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Letter: ‘A leader praises in public and criticizes in private’

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In the March 24 RDR, there was a diatribe about the city’s Water Department and how they ‘dropped the ball’ and it was a ‘big failure’ for the city. I do not agree.

The best defense is a good offense. Councilman Roebuck has this play down to an art form. As the chairman of the Infrastructure Committee, who does he think should have been responsible for overseeing the implementation of the water billing system’s accounting software?

He should have been aware, on whatever schedule this committee meets, of the status of the accounting/billing system being upgraded into the Water Department and whether it was being tested by the contractors and what problems the employees were experiencing along the way. So casting his net wide by including “the city employees” as being at fault and of having a “poor reputation” (What?) is a deflective maneuver to assure you all that he isn’t to blame or responsible for the problem.

Let me just say it would not be out of line for the contractor to be “in the building” sitting in the Water Department to help get the issues resolved as a full-time technical problem solver until this is resolved. I am assuming this was part of the contract, and if it wasn’t I’d like an explanation as to why not.

Finally, a leader praises in public and criticizes in private. If I were one of your employees I would feel demoralized by your characterization of their department. Just imagine how they must feel for a moment. Not only living through the stress of the pandemic, but also undergoing an entire new system, a new supervisor, thousands of annoyed customers calling about their screwed-up water bills? All while several of their co-workers are out in quarantine or ill.

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For myself, I called in early January, left a message, had my call returned within 24 hours by a very pleasant, polite and completely professional employee. She assured me I would not be given a late charge and explained the issue in the nicest way. I have never thought poorly of the Water Department. There is an old adage, 10% of your problems take up 90% of your time. I think you exaggerate people’s capacity to understand and you sure don’t understand your employees willingness to do a good job.

Do better.

Sarah McArthur
Roswell

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