Friday's HOT MIC

Friday's HOT MIC

Goats are taking the jobs of public employee union workers and right now, it's nip and tuck to see which species does a better job.

"AFSCME takes protecting the jobs of its members very seriously and we have an agreed-upon collective bargaining agreement with Western Michigan," said Union President Dennis Moore. "We expect the contract to be followed, and in circumstances where we feel it's needed, we file a grievance."

The grievance alleges that the university did not notify the union that it was planning to use goat crews on campus, according to a chief steward report supplied to the Battle Creek Enquirer.

University spokeswoman Cheryl Roland said a small goat crew has been on campus this summer, but not to cut grass.

"For the second summer in a row, we've brought in a goat crew to clear undergrowth in a woodlot, much of it poison ivy and other vegetation that is a problem for humans to remove," Roland said. "Not wanting to use chemicals, either, we chose the goat solution to stay environmentally friendly.

"The area is rife with poison ivy and other invasive species, and our analysis showed the goats to be a sustainable and cost-effective way of removing them," she added.

The goats were formally introduced to the campus and local community on June 2 in parking lot 51 of the Sindecuse Health Center.

Garrett Fickle and his wife, Gina, the owners of Munchers on Hooves in Coldwater, rent out their four-footed "lawn mowers" to homeowners, commercial property owners and other clients.

WMU used a 10-goat crew for one week last summer as part of a pilot project, which Roland called a success.

The 20-goat crew is expected to clear about 15 acres on the southwest side of Goldsworth pond before students return for the fall semester.

The goats are ahead of schedule, said Nicholas Gooch, a university horticulturist and the project leader.

And you thought I was being snarky? When was the last time union workers were ahead of schedule in performing any task?

In all seriousness - well, maybe not in all seriousness - this is a perfect example of why public employee unions have to go. Tax dollars are being used to maintain the grounds of the school. Why not save a little money and use goats instead of humans? The principle is sound - if you're goal is to spend tax money efficiently and wisely.

But somehow, that goal gets lost in the shuffle when public unions are involved.