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City Now Has ESP

March 2, 2011

Sometimes, it doesn’t take a mindreader.

After support from the City Council and the Mayor’s Employee Council, the City of Memphis kicked off its new Employee Suggestion Program, or ESP, earlier today.

Under the program, employees are encouraged to suggest any improvements they feel would save money, make city operations more efficient or effectice, increase revenue, and improve safety. “We’re trying to institutionalize the idea that this is your government, too,” said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton. “City employees see more in their individual shops than I will ever see.”

Suggestions that garner quantifiable financial savings or increased revenue can even mean cash awards ranging from $250 to $1,000.

The mayor cited the case of an employee whose job it was to replace signage after the poles had been damaged or bent; that employee invented a machine to straighten out the poles, saving the city thousands of dollars.

“It’s well worth the cash incentives,” Wharton said.

The City Council supported the creation of the Employee Suggestion Program earlier this year, after Councilman Kemp Conrad sponsored a resolution to do so.

“It worked well in the private sector. It worked well in the military,” Conrad said. “I think the extra motivation will help government be more efficient and more responsive.”

Rex Gipson, a employee who does testing and recruitment for the Human Resources division, is a member of the 30-plus Mayor’s Employee Council. There are roughly two to three members from every division on the council.

“Everyone’s input is valuable,” Gipson says. “We thought we needed to do something formal like the Employee Suggestion Program so that employees can be rewarded for their ideas.”

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