Waste disposal

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 June, 2016, 5:26am

Everyone makes mistakes - but people can be split into two categories; those who accept the human condition and the minority who believe that that universal truth does not apply to them, and that they are superior to the gaffe-prone masses.

Distinctions must be made, however, regarding the circumstances of an error. If, for example, you're working for a company with an attentive eye on the bottom line and, as a result, are having to do the jobs of three people with neither the time nor the resources to do any of them properly, the odd slip-up is to be expected.

If, on the other hand, you are a member of a well-staffed bureaucracy with plenty of time and taxpayer money on your hands, there is little excuse for the kind of waste that was highlighted in the recent report from the Director of Audit. The kind of things the audit uncovered included new footbridges and subways that, through poor planning, are egregiously underused (and one never-opened 20-year-old subway that has just been 'discovered' - we won't bother asking why the previous audit, three years ago, missed that one) and the Keystone Kops-like work practices of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department's dog catchers.

However sympathetic we may be, there is a point where understandable slip-up becomes ineptitude. It would be interesting to know whether the civil servants responsible for the worst of the financial waste see the error of their ways.