The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) pays a “horseshoer” $29,245 in salary and roughly $27,000 in benefits. There’s only one problem — Detroit has no horses for the horseshoer to shoe.
Some critics argue that the department has been turned into some sort of a government jobs program. Meanwhile, the local union president says it is “not possible” to eliminate positions, the Michigan Capitol Confidential reports.
The horseshoer’s job description, which was last updated in 1967 (Lyndon B. Johnson was president), is “to shoe horses and to do general blacksmith work… and to preform related work as required,” according to the department’s website.
With a large amount of debt, DWSD has struggled with rising water prices and inefficient services. They use roughly twice the number of employees per gallon as comparable cities likeChicago.
The Michigan Capitol Confidential has more details:
A recent independent report about the DWSD recommends that the city trim more than 80 percent of the department’s workforce. The consultant who wrote the report found 257 job descriptions, including a horseshoer. Capitol Confidential sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the department for the salary, benefits and job description of the horseshoer position.
In response to the report, John Riehl, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 207, which represents many of the DWSD employees, told the Detroit Free Press that the department needs more workers.
“They don’t have enough people as it is right now,” Riehl said. “They are just dreaming to think they can operate that plant with less.”