S&WB Employee Takes Nap While Working On French Quarter Water Main

The New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board just can’t catch a break. This time, a video made it on social media showing an S&WB employee sleeping in their vehicle while he was supposed to be working on a French Quarter water main.

From WWL-TV:

The Sewerage & Water Board is investigating a photo posted on social media Friday that appears to show an employee sleeping in an agency vehicle while crews were working on a water main in the French Quarter.

“Our team is aware of the situation and we are investigating,” said S&WB Press Secretary Curtis Elmore. “We certainly encourage employees to perform assigned duties and our goal is to foster among our employees a strong sense of duty and pride in their work. We appreciate the patience of our customers as we work to get to the bottom of this matter.”

S&WB workers are allowed to take 15-minute breaks. WWL-TV asked if using that time to take a nap in an agency vehicle is allowed, but has not yet received a response.

The image is particularly damning because it appears the morning after the Sewerage & Water Board acknowledged for the first time that two supervisors who were needed to fix a loss in water pressure at the agency’s central water plant in November were asleep and did not respond when they were needed, costing the agency precious minutes and forcing the entire East Bank to endure a boil water advisory that lasted 28 hours.

The photo came from a Reddit thread by a now deleted Reddit user. The users on the thread were asking the media to cover the story.

There were also anecdotes about city employees in other major cities. The observation from “BigPeeOn” was interesting:

Of the places I’ve lived for significant stretches, my impression of local city workers are:

NOLA/Pittsburgh = Rampant incompetence, corruption, and nepotism at basically all levels. No one seems to ever be held accountable. Local government workers seem to mostly be warm bodies filling slots until they can retire with a pension.

DC = Noticeable corruption and incompetence, but at least they’re not so blatantly open about it. The corruption also seems to be mostly concentrated at the higher levels, and the actual first line workers seem to be doing their best.

Small-town Midwest = People are doing their best. There may be corruption or incompetence, but it’s mostly because everyone knows everyone, is trying to be nice, and there’s a pretty limited hiring pool. Your mom’s friend’s aunt might suck at her DMV job, but nothing really seems particularly nefarious.

DFW = Not a lot of bullshit. People treat their city jobs the same as any other job. Poor performers are regularly fired or re-assigned.

If you want to know why New Orleans can never seem to climb out of its doldrums, despite its potential, here’s why.

Perhaps the S&WB will fix this with yet another rate increase…

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