Working in local government calls for a certain level of diplomacy. It’s the ultimate customer service job, and patience, tact and a thick skin must be a requirement.
But unfortunately, some public administrators just don’t seem to get it.
The following is a voicemail recording that was e-mailed to PublicCEO. Give it a few seconds at the beginning, as the sound clip has been altered not to reveal the name of the person who left the recorded voice message.
Her angry voicemail is in response to a public records act request sent by a California attorney, who identified himself as such in a letter requesting staff e-mail addresses from her parks and recreation district.
Listen to the voicemail here (56 seconds)
In a response to a public records request act, the person leaving the message uses a harsh, accusatory attitude with a member of the public who is simply asking that this public administrator does their job and follows the law.
The woman in the voice mail gets right to the point: “I’m curious about why in the hell you would want our staff e-mails….”
The woman claims the requestor is “pretty unfamiliar with the … um … the … what is it … the … where am I looking here … the Public records request.”
Uh … um, yes … this public administrator seems to know the public records act well enough to have to read it off the letter mid-conversation.
The comedic highpoint of the voicemail came when the caller knocked the author of the request for “grammical errors.” The irony there might be too good to be true.
The e-mailer also noted that a call was returned to the woman in the voicemail, but she never responded.
It’s a prime example of disconnect between a public administrator and the public they are to serve. It’s also the type of voicemail that makes hard-working, sensible public administrators shudder.
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