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Bad attitude

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Paul in bama

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Just curious if any of you run into this as often as I do. Is it just me? I frequently visit 4 county courthouses to gather data. 3 out of the 4 are no problem, I go in, kindly request a little bit of information (parcel #, legal, taxes, etc...) look at the property cards, and I'm out in about 15 minutes.
However, this one courthouse in particular seems to have the grumpiest employees ever. They always seem to be having a bad day and it almost makes you not want to bother them with any questions, but I have to get the job done so...
One day I asked for a printout of the tax data for a piece of property and the woman replied "sure, it's only paper.." in a sarcastic tone of voice. I have been to courthouses where they charge a dollar per page, and that is fine, I have no problem with that. But that this courthouse does't charge anything, if they did I would pay it just so that I wouldn't have to hear those type of remarks anymore.
Does anyone else encounter this with courthouse employees that try to make it seem like you are bothering them by asking them to do part of their job? :?
 

slacker

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2002
I get that attitude occasionally. When I have one that's extra crabby I usually ask for more info than I need to really get them all worked up. Then I remind them that they were hired by the Township Assessor who happens to be an elected official. One in particular charges .10 cents for a copy.

Maybe I’m just evil but I’ll whip out 5 bucks and tell them I need all 5 property folders that I requested copied in full. When they finish I’ll tell them “didn’t I say 2 copies each?” I’ve seen veins in some foreheads almost pop out of the skin after that comment.
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Yes, want to see them get real grumpy, remind them that they are civil servants, of course the next time you come in they'll have a real hissy fit.
Kill'em with kindness and see if that works.
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
I guess I am fortunate enough to work in El Paso County where the Assessor is one of the most progressive, energetic, and enthuastic politicians I know. His office is a model of efficiency. So is their webpage...check it out sometime.

I would suggest you have a conversation with the assessor if his people are not providing good service to the public in general. After all, it is an elected position. Perhaps even a little contribution to his/her re-election fund would "grease the wheels" abit. Elected officials often wonder why all of a sudden they don't get re-elected...many times it is the support staff who fail to support.
 

Caterina Platt

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
New Mexico
Don't take it personally Paul. While one of my biggest pet peeves is the lack of customer service in general these days, I've also heard some of the phone calls and walk ins these folks have to deal with. For example, trying to explain the process of probate to a grumpy old guy with the equivalent of a 3rd grade education. All the old man understands is some fools at the county are holding up the process of his inheritance and he's there to take it out on whoever will listen. Their superiors are rarely there because they were qualified to mangage others, just cause they won the election for whatever reason. To top it off, most public employees aren't paid squat. Moral must be at a real low in this particular one.

Joe has a great idea about killing them with kindness. Take in a basket of chocolates or something. I've done this with the assessor's and clerk's offices and it works real well. All they generally need is the feeling of appreciation from someone. Unfortunately, it isn't coming from their employer.....
 

Paul in bama

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
The kindness approach doesn't seem to work. Every year around Christmas time we give out gifts (cookies etc...) to clients and others that we interact with during our business year. We always give these to the people in the courthouse offices. We use to give them paper every now and then. Maybe next time I will ask the lady if there is anything I can do to improve the quality of life for her, of course I may not want to hear that answer. I enjoy going to the courthouses that have a computer set up so that I can get all the info I need without having to ask for it, I only wish they were all on that wagon.
 

Daniel Williams

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Appraiser Trainee
State
Illinois
I work about 5 rural (semi rural :? ) counties in Southern Illinois. My MAIN beef if more with the Timelyness of the data. My home county (Jackson) is ALWAYS over 6 months behind on filing Tax declarations (green sheets). There are about 8 workers in the office and i have NEVER seen more than 1 or 2 activily engaged in work. They are usually reading a Magazine,openly gossiping (I DON"T wanna hear!), or stuffing their faces with goodies and junk food. Now I'm not an efficency expert but I do think they could maybe catch up if they would acctually WORK!

I was in there one day doing a check of my own record card....they had LOST it. I was checking Sf....it was approx 200 Sf larger than it should be.
I had a copy of the old Card (with incorrect Sf) I copied it for them MAKING the corrections and they accepted it. Guess it was easier than looking for it!
 

Blue1

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
The problem with government offices is that they are not businesses that make a profit and therefore, are not dependant on customers for their livlihood. When you go into a County office, you are just another problem to be taken care of in their eyes. I agree with the kindness bit.....go in bearing gifts and then you WILL be a vauled "customer."
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
I am lucky enough that the court house and tax office personnel, in the areas that I typically serve, are super nice. I even get all of the info over the phone when in a pinch. But, it does help to walk in with some "thank you" goodies every now and then. :wink:

There is one neighboring county, however, that I absolutely dread! :evil: The court house personnel are very helpful, but the tax assessor's personnel will just sit there and stare with an ES look :x hoping you will go away. When I get a request for that area, the LO usually calls back very quickly asking why I charge an extra $50 to $100. I tell 'em like it is, but thank God it is not very often.
 

Caterina Platt

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
New Mexico
You hit the nail on the head Blue. That is exactly the problem. But until someone comes up with an alternative solution to the government....

I'm really lucky with the counties I deal with. All the employees I run across tend to be very helpful and efficient. This is impressive to me in my home county as right now they are dealing with a huge budget shortage and are experiencing layoffs, decreasing hours, etc.

Paul, you can always try the small talk approach. Compliment the shoes or something. If you still get a cold fish attitude, you might even try to cut to the mustard in a joking manner. "Something about me must really bother you. Do I have dogbreath or something?" Hopefully you'll get a giggle and move forward with the ice broken. Who knows, maybe you remind her of her ex husband. :?:

If nothing works, then by all means, Mike is right-talk to a superior. You shouldn't have to feel like an unwelcome virus to obtain public records.
 
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