Monday, October 20, 2008

City Registrar too busy

The City Registrar's office in Richmond once had a woman named Alice Lynch running it. In those days it was possible to call the office and get help with research over the telephone. When I called or went by the office I was treated with respect by workers who saw it as their job to be helpful. Lynch, herself, didn't mind looking up obscure facts, even old stuff written in logs by hand, to satisfy a request.

Now, when I call the modern, computerized registrar's office -- run by a woman named Kirk Showalter -- I get a runaround about how busy they are. Sometimes, the most simple questions about candidates are met with what some refer to as attitude.

So, I'm left to wonder, does Showalter have a smaller staff than did Lynch?

Richmond is no bigger than it was in Lynch's day, but for whatever reason now they are much busier. Under Lynch that office was clearly there to serve the taxpayers, including the working press. Now the registrar's staff would rather complain about how overwhelmed it is than do its job.


Anonymous said...

In fairness, when I wrote an email to the clerk about my absentee ballot, she replied immediately. I believe it was around 9:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Granted, I wish she could be more accommodating with questions and can the attitude, but from my end she appears busy. (She's not the clearest writer on the planet, though.)

F.T. Rea said...


In recent weeks I've been in touch with that office several times. My comments were about what has happened some of those times.

So, sometimes they have been helpful and courteous, most times not.

Roy said...

You said, "The City Registrar's office in Richmond once had a woman named Alice Lynch running it."

Yes, it was a brief, shining moment! Ms Lynch did a wonderful job -- she was a partisan, but executed the duties of her office in a strictly non-partisan manner, and with exemplary efficiency.

It may be unfair to compare the performance of the Current Occupant with Alice's reign, even as it would be unfair to compare George III to Arthur.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't disputing the department's rudeness at all. I just saw anecdotal support to her defense that she was busy. (Of course, she could have just opened her work e-mail account while watching TV.)