I just have to laugh because otherwise I’d smother myself with a pillow. I’ve been documenting the responses I’ve received from the various people and organizations regarding the appropriations law violation issue. Today I called the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. I told Sarah the staff assistant who answered that I hadn’t yet received a response and I was calling to inquire as to the status. She said, “We get thousands of emails a day so it takes a while to address each one”. Wait, what? Thousands? Did I hear that correctly? It should give me some comfort to know that there are 999 other citizens out there who have issues regarding daily Government operations. Oddly enough it upset me more! Go figure. I said to her “I’ve emailed numerous times and I didn’t even get the standard email response back of thank you for your inquiry”. That’s Washington code as well. That translates to “if your email made it past our servers, it will be forwarded to the appropriate department where it will be sent to twenty federal employees; ten of whom have no earthly idea what the hell you’re talking about. Those ten employees will proceed to respond with a reply to all with history. The end result will be 50 responses back stating the same thing, please remove me from this e-mail list.” In the meantime, your email will sit in the inbox.
She went on to tell me that my inquiry would be forwarded to “the appropriate member of staff”. As opposed to what, an inappropriate member of staff? If I had a choice at this point, I’d pick the inappropriate staff member. If nothing else at least I’d get a laugh out of it. I said “I’m certainly familiar with the gaps in response time. I spent 16 years in Washington, so I understand it fully. I just think that’s a really long time to go without an acknowledgement.” She piped in immediately with “It took a while to get organized because of Trump’s inauguration.” I again had to shut my mouth. I decided it was best served not to go into my “continuity of operations” argument. Instead I asked her “Can you please tell me the name of the staff member who will be handling my inquiry?” My question was met with dead silence. When she finally spoke she said “I’m not sure, this office has well over 60 staff members”. I wanted to ask her which of those members were the appropriate ones but I decided against it. It’s a good thing I’m not a bookie.
In the end, she begrudgingly took my name, phone number and email address. I hung up the phone and just added that to my log book. On the bright side, I’m putting my PMP knowledge to very good use. My “lessons learned” documentation may in fact require a separate thumb drive.