COUNTY RESTRUCTURING TO EMPHASIZE SERVICE

COUNTY RESTRUCTURING TO EMPHASIZE SERVICE

By David R. King
Doña Ana County Manager

Doña Ana County is in the midst of a significant restructuring effort designed to facilitate the ability of Assistant County Manager Mack Wilson and me to better manage the county’s resources in ways that help the public understand the County’s role in their lives.

If there is one word that drives the entire restructuring initiative, that word is “SERVICE.”

The residents of Doña Ana County are fortunate to be served on a daily basis by such an outstanding and talented group of public servants. Unfortunately, the county continues to struggle to create a public image that reflects our employees’ collective professionalism and commitment to excellence.

The restructuring is driven in large measure by a desire to change the county’s public image and show the county residents how truly talented and able the county workforce is to get the job done.

To that end, county employees are being asked to shift their attitudes toward a service-oriented view of the world. We want to be able to find ways to say yes to our constituents rather than look for reasons to say no.

In any bureaucracy, there lurks a danger that a cultural climate will evolve in which a set of complicated rules governs the ways in which interactions with internal and external customers are conducted. Sometimes, simply explaining the rule helps our customers understand the reasons behind what we do and say. Even when we have to provide an answer that the customer doesn’t want to hear, we have an obligation to do it in a helpful and considerate way.

More often, however, there is something further we can do. We can look for ways to facilitate creative solutions to the issues at hand. Simply stated, we have a choice.

When presented with a situation in which someone asks for help, we can say one of three things:

• “No. We can’t do that.”
• “Yes, we can do that.”
or
• “I’m not sure we can do it the way you’re proposing, but let me help you find a way that we can get it done.”

Under the restructuring initiative, I will be demanding that department heads emphasize the “Yes we can” and the “Let me help you” strategies for dealing with requests for county services, help and assistance.

People simply should not run up against a brick wall in their dealings with county government.

I have emphasized that this attitude must apply equally to our fellow employees, just as it does to the public at large. When a fellow employee seeks help from another employee or department, he or she becomes a customer, and the rules of customer service should be equally applicable.

Emphasizing service through the restructured form of County government will help us change our image in the community for the better. I firmly believe I can count on our employees to work with me on this effort.