Earlier this summer, the city hired about 140 kids to clean vacant lots and public spaces in the West End. But because the organization hired to run the program is being audited, the $27,000 owed the workers has been frozen in limbo, leaving them with no paychecks and nothing but promises.
The Metro Council has finally taken some action and now says everyone could start getting paid as early as this week. And that's good. But I hope we have the good sense to never let such a thing happen again.
In many cases, these were the first paying jobs these kids will ever have. This is when they'll learn that work is more rewarding than hanging out on street corners and that it pays off better than gang membership. That when you deal honestly with society, society holds up its end of the deal
Such an unreasonable delay sends the message that these youths aren't valued as much as "real" workers, and that promises made by employers are less reliable than those made by employees.
And that's no way to nurture the next generation of responsible citizens.
Those kids should have been paid long ago – even if the city – through its own bungling – had to eat the loss.
Because while $27,000 isn't small change, it's still a small price to pay to maintain your integrity with tomorrow's adults.
I'm Bill Lamb and that's my…Point of View.
Join the discussion – leave your comments below.
You can also e-mail suggestions or questions to Point of View.