3 Responses to “The Confusing Lines of Government Organizations – What Makes Sense to Some is Difficult for Others”

  1. Rick Morse

    Good stuff Brian. This makes me think of the economic concept of information asymmetry. Public servants inherently have more knowledge about government operations than the average citizen, creating a power imbalance that is usually the subtext of interactions. I think that can lead to mistrust, especially when citizens are getting their information in fragments, and usually from a critical stance. That is why the personal connection and responsiveness you are talking about (I think) goes a long way toward building trust. It is easy to be skeptical or even fearful of the “faceless bureaucrat” but much harder to do so when one is dealing with a friend.

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  2. Katy Harriger

    A great post that identifies a real challenge in a governmental system with so many layers. In some ways, social media and electronic communication have made it so much easier to find out government information that one needs, but in other ways is has become so impersonal and sometimes frustrating (sometimes you really DO need to talk to a human being) that I fear it contributes to the distance between public servants and the people they serve.

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  3. Kevin Amirehsani

    Thanks, Brian. Funny, I just read this and remembered an article I came across yesterday about San Diego’s 911 dispatchers being inundated with non-emergency calls – http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/public-safety/a-311-call-line-could-ease-911-burden-but-city-balks-at-implementing-it/ . It might not be cost-effective for a smaller town like Knightdale, but a lot of medium and large cities have put in place 311 systems (both phone-based and interactive websites) whose sole purpose is to help residents get in touch with the right person within their local government, or to file a service delivery request/complaint with the right department. Some of the better examples include Boston’s (http://www.cityofboston.gov/311/) and New York’s (http://www1.nyc.gov/311/index.page). Much smaller jurisdictions have also had success with this type of model. And the widely-used Open 311 technical standard can be found here: http://www.open311.org/ .

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