Civil servants on permanent voicemail

The notice from the City arrived in the mail last weekend. No matter on what day or at what hour the City employee named therein is called, the telephone number is always on voicemail. When I’ve been able to call from a touch-tone, not a rotary, telephone, I’ve been able to punch “O” in accordance with the voicemail instructions. This action results in a 40-minute hold and then a cut-off. During the hold, the annoying music loops over and over again, interrupted only by the message that “all our agents are busy.”

The answers sought are simple ones. Why, when one action before a citizen board was scheduled a month ago, was there a big red-orange sign posted on the property (although briefly and without written notice to most of those who should receive it)? Why, when this action was placed on the agenda again, this time with written notice, was there no big bright sign, as there was the first time? Why is there a big bright sign on another property on the same agenda for the same date as the first matter? What is the difference in procedure as between the two agenda items? Why was the postponed agenda item treated differently the first time as to notice from the way it’s being treated this time?

All apart from the fact that it’s pretty obvious that no answers will be obtained before the agenda items are decided, whether or not there’s compliance and consistency as to notice, public servants who seem always to have their voicemail on do a disservice to anybody who falls into one or more of these classes: has a rotary-dial telephone, has no telephone at work, may call on breaks but not receive return calls during work hours, has no answering machine, has no voicemail, or has no cell-phone. Some people, by the very nature of their jobs, are out in the field all the time, but their voicemail usually says at what hours they may be reached directly and during what hours they return calls. Now leaving rant zone to resume regular activities.

3 Comments so far

  1. Mark Cathcart (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 2:32 pm

    Not my experience. I emailed the planning dept. the guy their answered promptly, agreed to meet me, and spent almost an hour explaining how the planning process worked, how I could go about objecting and what else I needed to do.

  2. Rantor (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 5:50 pm

    Mileage does vary according to department and person. Thanks for your e-mail suggestion; after work I was able to send a query and did in fact receive a response from the person named in the document in question. That doesn’t make up for the time spent holding. Were there a complete telephone directory on line for the City, as there is for the State, it would have been possible to call another living person directly in a case where the person named on the document has a voicemail shield and never seems to be reachable directly. Many citizens of course do not have e-mail access, even at the library, lacking the knowledge of how to go about it. The fortunate may have an hour to meet with a City employee during City working hours, but they *are* the fortunate.

  3. Karen Alexander (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 11:29 am

    Oh come now… why not go ahead and name the name of said public servant and get some action! Though the odds of someone who cares downtown alerting someone who can do something about this to the adverse “press” may be dim… but then again, nothing ventured, nothing gained. At least alert the rest of us so WE won’t be wasting our time… OR maybe just send the name over to Fox or the Statesmen, and let them have their fun with it!!

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.