoe race on the Russian River. One team represented local
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 30, 2005
      The Great Canoe Competition

      The Great Canoe Competition

      Two teams of rowers decided to have a canoe race on the Russian River.

      One team represented local government, and was formed by appointing a select group of seasoned administrators who set about interviewing the youngest and strongest employees of county and city agencies.

      The other team represented private enterprise, and was formed by volunteers from local businesses.

      Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race. However, the private enterprise team was unable to practice as many hours as the government team, since they had businesses to run, and could not make use of accumulated coffee break time, nor use compensatory time for conferences and seminars not attended.

      On the big race day, the teams started at Monte Rio, headed for the finish line a mile upstream of the Austin Creek bridge. The businessmen won by half an hour!

      The government team was very discouraged, even depressed. County and city management set up a “Joint Task Force,” held study sessions and emergency planning meetings, and finally concluded the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found.

      So a “Commission on Rowing Competition,” made up of senior city and county management and two appointees from the Board of Supervisors, was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.

      The Commission on Rowing Competition’s conclusion was that the private enterprise team had eight people paddling and one person steering; and the government team had 8 people steering and one person paddling. The Commission recommended that the government hire a consulting company for further analysis and to recommend solutions, so the Joint Task Force hired a high profile consulting firm and paid it a large amount of money for a written report and a series of advisory appearances at Task Force meetings.

      After six months study, the consulting firm advised that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were paddling.

      Armed with this information, the Joint Task Force acted decisively to prevent losing to the private enterprise team again the following year. The government team's management structure was totally reorganized. It now consisted of four steering supervisors, three area steering superintendents, and one assistant superintendent steering manager, all of whom were given the finest diversity training program that could be found.

      The Task Force also implemented a new performance system that would give the person paddling the canoe greater incentive to work harder. It was called the Canoeing Team Quality First Program, with meetings, dinners and free logo shirts and pens for the paddler. Even new paddles and enhanced medical benefit incentives were promised for a winner. “We will give our paddler empowerment and enrichment through this quality program,” said the Joint Task Force Chairman.

      It was also decided that the private enterprise team may have had unearned advantages, so the Joint Task Force required that each rower on that team be required to submit fingerprints for a background check, and to obtain a canoe paddler’s license. The private enterprise team was also required to register its canoe, and to arrange for a government employee to measure it. A second government employee was required to weigh the canoe, and a third to weigh and certify the weights of each of the paddlers and the helmsman. A fourth government appointee, established as the “Administrator of Canoe-related Weights and Measures,” was to review all applications, weights and measures, and to certify them. All of this government activity required user fees, all at the expense of the private enterprise team.

      It was noted by the Task Force that the previous year, the private enterprise canoe had moved through the water at roughly twice the rate of the government team’s canoe, so a wake mitigation fee was also applied.

      These aggregate fees helped to pay the costs of the Joint Task Force, the Commission on Rowing Competition, the hired consultant, the diversity trainer, and the newly established Office of Canoe-related Weights and Measures, according to the Chairman of the Task Force.  

      The government team was, of course, exempt from these requirements and fees.

      The following year, the private enterprise team, fired up by the inequities heaped upon them, worked extra hard and won by a full two hours!  The Joint Task Force met with the Commission on Rowing Performance. They agreed that they must lay off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles and canceled all capital investments for new equipment.

      Since they were now spending less than the amount of money they had originally budgeted, they considered this money saved, and gave all participants in the Joint Task Force and the Commission on Rowing Performance awards for a job well done. The Office of Canoe-related Weights and Measures was kept as a new division of county government, to be financed by a new tax on all canoe paddles. Paddles without  a current tax sticker were confiscated and the owners fined.

      As a direct result of this new tax, canoeists in Sonoma County stopped using paddles, preferring to just drift along Austin Creek with the current.

      This was the beginning of the saying, “…up the creek without a paddle.”
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