Letter: Bureaucrat bungling

Saturday, November 11, 2017
Bureaucrat bungling

Business managers usually take responsibility to get the job done right and satisfy customers. They also strive for profits, which includes cutting costs.

Government officials avoid responsibility, to avoid blame. Having no profits, they have no incentive to cut costs. Seldom fired, bureaucrats give pleasing the public low priority.

Here’s a real-life example of government bungling, high costs, and lack of caring: New York was a woman’s original home. She had a New York license and retained it while attending school in Indiana. At about the time of her graduation and departure for California she received a speeding ticket. She mailed a check to pay the fine. But, whoops, the Indiana court accepted payments only by credit cards, not checks. Uncashed, her check was returned to her Indiana address. This she didn’t know, having already moved. Indiana notified New York of her failure to pay the speeding ticket.

Many years later, the woman moved back to New York and applied for a new license. New York wanted the Indiana fine paid first. She did so, and Indiana mailed New York a letter saying that her case had cleared. Sorry, New York didn’t accept letters, only faxes. Sorry, Indiana didn’t send faxes, only letters.

She asked the Indiana court to send an official document saying that the case had cleared. Sorry, the Indiana court couldn’t do this and suggested that New York call the court. Sorry, New York made no phone calls on driver-license questions.

The woman obtained a receipt showing the Indiana ticket number and confirming that the fine had been paid. This she faxed to New York. Six weeks later, three months in all, no response.

By its very nature, government, unlike business, is prone to bungling, high costs and lack of caring.