Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our Government at Work

Jill: This is another guest post from Hubby.

Hubby: It seems my lovely bride has "typer's block" once again so I volunteered my efforts. For those of you who aren't from these parts, the county of Jefferson in which we live is cash-strapped, defunk, and whose problems I feel began when it was once run by a commision headed by the now criminally indicted mayor of the great city of Birmingham...Larry Langford.

All that being said, I found myself in need of a tag for the aforemetioned motorcycle I typed about in my previous guest post. The photo below is a shot of roughly 15, no joke, of the probably 800+- people who were at the courthouse today to get their auto tag issued, transferred, or renewed.

The county had at work to handle this mass influx of tag-seekers, 2 well trained, highly motivated employees who moved like a bowl of Mrs. Butterworth's finest on a cold winter day.

I arrived at 650am at the BACKDOOR of the courthouse where already a line of 37 had gathered (I was #38). I felt good about my placement, however I knew there was an equally lengthy line building at the front door of the courthouse...probably actually longer. At 8am the doors opened and the fun began. By 820am I'm through the metal detector and on my way to the revenue office to join the line of (I shortly found out) 65 others who beat me to the merging line indoors (I was #66). I stood at this location for 1hr and 10 min when I was allowed in the doors of the revenue office. This is where the "people organizers" (like at rides at amusement parks) were set to take people about 15 yards (45ft) to the left and then return roughly 20 yards (60ft) to the location I referred to as the "batter's box". The 105ft journey took 4 hours!

It is truly an embarrassment to know I live in a county that allows it's residents to be treated this way! What bothers me more, however, is the fact I believe the county is allowing this due to the 1.5% occupational tax being voted down and that has cut into their budget. This tax brought in millions of dollars for the county and, as I understand, was to be used for schools, roads, etc...but was actually being used to pay the salaries of many county employees. The courthouse is so crowded each day due to the satellite offices being closed. This means everyone in the most populated county in the state visit this location for all tag, license, permit, etc...functions.

Anyways, since I'm sure I've bored all who might be reading this to sleep, I left 6.5 hours later (130pm) without a tag, without the title transfer being input, and $4 poorer due to the 4 trips I had to make to the parking meter. How ironic would it have been if while standing in line to get a tag for my motorcycle, I get a ticket for meter expiration AND not having a tag?

I arrived home around 155pm, enjoyed the remainder of the Fritos' (I love them), and later went on a late afternoon/early evening ride on my bike. Pretty good day overall...many people would feel it was a wasted day but to have several hours where I wasn't overwhelmed by work calls on my cell phone, it was almost all worth it.

The good news is I will return to the courthouse for my tag as soon as I receive some necessary paperwork from my bike's previous owner.

I'll get there this time at 6am...or maybe earlier. Wish me luck!

Jill: Oh my word - can you believe he has a good attitude about that! I would have wanted to put my fist through a wall and would complain about it for days (maybe years)!


Tracy Calvert said...

There is a reason they refer to irrational behavior that results in physical harm, typically death, as "going postal". It inevitably is instigated by incompetent government employees. I would not have exercised Jay's restraint (I'm with ya, Jill) nor would I plan to return any time in the near future, nor would I have given a flyin' fohoota if my parking meter had expired. Actually, I would have had a t-shirt made in anticipation of my trip for the tag/title transfer and I also would have called the local news channels. Kudos to Jay for much more patience than me!

Mama Hen said...

Oh my goodness Jay. If you can stand in line all morning like that and still have a good attitude you would be great at homeschooling my children. You could ride your motorcycle down here every day. No pay though. I would make you a PB&J for lunch though. Whatcha say?

Peeperspage said...

I'm with you also Jill, I WOULD not be nice about it or have a good attitude about it. I am just wondering is this something you could not do on the internet? I went to get my new tag the other day and there were about 20 people in line and I went home and ordered it online paid 2.00 and got my tag within the week. WELL worth it IMO.

Lianne said...

What a NIGHTMARE! Jay must have the patience of a saint.