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Thread: Handling an odd situation

  1. #1
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Handling an odd situation

    If anyone has advice on handling this problem, let me know.
    A resident who has an active violation is not happy with the service I provide. He has asked the commissioners who I answer to for time to air his complaints. I listened to the complaints, mostly not answering a question the way he wants or not answering a letter in timely fashion (3 days isn't sat enough). Now the commissioners are giving him more time next week because he's not done - he wants me fired because I'm after his code violation. I don't think this will affect my job since everyone knows there is a motive, but I feel like I should to be subjected to a firing squad whenever someone feels like it. Any thoughts on how to convince the commissioners to stop putting this on the agenda?
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    So you want the commission to drop call to the public? I don't see that happening. If you don't want to take the slings and arrows or outrageuos fortune then find another job. We have all be trashed in front of councils and commissions...I agree it sucks but its part of life as a public sector employee.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  3. #3
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Thanks Brock, sometimes just telling me to get over it is all the support I need. It isn't really a call to the public, this is setting up an individual study session for someone to sound off. I've taken a couple hots before and I'm sure this isn't the last. This is just the first time I've seen it handled as an agendized study session. Maybe it's more common than I think it should be.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    This is America and we have open public meetings. Doesn't your council allow for 2-4 minutes of unbridled comment time at each meeting? It should, and if this guy wants to bitch each month they should let him, chronic or not. Sorry, I don't know what you can do except continue to turn the other cheek.
    @GigCityPlanner

  5. #5
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Yes they do have a call to the public, yes I am weekly bashed at those - I ignore and laugh privately at a lot of what is said. This commission holds an all day study session itch the public every week to review things like bids, contracts, whatever is coming their way. This is an agendized bitch session. It's a new one to me, and Brock's right, get over it, but thanks for letting me vent some. It's always good to know I'm not the only one from people who have blazed this trail before me.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  6. #6
    Some of us get bashed (stronger words come to mind) on a daily basis with little to no positive reinforcement. Working for the public and electeds is great.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Is there any hope that the Commission will be tired of dealing with this guy at some point? I would agree that being the subject of public ire is somewhat part of your job, but the elected officials should have your back ultimately. Letting the public feel like they are your supervisor is a dangerous precedent.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    Yes they do have a call to the public, yes I am weekly bashed at those - I ignore and laugh privately at a lot of what is said. This commission holds an all day study session itch the public every week to review things like bids, contracts, whatever is coming their way. This is an agendized bitch session. It's a new one to me, and Brock's right, get over it, but thanks for letting me vent some. It's always good to know I'm not the only one from people who have blazed this trail before me.
    If some don't want to do paperwork and consciously do CYA activities out of distaste for filing or bureaucracy, this is a good object lesson that paperwork and CYA saves your A.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    Thanks Brock, sometimes just telling me to get over it is all the support I need. It isn't really a call to the public, this is setting up an individual study session for someone to sound off. I've taken a couple hots before and I'm sure this isn't the last. This is just the first time I've seen it handled as an agendized study session. Maybe it's more common than I think it should be.
    Having a separate "study session" is very different than letting someone sound off at call to the public. (I was thinking you post was about said citizen complaining at call to the public). Not much you can do to stop it but you might want to remind the commission that if they do this for them then they need to do it for everyone who has an ax to grind. You might have the city attorney review what can be discussed by commissioners before this meeting since there is a better than even chance they could get into open meeting law violation.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Midori's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    If anyone has advice on handling this problem, let me know.
    A resident who has an active violation is not happy with the service I provide. He has asked the commissioners who I answer to for time to air his complaints. I listened to the complaints, mostly not answering a question the way he wants or not answering a letter in timely fashion (3 days isn't sat enough). Now the commissioners are giving him more time next week because he's not done - he wants me fired because I'm after his code violation. I don't think this will affect my job since everyone knows there is a motive, but I feel like I should to be subjected to a firing squad whenever someone feels like it. Any thoughts on how to convince the commissioners to stop putting this on the agenda?
    This should not be an agenda item. Call to the public with a time limit? Well, whatever. But it's not an action item that deserves a bullet point. IMO. Who controls the agenda in your community?

  11. #11
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Brocktoon View post
    Having a separate "study session" is very different than letting someone sound off at call to the public. (I was thinking you post was about said citizen complaining at call to the public). Not much you can do to stop it but you might want to remind the commission that if they do this for them then they need to do it for everyone who has an ax to grind. You might have the city attorney review what can be discussed by commissioners before this meeting since there is a better than even chance they could get into open meeting law violation.
    Best answer.

    I'm used to being dressed-down by the public during the "open public comment period" of a meeting. I've never had a complainer specifically agendized--most electeds will avoid wasting time on something like that. Your city manager or city attorney needs to have a discussion with your Commission about the precedent created with this type of complaint getting special time to air, that they are not required to give it its own item like this, and that it runs counter to the established Rules of Decorum (assume your city has adopted something along those lines). It could be the Commission is just affording the complainer an opportunity to completely flame-out and make an ass of him/herself.

    How does the agenda get set? Mayor? City Manager? Two Commission members?

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  12. #12
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    It always helps to meditate on the problem with a good cigar (yes I meditate while smoking). I've already got a call in to the attorney to make sure all our legal bases are covered, especially concerning this guys code violation. I spoke with some of the commissioners, they are willing to let everyone grind their ax, but they may not take action on it. They all supported me so I'm not worried about my job. It just seemed like an odd way to handle a public complaint, but it's getting under control. And for those of you who don't listen to ColoGI, the CYA file (it's actually a 2" binder on this guy) covers every complaint he brings up - part of why I'm not too worried. It's just another life experience to make me a better planner.


    For SR, the agenda is set by the commissioners, no we don't have rules of deorum which is a sore subject with the county right now for reasons that went national (Daily Show even). I believe the idea is that the commissioners want to help and find a solution not understanding that the solution is that we fundamentally disagree over a zoning violation. I believe he is starting to flame out because I'm now getting support that wasn't fully there before.

    thanks for the support
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Let's imagine this...

    1. Grumpy old coot bitches...
    2. Commission listens, turns to you and says...
    3. Great job. You did exactly what we would have expected...
    4. and then turns to grumpy old coot to say...
    5. You are invoilation. Fix it and stop whining...
    6. The rest of the public observes this and gets the message.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Midori's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    Let's imagine this...

    1. Grumpy old coot bitches...
    2. Commission listens, turns to you and says...
    3. Great job. You did exactly what we would have expected...
    4. and then turns to grumpy old coot to say...
    5. You are invoilation. Fix it and stop whining...
    6. The rest of the public observes this and gets the message.
    Interesting question raised:

    Can you request response time and ask the commission to resolve the dispute and fine the kind gentleman for his violation? If you're going to whine to the teacher, you deserve the teacher's intervention, eh?

  15. #15
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I just expect to sit an listen as this guy flames out tomorrow. I talked with each commissioner and I know I have their support. They also have no time for this nonsense, there are some bigger problems to deal with. When all is said and done I expect to point out that your asking the commissioners to fire me with no warning and no history of poor performance because I don't give you the answer you're looking for and apparently I don't respond to letters fast enough. The code case is off the table for discussion since he is the tenant and not the property owner. It gets confusing since he put the property in someone elses name.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

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