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Demand real customer service, councillors


I knocked off early yesterday and drove into town from our farm at Ormond to pay my rates, one day early as I'm unable to make a trip to town today. I choose to pay in person instead of online as a personal statement.

I walked up to the council door at 2.15pm to see a sign saying due to Covid-19, customer service hours are 10-2. Me and another ratepayer, also there to pay her rates, exchanged some profanities about how unhelpful this was.

As I drove home I thought how typical of council to be so far removed from practical business sense and customer service normality. I felt some urgent feedback was required, if only I could actually speak to a real person . . . so I phoned 867 2049 and took a deep breath.

The first live human voice was a fail. I explained to him that tomorrow is rate payment day and 10-2 is just not going to work. Lots of good citizens will be making the trip to council outside of these hours and could I please speak to a manager to suggest they open from 9-5 like everyone else. He tried to defend 10-2 and mentioned that it had been advertised on four media and on Facebook, which I don't do. He reluctantly agreed to put me through to someone, which of course went straight to voicemail.

This has been “the straw that broke the camel's back” for me, and I feel a need to warn others not to raise their expectations of good customer service from our council.

With my rate demands came a leaflet about Covid-19, including payment of rates with no mention of reduced customer service hours.

This follows years of frustration when dealing with council. I also tried for a warrant of fitness on a Saturday or two before Christmas, to find the council-owned business closed but the opposition down the road flat out.

I won't even start on waiting for the council to process a subdivision from over 12 months ago.

So come on councillors, tell the CEO that we ratepayers demand real customer service, not lip service.

Gary Hope

  1. Dave says:

    Gary, I also wondered why our council is only open part-time when all other businesses are back at work full time. One just hopes that the counter staff are busy out the back helping the rest of the staff catch up. There is no excuse not to be open normal hours. Time for the council to get real.

  2. Michelle Brown says:

    A 20 percent pay cut is what is needed here. The PM did it, why not our council workers!? 4hrs open? Really shocking! Take a pay cut you guys!!!

    1. Kelvin says:

      Calm down, where did you get the idea that GDC staff only work four hours a day? They actually are all working eight hour days, and most have been doing this throughout the entire lockdown. There is a lot more to running a city’s infrastructure than just what you see in the Letters to the Editor.
      But hey! Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.