Pauline deserves an apology

I TRUST I am not alone in my condemnation of the way Pauline Jasperson was treated.

Pauline, if you need reminding, is an 83-year-old who received a letter from Rockhampton Regional Council telling her to clean up her unsightly or overgrown yard or face the consequences.

One glance at Pauline's garden is all it takes to realise she should never have received that letter. Her yard is as prim and manicured as any in the region and she takes great pride in its upkeep.

The letter left her bemused, tearful and upset, and no wonder.

There's obviously been a mistake. But will Pauline get an apology? What do you think?

We'll never know which dead-brain sent her the letter but a council spokesman said the organisation "followed a process" to send the subject of a complaint a letter prior to a visit from council officers.

Presumably this is to save time. No matter that the recipient of such a letter might be deeply offended. Tough. That's the way we do things here. It's more efficient.

Well it certainly means that officers can sit around drinking tea instead of investigating whether a complaint is valid, malicious or mistaken.

The least she deserves in my opinion is a bunch of flowers and a basket of fruit along with a profuse and personal apology from the minion responsible.

What's that? Spending money on flowers and fruit for Pauline would not be an appropriate way to spend public money? Well I'm a ratepayer and I think it would entirely appropriate.

But I take the point. So let's deduct it from the wages of the officer who drafted the procedure in the hope it will make him or her realise the council exists to serve the public, not for the benefit of those who work for it.

I suggest, in future, when complaints of this nature are received they should be passed immediately to the appropriate divisional councillor to investigate. It would have only taken a few minutes. Pauline lives in West Rockhampton, not the far side of the moon.

If officers are too busy or too lazy to get off their backsides, then surely the councillors can go and have a look. We should be able to trust them to decide if there's a case to answer.


An Englishman Abroad with Adrian Taylor

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