be asleep at the switch

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be asleep at the switch

To fail to attend to one's responsibilities or duties; to not do or be inattentive to that which is important or for which one is responsible. Johnson was supposed to make sure the paperwork went through on time before the deadline, but it looks like he was asleep at the switch. Our goalkeeper is such a nincompoop. We would have won if he hadn't been asleep at the switch!
See also: asleep, switch
References in periodicals archive ?
Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: "The government have taken their eye off the ball, indeed they have been asleep at the switch.
Now, what ticked me off was that the insurer in this case must have been asleep at the switch. The case seemed to indicate that many group medical insurers are lax in pursuit of their own subrogation.
"We've sort of been asleep at the switch in California," says Tom Lieser, a senior economist with UCLA's California Forecast, in the unflappable tone of someone who's seen the Golden State clip and rise up again many times in his long career.
"It's as if federal regulators have been asleep at the switch. They've been allowing the industry to set the terms of regulation, rather than taking aggressive action to put known and available safeguards into place."