At the risk of alienating any guv'ment workers who read my blob, I have to get this off my chest.
Too many hours of my life that I will never get back have been wasted dealing with people who get regular breaks, take every holiday off, and blame furlough days for everything they suck at doing. Or that they simply refuse to do because it's too mentally challenging or requires that they do more than clock in and clock out and watch the clock.
I have received emails in the past few weeks that have ranged from "our power went out and is causing a fair amount of disruption" to "Vicky, the answer is no." What am I, 7 years old and asking for a cookie? No. I'm not even Vicky Nguyen, regular citizen. I am a journalist, working in the public interest, requesting access to something that I know is possible, doable, and has been done elsewhere in this fine state of California.
If you're going to tell me you can't accommodate the request, don't you think a simple explanation would be warranted? And don't get me started about the power outage. I've been asking you the same questions for not one, but TWO weeks, a power outage for ONE hour on ONE day does not mean you can go back to Starbucks and eat another muffin.
The question dodging, work shirking, responsibility sloughing, excuse making, sorry puppet for a professional employee is just soooo exhausting to deal with. Yes, I am asking you for information that you may not know, but as the PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER it is your job to find those answers. Not to delay, deny, or completely ignore. I mean, if this is how you deal with journalists, what chance does John Q. Public stand? NONE.
What so irks me too is that there's no one I can really go to and say, you know Sally Jo? The one you pay to work with the public and the press? She's lame. She has not the first clue how to get work done. She's inefficient and ineffective. There's no "1-800-your government PIO ain't working" line to call.
It's exhausting and frustrating and disheartening to deal with these people. Because I see the stonewalling and the ineptitude but there's no consequences. In all likelihood, Sally Jo's boss is the same person, just older and more entrenched.
BUT, one person has finally restored my faith in some government workers. I needed you Steve. After dealing with a long long long line of Grade A crapola people, you resuscitated my belief in people who have email addresses ending in .gov. You even have a Gmail account. There is a god.
Steve is the James Bond of the public sector. I sent him my list of questions and--OH MY GOD Y'ALL--he actually responded in a timely manner after ONE email. He blew my socks off. I am barefoot right now in honor of Steve. He answered my questions thoroughly, with insight and additional information that clearly proves he knows his industry and cares about his work. That may be the standard at a private company with accountability or a start up where everyone's hungry and good-looking and energetic and gunning for a massive payday, but on the public payroll, where you get that paycheck every two weeks as long as you show up and come back inside after your two smoke breaks, it says a lot about Steve.
I am sending an email to his boss. Because by God, since I can't get back at all the inept incompetent idiots on the taxpayer payroll, I can at least celebrate the people who excel at what they do. Thank you Steve. The 007 of the public sector, a rare gem indeed.