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Saturday Musings
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Spring has truly sprung and the birds have discovered the joys of sunshine and convenient nesting spots again. From my chair here upstairs, I can hear the cooing of the doves and the raucous comments of the ravens.

Friday was extremely busy, with frantic managers running all over the place, flailing around, trying to meet the demands of the head honchos, who, in their panic over the financial crisis, are asking for every conceivable analysis of cost-related data, whether it makes sense or not.

It's often hard to interpret the questions: "What about office staff?" Well, what about them? What do you need to know? Shall I start: they all have one head, two arms, tall, short, on and on? Give me parameters and I'll give you an analysis.

Just how many times do you have to add up the number of full time employees in a particular section? Do they multiply overnight? The problem is, for one thing, data kept in separate databases not linked to each other--there is no one master database of employees. And each of the independent ones is only as good as the data put into it. So....

We analyze, and do "what if" constructs, I suppose, in the hopes that looking at it one more time will miraculously expose millions of dollars secreted away and forgotten.

In all fairness, I have to admit that in other divisions, funds have been "found" that were "lost". I still don't know how one loses a million dollars, let alone several, but I've been told to chalk it up to creative accounting.

Our division's expenses are quite straightforward and open to analysis, since our interface with the great American public is open to review at any time. We have been audited more than once and (since auditors need to justify their jobs too) found to be mildly lacking in customer service. Translation: we can't do everything for everybody all at once with reduced staffing.

I have a niggling suspicion that some deficit would always be found; first, because we're not perfect, no matter how hard we try. And second, because if we were rated 100%, then who would need auditors any more?

One difficulty is that the demographic patterns of our city and county have altered dramatically in the last 20 years, but the structure of the services we provide continues to be mandated for no change from what was set two decades in the past. It has become more and more difficult to measure up to our mission today, lacking the flexibility to do what we do best.

I want to be like a little bird and sing in the sunshine and forget all this nonsense. For it is nonsense. In a hundred years, who will know about it (or care)?

Time to go to Trader Joe's (thinking of Batty).

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