Peter Auger, Auburn Hills City Manager
Thoughts on running a city, daily musings, and everything in between.
City Manager, Auburn Hills, MI
Sure you have. It might be part of the human DNA. Even after “the Game” this week end, I questioned running a less than 6 foot guy weighing less than 200 lbs. (soaking wet) up the middle in crucial situations when the Ohio opponent hasn’t stopped him outside all day. Geez, even I wouldn’t do that. Not only wouldn’t, but haven’t.
Think of all the Monday morning quarterbacking going on by those who never played quarterback, let alone football.
Ever said, “If I was Governor I would…., if I was President I would….”?
Sometimes we feel that way in our line of work. We work from the government and we are here to help you…
We happen to work for a successful organization. We are not perfect; when we find something that can be improved on we look at it. Rules are changing rapidly on what we can do to continue running operations. Some of these are Federal Mandates (AAHCA) or by the state, not living up to state shared revenue obligations or changing taxes we are allowed to collect.
The above are challenging enough, but sometimes it is the outside forces that don’t know, and they don’t know they don’t, but that doesn’t stop them from stating what a problem is and even better how to solve it. Wow, is that clear as mud?
We even have to respond to conspiracy theories. One had me taking a trip to a Caribbean Island by an unnamed cement contractor. This was actually printed in a letter to an editor. Fortunately, I was able to arrange a meeting with the accuser and ask him what he was talking about and when I supposedly went on this trip (my wife was also curious). He admitted not knowing that I ever had, nor that I had any such relationship, but “you know that stuff happens all the time.” Kind of makes the job more challenging, don’t let facts get in the way.
A recent conspiracy theory was that we keep our financial documents secret and the public has no access to them. They then quoted how much funds we have listed in the document (real secret if he has on-line access to our financial documents and we put them out there for all to see). Sometimes it seems like we are left to serve a soup sandwich, because after the allegations or misstatements we have responded to something that does not exist. We even have one instant where the party was so adamant they were correct, they took us to State and Federal Court, yes we prevailed, but at a cost of over $100,000. Now that doesn’t seem like efficient use of tax payer dollars.
I am sure this happens in most professions, everyone has the answers they just don’t know what the question is.
Recently someone complained about a late fee on their water bill, blaming the post office and our employees. Our staff responded that this can be common with automatic pay from some financial institutions as sometimes they mail the payment the day date selected instead of a few days prior to the due date. The person was upset until our team member explained how to resolve the issue in the future.
I guess the moral of the story is before we judge or jump to conclusions, maybe we should ask some fundamental questions, maybe we will have less stress in the long run.
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