Parks and Recreation, a new television series staring Amy Poehler, debuted on NBC this past week.

The mockumentary, similar to that of the network’s “The Office,” has fun with the “exciting world of local government.” The setting for the series is the fabricated city of Pawnee, Indiana. NBC went as far as creating a Web site for the made-up city at

The new half-hour comedy will examine the mundane, but necessary, ways that people interact with their government, and through humor focuses on the complicated nature of it – from standing in line at the DMV, applying for home construction permits or trying to get the city to fix a pothole.

Local government everywhere certainly is an exciting place to be. That is what is dedicated to.  
While those in local government must be able to laugh at themselves, those public officials must be conscious of the fact that people often do find local government complicated.  Local government professionals must constantly work to make certain that a customer service approach is taken for the public served.

Clearly, many laughs will be had as the result of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation Department, but we are hoping that they recognize the hard working people that work every day to build better parks. And the storylines are often the same … such as an intoxicated person sleeping in the playground equipment shown in the first few minutes of the show.

For now, we are laughing along with the show and at ourselves. At the same time, it’s important that this chaotic, confused and dim-witted view of a local government official doesn’t adjust the opinion of the real public officials out there.