We wish we could say this was a satire piece, but a new story in the San Francisco Chronicle reveals just how lucrative collecting shit actually is.
It’s but the latest in a string of shocking revelations to hit headlines throughout the summer exposing how deep San Francisco’s crisis of vast amounts of vagrant-generated feces covering its public streets actually runs (no pun intended).
We detailed last week how city authorities have finally decided to do something after thousands of feces complaints (during only one week in July, over 16,000 were recorded), the cancellation of a major medical convention and an outraged new Mayor, London Breed, who was absolutely shocked after walking through her city: they established a professional “poop patrol”.
As described when the city initially unveiled the plan, the patrol will consist of a team of five staffers donning protective gear and patrol the alleys around Polk Street and other “brown zones” in search of everything from hepatitis-laden Hershey squirts to worm-infested-logs. At the Poop Patrol’s disposal will be a special vehicle equipped with a steam cleaner and disinfectant.
The teams will begin their shifts in the afternoon, spotting and cleaning piles of feces before the city receives complaints in order “to be proactive” in the words of the Public Works director Mohammed Nuru, co-creator of the poop patrol initiative.
While at first glance it doesn’t sound like the type of job people will be knocking down human resources doors to apply for, the SF Chronicle has revealed just how much each member of this apparently elite “poop patrol” team will cost the city: $184,678 in salary and benefits.
The surprisingly high figure is buried in the middle of the SF Chronicle’s story on Mayor London Breed’s morning walks along downtown streets with her staff, unannounced beforehand to her police force and department heads so she can view firsthand what common citizens endure on a daily basis.
After quoting Mayor Breed, who acknowledges, “We’re spending a lot of money to address this problem,” the following San Francisco Public Works budget items are presented:
- A $72.5 million-a-year street cleaning budget
- $12 million a year on what essentially have become housekeeping services for homeless encampments
- $2.8 million for a Hot Spots crew to wash down the camps and remove any biohazards
- $2.3 million for street steam cleaners
- $3.1 million for the Pit Stop portable toilets
- $364,000 for a four-member needle team
- An additional $700,000 set aside for a 10-member, needle cleanup squad, complete with it’s own minivan
And crucially, there’s now “the new $830,977-a-year Poop Patrol to actively hunt down and clean up human waste.”
The SF Chronicle casually notes in parenthesis, “By the way, the poop patrolers earn $71,760 a year, which swells to $184,678 with mandated benefits.“
Though we’re sure the city’s giant $11.5 billion budget can handle the burgeoning clean-up costs, likely to blow up even further, we’re not sure how property owners paying hefty land and sales taxes which have soared over the past years will react.
And with limited spots open on the new poop patrol team, and at a salary and benefits package approaching $200K, we can imagine people might give second thought to the prospect of shoveling shit on a professional basis.
Perhaps the only question that remains is, what kind of resumé does one have to have to rise to the top of pile?