Urban planning community

Poll results: Got Counter?

Voters
34. You may not vote on this poll
  • It's a big part of my job and I love it! (please give your Prozac dosage below)

    5 14.71%
  • It's a big part of my job and I hate it! (please give your alcohol or illicit drug usage below)

    3 8.82%
  • I fill in when the admin is out

    12 35.29%
  • NFW, that's for the little people, LP

    4 11.76%
  • We are completely online, nano-nano

    0 0%
  • I work in the private sector, have a cookie

    4 11.76%
  • What is this Counter of which you speak?

    4 11.76%
  • I'll have a Salami on light rye

    5 14.71%
  • Other

    7 20.59%
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Thread: Work the counter much?

  1. #1
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Work the counter much?

    this is a poll to see if you work the counter (or not)

  2. #2
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Although we are a local government office, I work in a section that has very limited interaction with the public. I actually like to hang out in the section where the "Front Counter" is at because they have windows and people coming and going! It seems like it would help the day go by faster.

    I actually applied for a transfer up there a couple of years ago but then they turned the open position into a part-time one. If development picks up significantly or something happens and they need another full-timer up front dealing with the dregs of society, I'll take one for the team and move up there. Maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment?
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    When no one else is able or willing to do so, yes. But its not my core responsibility.

    We ask everyone to help out when needed, whether its their "job" or not.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    We don't have a counter. We have my office with a desk and an open door.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    We don't have a counter. We have a nasty receptionist. Our Planner 1 handles most walk-ins and if he is unavailable I fill in.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    At first I thought this asked whether I work the corner much
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    ha imaplanner - too funny

    and sorry I didn't check my work - the one that says public sector with the cookie reference should be private sector, sorry - had someone on the phone and waiting at the counter when I was doing this

  8. #8
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    When I was an intern, I worked the counter a fair amount. Basically pitching in when the secretaries were busy or one of them was gone.

    I answered the phones more than I worked the counter, I think. My cube was up-front near the secretaries, so if the phone was ringing off the hook or there were lots of people at the counter, I filled in when I could.

    I remember one time we had this huge hailstorm, so my boss and the secretaries taught me how to issue over-the-counter building permits for siding, window, and roof replacements. I became very comfortable with this process very quickly. I'm glad I learned the task and feel it will suit me well in the future.

    With planning stuff (what is that big construction project? has there been any effort to calm traffic on my street?, etc.) or general community-related questions (how do you get to [fill-in-blank]? do you require car stickers?, etc.), I always helped as much as I could, but if there was something completely beyond my knowledge, I would go get someone else or give them someone's card.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  9. #9
    maudit anglais
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    Mmm...cookies.

    I'm the guy on the other side of the counter telling you my client's proposed development won't have any major traffic impacts because we're going to provide 10 bicycle parking spaces and a pedestrian connection leading in from that 8 lane arterial with no sidewalks. Oh, and there's bus stop 500 m away with service running every 30 minutes.


  10. #10
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    At first I thought this asked whether I work the corner much
    So you've seen my office have you? The hoe stroll is right outside. They come ask me for condoms sometimes.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  11. #11
    I'm the guy they get to go to the counter when no one else can answer/satisfy the customer, or the customer gets brought to me in my lair ... er, office.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner View post
    Mmm...cookies.

    I'm the guy on the other side of the counter telling you my client's proposed development won't have any major traffic impacts because we're going to provide 10 bicycle parking spaces and a pedestrian connection leading in from that 8 lane arterial with no sidewalks. Oh, and there's bus stop 500 m away with service running every 30 minutes.
    Can I send you an RFQ if I ever do work in Ontario?

    The kitchen counter is the only one I've worked in several years. And I'm not that great of a cook.

  13. #13
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I work it once a year... and that will be tomorrow. We let our secretaries off from it on their day and take them out to lunch. I work the counter for the two hour lunch they go on with our Administrator. The phone call redirecting is much worse than the counter...
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  14. #14
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    The phone call redirecting is much worse than the counter...
    I've been at my office for three years and I still dread when I have to transfer a telephone call.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Normally the staff handles the counter stuff. I'll pick up the phone when it's ringing and handle permits when they are gone. I both preach and practice that we are here to serve and help the public. Now I started out my career at the counter and in the field. When I became a department head, that went away. FWIW, I've worked for pds that rose up through the ranks but still tried to the counter stuff. It didn't work out so well. Kinda like a baseball manager who still thinks he can catch or play the outfield.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    I've been at my office for three years and I still dread when I have to transfer a telephone call.
    Another phone school drop out ?
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  17. #17
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    I have to work up at the counter when ever a planner is needed. I prefer appointments, becaues usually the people need me to research a specific property, then I have to find out what property it is, go back to my desk, research it and come back.

    I have recently had a very bad experience working the front counter where someone actually recorded me without my knowledge speaking about a property and played it for the property owner who inturn threatened to sue me....the property has been an issue even before my time, but since its in my planning area I have to deal with it when ever it comes up.
    Last edited by beach_bum; 20 Apr 2010 at 1:52 PM.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  18. #18
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Everyone (except the Director) takes turns working the front counter. That means 8 hours of counter duty/wk for me.

  19. #19
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Counter? Is that the long thingie out in our lobby where members of the public stand on one side and my staff is on the other where they roll out plans, look at the GIS zoning maps, talk about development orders, and chat?

    I don't work it and haven't for years.
    RJ is the KING of . The One

  20. #20
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    actually the town manager gets a little irritated with me when I work at the counter...

  21. #21
    Cyburbian
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    We don't have counter time. There are no walk-ins, and our door is locked. Really.

    Telephone hour has been exhausting, and completely derailed me yesterday afternoon.

  22. #22
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kms View post
    We don't have counter time. There are no walk-ins, and our door is locked. Really.....
    That would go over like a turd in a punch bowl in every jurisdiction where I have worked.
    RJ is the KING of . The One

  23. #23
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    That would go over like a turd in a punch bowl in every jurisdiction where I have worked.
    I agree, but it's not my policy. I'm sure that it's frustrating to the few people who want to talk to us. That's all I'll say here.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kms View post
    I agree, but it's not my policy. I'm sure that it's frustrating to the few people who want to talk to us. That's all I'll say here.
    So no more last minute hand deliveries of permit applications? Way to cramp my style.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by biscuit View post
    So no more last minute hand deliveries of permit applications? Way to cramp my style.
    Pound on the door, or hope to find a friendly face in the hallway.

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