Friday, February 15, 2013

City of McHenry - pretty big for its britches

Big-city procedures have hit little ol' McHenry.

Today I wanted to know the name and address of the new gun store on West Elm Street (Route 120) and the name of the gun store on Front Street. What better place to call than the City of McHenry.

A very polite employee returned my call this afternoon and let me know that I would have to email the Deputy City Administrator with my request.

I hope I was as polite to him as he was to me. I realized he was just the messenger, and it's not fair to "shoot the messenger." Now, don't get me wrong. I don't need or want the SWAT Team outside my door. I certainly didn't intend to shoot him. It's a phrase, don'tcha know?

No doubt he understood I wasn't very happy with the message. And there is no reason why I should have been happy with it. I realized he was just following orders. Stupid orders, but he was following them.

In the time it took him to listen to me begin to complain about the message (and the lack of information), he could have just told me.

Why should it be necessary to put in writing a request for this information? He didn't tell me to submit a FOIA request, just send an email. Well, before I'll do that, I'll drive to McHenry and get the information for myself. Sure, it's a waste of time and gas.

[Edited 2/18/13] A young woman called from the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce this (Monday (Washington's Birthday (celebrated))) morning to say that they don't know the names of the new gun store or the one on Front St. She was very friendly, upbeat and happy to try to help. She even suggested that I call exactly the department of the City of McHenry that I had called before I called the Chamber. Imagine that!


John Lovaas said...

Funny- most peple with internet access use the internet to find information.

I would not have called Woodstock City Hall(or any other City Hall) in 1973 to find business information; I knew that much as an 11 year old. Same rule applies today.

As to your bizarre passive agressive comment about their chamber of commerce- if this apochryphal gun shop doesn't join up(or exist), then the CoC would'nt be aware of their existence.

Unless, in your view of reality, Chamber of Commerces conduct intelligence gathering activities.

Gus said...

John, the City of McHenry would know the name and location of the new shooting range on West Elm Street because it issues building permits. It might or might not know the name of the gun store on Front St. (probably does)

Any brilliant Chamber of Commerce executive director would instruct staff to maintain a database not only of members, but of prospective members. A great way to get a new member is to refer business to them and then tell them they have done so.

However, there are chambers that have their collective noses in the air and, instead of promoting good will, they snub non-members. And the non-members know it. It has nothing to do with "intelligence gathering".

John Lovaas said...

No, Gus- only the department that issues the permit would be aware of a new business permit- and your post made it quite clear you did not ask to speak to anyone in the appropriate department.

As to the chamber of commerce? Perhaps they found your phone message confusing. Since you can offer no name or address for this 'new gun store', there may be no store at all. Just a story you heard.

Gus said...

Community Development at McHenry could have told me, John. My objection was to the requirement to make a written request.

Yeah, you're right, John. "Just a story I heard. Maybe no store at all." Probably somebody on West Elm Street just wasting thousands of dollars to put up the appearance (or mirage?) of a gun store. And probably the mention of it in the Northwest Herald a while back (several times) was just in my dreams.

Plans for a gun store a little farther east and on the south side of the street, considered by the guy with the gun store on Front Street, were canceled. Maybe that was just in my dreams, too.

John Lovaas said...

If you are actually claiming that you saw a new gun store on a McHenry- why on earth would you contact a public agency? Why not just visit the new gun store?

If you were able to determine that the owner spent thousands of dollars, you clearly saw something- which means you drove there at least once. Try driving there again.

It should be more productive than harassing innocent people.

Anonymous said...

I've never, ever thought to call a city/town government office to ask the name and address of a new business.

Mayberry USA is over, Gus. Use the internet. Jump on your bike and go see for yourself. Or better yet, call information.

Stop acting so clueless.

Gus said...

Kat - the business isn't open yet. If I knew the name of it, I'd look it up.

The City of McHenry knows. My point was that they didn't need to impose the inconvenience of a written request.

McHenry collected permit application fees and inspection fees. It wouldn't kill them to provide a little information by phone. At least, I hope it wouldn't.

Robert said...

It's not the job of city government (or any governmental unit) to provide directory assistance information to random callers. If you wanted to know about something involving a city action, such as permit or license, and framed your question as such, they might have been more helpful. In any case, they didn't refuse. Likely the aide was not knowledgeable and the City Administrator was busy with more pressing matters. I agree, the aide should have been willing to take your phone number and get back to you, but I think you're just making a mountain out of a molehill to make a point -namely that you don't like government or its employees very much, no matter how virtuous, and probably there's nothing any civil servant could do that would please you. Just guessing.

Gus said...

Thanks for your comment. With your luck in guessing on my motives or opinions, you might want to skip purchasing any lottery tickets this week.