I was in the process of writing a post on how the government still doesn't know when I was born and the problems that that seems to be causing, when suddenly I got a call from that part of the government. Which, I wonder if what happened is that the bureaucrat I talked with (who was on the national, not local, phonebank I believe), who let me know the government still doesn't know when I was born, responded with a WTF? and called up one of my local ones which in turn caused them to call me. Because it seems very unlikely to be coincidence.
Now, this marks another thing against the bad bureaucrat from before (good god do I wish I'd gotten the good one two days in a row instead of being stuck with the bad one on the second day) because the last thing that happened before we parted was that she printed out a piece of paper with various information on it and asked me to verify it under penalty of similar-to-perjury and I had to say, no, it isn't correct, those two fours should be nines. And I pointed out which two fours because other fours on the page really were supposed to be fours.
And then she asked me again to verify its accuracy under penalty of similar-to-perjury, "Is this information correct to the best of your knowledge," and I said, and I quote, "Except for the phone number."
Reason I haven't heard anything in over a month? In spite of her claims of doing it right there and then on her computer, she never fixed the phone number. So anyone trying to contact me ended up getting a law office or some such.
Then, apparently, it was guessed that this could be a case of 4-9 confusion and the call came in. Or, if as I suspect calling up at the national level to try to understand resulted in movement at the local level, maybe whoever called the local office gave them the phone number I used to call the local level.
Anyway, the bureaucracy is too small, that's why you're left on hold and the waits are agonizing and no one ever likes the idea of having to go to the DMV (or in my state BMV). There are not enough customer facing employees to handle the customer load. Thus waiting. But I wonder if the undersized bureaucracy has another effect too. If there are only a few employees then getting rid of the ones who suck is getting rid of a fairly large part of your workforce.
If there's any gap between, "I've got to let you go," and hiring and training a replacement there are few enough people that either you're going to have to significantly increase the workload of those remaining or you're going to have to keep the person on which means you've got an employee who was crap to begin with but now is pissed off at you too.
If you've got twice as many employees you can cull the worst element from the herd while only increasing the load on those who remain until a replacement can be made by half as much.
The fewer employees you have, the more incentive you have to keep ones who are, objectively, crap but still remain largely adequate in their crappy way. You don't have the scale to absorb their absence until you find and train a suitable replacement.
Anyway, I do support the bureaucracy in general because they do important and frustrating work, but there need to be more of them (wait times are atrocious) and they need to be better about getting the worst elements out. The first is a much simpler thing to do than the second. The first is served by just hiring more people (and train them of course.) But the second...
If most people only deal with someone once or twice, how do you determine how well that someone is serving those people? I don't know.
By the way, national phone bank person seemed as confused as I was as to why my original birth certificate, which I brought into the building, wasn't enough and the local felt it necessary to get a new one from the hospital directly. Still have no answer as to that. I wonder if they're allowed to make judgments on the spot of the form, "I don't like how this person looks, let's use as much scrutiny as we can."