Monday, April 07, 2008

2:32 AM

In our modern consumer world where stores are open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week I was struck by how different the world of government operates. Here are two prime examples from my State of Minnesota that showcase how governments simply do not operate like the rest of us in the private sector:

  • Last week our Minnesota House of Representatives debated the state budget legislation for 14 hours which ended at 2:32 am, and
  • Today I went to our local city council office to submit some new paperwork they require for landlords only to discover the city offices close each day at 4:30 pm

In the first example above one could argue that the debate schedule in the House was a good thing for citizens since you could leave work, say at 5 pm, to catch hours of remaining debate over the state budget since they debated until 2:32 am.

But let me ask my readers who work in the private sector -- does your company have staff meetings until 2:32 am to determine next year's sales plan? Ok, I admit that alot of corporate decisions have probably been made in a bar around 2 am but overall companies are keeping employees in conference rooms until the wee hours of the morning.

No the real problem here is the "quality" of this budget debate -- how many state legislators were even awake at the closing hours of this debate BUT even more important -- did state legislative leaders think these "business hours" benefited the average Minnesota citizen? Even if we tried I doubt my wife and I could have found a baby sitter for the 6 pm to say 3 am shift if she and I wanted to be watchdogs for taxpayers during this legislative debate.

As the old adage goes -- "sunshine is the best disinfectant" -- and that could not be truer when it comes to government. Ending the debate at 8 pm would not have harmed anyone other than those members of the "takings coalition" who want to extract even greater tax revenues from us tax slaves.

On the opposite end of this 2:32 am government business timeframe is my local city council mentioned earlier which has its office open from 8 am to 4:30 pm. Fortunately I don't commute like many people in our community do so I can stop by during these hours to conduct my business but let's say you start your morning commute at 7 am and leave the office at 6 pm which returns you home at 7 pm -- zero opportunity to complete your business before the city council. Unless of course all government services are online/website-based which is the case in the country of Estonia. Personally I tried to complete my landlord registration form via my city council's website but it failed to work so I had to start over by simply printing out a copy to mail or deliver to the council offices.

Government offices need to scrap their union rules and their pushing through legislation under cover of darkness so that the average citizen can participate in and protest their government.

Reform starts with customer service,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now we're getting somewhere!!! DJM (Submitted at 4:11AM, 4/8/08)