Utah County Commissioners Vote Against Privatizing Government Services

January 17, 2018

At the Utah County Commissioner Meeting yesterday, Commissioner Greg Graves revealed he had pushed towards the privatization of government services and that he and the other commissioners had visited a government who had privatized its services but he was voted down by the other two commissioners Bill Lee and Nathan Ivie.

I was shocked because months ago Commissioner Bill Lee told me he was all for privatization and they were going to visit a county government that had gone private–I think he said it was in Georgia.

Some government employees such as Brandon Larsen in Utah County Planning & Zoning provide excellent customer service. Brandon answers all of my questions, cites county regulations to support his answers and explain my options, and whenever he doesn’t immediately have answers he says he must talk to staff and then follows up by email with detailed answers.

Although I don’t always agree with the county planning and zoning regulations, I respect Brandon Larsen because he reads the regulations, tries wherever he can to improve them, and abides by them.

In contrast, Utah County Environmental Health provides the worst-quality customer service imaginable. They refuse to answer my questions or reveal the laws to which they must adhere. They ignore all my requests to explain their processes and scientific methods before, during or after performing services for which I pay. Whatever they rule is mandatory even when they make a mistake.

To make matters worse, they sick their lawyers on me—the same lawyers who instruct Environmental Health employees to not answer my questions and to route all correspondence with me through them.

Last week, Jason Garrett emailed me and said they would answer my questions if I cancel the underground water monitoring for which I paid. Can you imagine being treated with such contempt by a company who wants to stay in business?

When a business treats you well, you are happy and motivated to employ them or shop at their store. You are happy to return regularly or whenever necessity requires. Costco employees are great examples of excellent, friendly service—they always smile and talk to us and whenever we must return anything, they are always pleasant and willing. Over the years at least three Costco female employees good became friends.

Doug’s Auto in Orem is another excellent example of outstanding, personable service. Doug and his two sons Jake and Kirk always save us money and sometimes don’t charge us because of our loyalty. Even more importantly, they know our names, our vehicle history, explain problems and solutions clearly and treat us as friends.

I would be thrilled if Doug, Jake and Kirk come to my funeral.

When you are not treated well by a business, you may demand to speak to a manager who is usually anxious to help and ensure your satisfaction.If you are still upset, to prevent others from experiencing similar, awful service, you may file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau or submit a bad review online on Yelp or Google Reviews.

Many employees outside of government have been fired for treating customers poorly but how often are government employees fired?

What recourse do you have when the government monopolizes their services and treats you with hostility? None.

by Robert John Stevens

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