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Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
Bureaucratic Ineptitude At Work: The Tennesee Case 
16th-Nov-2005 07:20 am
Inspiration
Usually, people who cite bureaucratic ineptitude don't cite specific examples. I've decided that a simple example could serve quite well, should anyone need it.

I have a pager from a private firm, Skytel, which operates quite well except for one minor problem: the prior user of this ID worked for the state of Tennesee, and those who administer it can't be bothered to change it. I routinely get emails from the state which contain this sort of gobble-gobble:
"Incident HD0000000303916
Prority[sic] 3-Medium, Has been assigned to your Group." Other than indicating that the state of Tennesee has problems with its spelling (perhaps education should be more of a priority?), it's not terribly informative. I'm not sure who owns the "remedy@state.tn.us" email address, and the unvarying format may indicate that it is operated on autopilot, with no one reading the incoming emails. I've written them, enclosing copies of a few of the emails, and there has been no response. I understand from reading C-Net that governments can get terribly attached to little electronic devices to the point of wanting to ignore silly things like judicial orders (after all, who pays attention to judges? We are the government), so it's unlikely that they will undertake to review their pager list anytime soon. My only real question, of course, is this: should Skytel be suing them for theft of services? Should I? (that last is rhetorical -- I've got better things to do with my time than explain to clueless bureaucrats why paging me at 6:30am isn't a good idea).
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