This isn’t the type of subject I normally write about, but I couldn’t resist. I have held onto this news story for a while with plans of it being the “poop” scoop for 2019!
Last fall, the city of San Francisco launched a $3.1 million task force (this amount is strictly for annual wages paid) to rid the city of a foul issue that keeps piling up and needs to be flushed out: They’ve hired a “poop patrol” to clean up the rising amount of feces — not just from dogs, but human waste — littering the streets.
All cheeky comments aside, I find it so sad that this is a real issue. How has a beautiful city like San Francisco, with some of the country’s most sophisticated and successful people, gotten to a place where they actually need to hire workers to clean poop off the streets? And even more dumbfounding, why does the city seem to be focusing so many of their resources on the “results”— the poop itself — instead of trying to improve the homeless problem that is causing this crappy situation in the first place? (While some of the poop is from dogs, the amount of human feces on sidewalks has been growing steadily since 2008, with the city receiving about 15,000 poop complaints in the first 8 months of 2018 alone. )
This is the real shocker: poop patrol workers’ starting pay is a little over $70,000 a year (not a huge salary in a city like San Francisco), but wages can soar as high as $184,000 when you add all the city-mandated benefits, which I imagine would make them the highest-paid street cleaners in the entire universe. (It must be nice to use other people’s money to pay ridiculously high benefits and pensions that are not even funded to government workers.)
This reminds me of a movie I stumbled upon the other night, “Envy,” starring Ben Stiller and Jack Black. If you haven’t seen it yet, and you like those two guys, it is a must-see.
Ben and Jack play best friends living across the street from one another. Jack invents an aerosol spray called “VaPooRize” that makes poop disappear. He asks Ben to become his business partner, but Ben turns him down, thinking it’s a harebrained idea. Not surprisingly, Jack’s invention completely takes off and he becomes fabulously wealthy, putting a rift between the two of them. Ben seethes with envy as he watches his friend enjoying his new-found wealth. (As you can imagine, Jack’s tastes are more extravagant than putting a small addition on the house and buying a new Honda Civic.) Those two are perfect for the parts they play!
Too bad there’s not a real “VaPooRize” for the city of San Francisco. Well, I guess there is, but it’s in the form of $3.1 million in wages paid to a team of street cleaners whose job I definitely do not envy, even at a reported $184,000/year.
Below are some copy bites from the news story on the poop patrol wages as it was reported on BusinessInsider.com.
People are being paid more than $70,000 a year to clean poop off the streets of San Francisco
San Francisco is establishing a new “poop patrol” to clean up its feces-strewn streets. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the members of the patrol will make over $70,000 a year. According to PayScale, the average annual salary in San Francisco is $85,889.
The San Francisco Chronicle also reported that members of the patrol will make an annual base salary of $71,760 — $184,678 if you include mandated benefits. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage of a refuse and recyclable material collector was $36,160 in 2017.
The New York Post reported that a team of six employees from the city’s public works department will be equipped with steam cleaners. They will start full-time in September , and will focus on the city’s Tenderloin district.
The influx of poop on San Francisco’s sidewalks has been a major source of concern within the city. The wave of waste can be attributed to the city’s increasingly visible homelessness crisis — itself a symptom of the soaring cost of living in the Bay Area and a lack of accessible resources for the city’s most vulnerable population.
While the poop patrol’s pay might be on the high side for the industry, an income of around $70,000 a year isn’t enough to afford a median-priced home in most Bay Area counties.
PayScale reported that the average annual salary in San Francisco is $85,889. Software engineers in San Francisco earn an average salary of $111,744, marketing managers take home $111,744, and executive assistants make $69,405.