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Everything I know about working for the government I’ve learned from Leslie Knope. But after talking to one City of Charlotte employee I’ve found out that I have a few things wrong. Ok, a lot of things wrong. Here are her confessions about unexperienced managers, expensive office furniture and how everyone loves to hate the airport department.
Is your job basically like Parks and Rec?
I WISH! My job is much more aligned with Jerry Maguire. I’ve never realized how cutthroat working for a municipality can be.
What’s the best part about your job? The worst?
The best part is working with great people. I don’t know if I could have stuck around this long if it weren’t for them. We all share the same passion and really want to make Charlotte better.
The worst is that I’ve seen politics bring out the worst in people. I hate that this job has made me so cynical. I’ve gotten to a point where when leadership asks us to do stuff in the community I can only guess that they want us to do it for show. This is confirmed when those same leaders show up to those events for five minutes… or not at all.
Do you love Charlotte more or less after working for the City of Charlotte?
When I first found out that I would be working for the City of Charlotte I was beyond ecstatic. I would be working for the city that I love and I thought I couldn’t find something better. Boy, was I wrong.
After working for the City I’ve grown to resent where I live. As a citizen and an employee, I hate knowing the things I do. I’ve always said, “If only the taxpayers knew the crap money was spent on or all the stuff that goes on…” and I, unfortunately, am one of those taxpayers.
What should taxpayers know about City of Charlotte?
Learn where your taxpayer money is going. Don’t be afraid to ask for a breakdown of where money is being spent. A lot of news stations already ask for public records, but they never ask for the records I wish they would. It’s taken a lot out of me not to say anything when I pass news vans.
So… what should we ask about?
Ask how much the trips are that the City Manager’s Office and City Counsel takes. When I found out (as a taxpayer, of course) that some employees were getting upgraded seats because they didn’t like to sit in the back of the plane or that they would stay an extra night just so they could explore, it made me sick.
Where else does the city waste taxpayer money?
New leadership will come in and buy close to $10,000 of new office furniture because they don’t like the expensive stuff that’s already in there.
I also think employee appreciation events are a HUGE waste. The past two years have consisted of an appreciation event at the BB&T ballpark, yet only 10% of the City’s employees showed up.
Do government groups fight amongst themselves? Do the Animal Control employees hate the Waste Management employees? I don’t know why I want this to be true.
Gosh, I wish this were true. From what I know, Animal Control employees don’t hate our Solid Waste group.
I’d say if anything goes on between groups, it’s a little bit of rivalry. Right now, the group everyone loves to hate is the airport. A lot of talent is headed that way because they truly have their act together, so a lot of people want to be part of that department.
Any other confessions?
I’ve discovered that time working for the City means more than experience in that field. A LOT of people are in higher management roles and don’t even know how to do the work of those they supervise.