Despite having no horses, the water and sewerage department for the city of Detroit employs a horseshoer.
Yet even with a department so bloated that it has a horseshoer and no horses, the local union president said it is "not possible" to eliminate positions.
Union rules have turned the department into a government jobs program, some critics say.
The horseshoer’s job description is "to shoe horses and to do general blacksmith work … and to perform related work as required." The description was last updated in 1967.
The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) has a large debt, rising water prices and inefficient services — using almost twice the number of employees per gallon as other cities like Chicago.
A recent independent report about the DWSD recommends that the city trim more than 80 percent of the department’s workforce. The consultant who wrote the report found 257 job descriptions, including a horseshoer. Capitol Confidential sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the department for the salary, benefits and job description of the horseshoer position.