Full-time employment, according to Weber, is used as a dependency on income mechanism to exert greater control over the worker.1 Full time workers prevail, functioning well for continuity of communication within departments and outside departments. In terms of Weber’s contention that employees are more agreeable to direction and control when full-time, I would have to agree that full-time employees have more to lose than those who are working part-time, besides the substantial salary, they lose benefits which are only given to full-time employees. This buys allegience beyond the issues of dedication to the workplace.
Issues of merit and impersonal rules enable city workers to apply to other departments of the Corporation without prejudice. The employee would have to develop the appropriate skills on his or her own time to meet the requirements of the desired job in the other department.
The City Administrator is required to inform the council members of problems with implementing policies as set down so that an issue may be dropped or reevaluated according to advice of the Administrator. Thus impersonal rules do not preclude interaction and negotiation.
Weber’s bureaucratic trait of written records is explicitly kept in municipal bureaucracy. Beyond this, the weekly meetings of departmental heads discuss the overall implications of what each department is doing and discusses any possible conflict and establishes coordinating efforts among the departments.
The elaborate filing system is necessary for further reference to clarify issues as the city continues to grow.
The principle characteristics of a bureaucracy as outlined by Weber is present within the Corporation of St. Catharines. The combination of impersonal rules which encompass chains of command, specialisation of labour, employment and promotion based on merit, full-time employment, and written records along with the presence of the Canadian Union of Public Employeess to protect the workers’ established rights within those rules, ensures an efficiently run organisation that is as diverse as any governmental organisation with various departments. The Corporation of St. Catharines has maximized Weber’s traits of a bureaucracy to ensure continuity, efficiency, and fair dealing.
Is that enough? Is that good enough to serve the increasingly complex urban life we live in?
1Ibid., 36, 37.