Have you ever worked with someone who refused to do what the boss said to do? They might have gotten off with a couple of warnings at first, but if someone continues along that type of path, it usually leads out the door.
Which makes me wonder why some of our elected officials are able to get away with ignoring what we say to them. Do they forget that they work for us and that we are in control of whether or not they keep their jobs come election time? Some of them let the power go to their heads and think that they’re no longer answerable to hard-working taxpayers like us.
This can be especially true when we let them know about a problem that needs to be dealt with. It might be a noisy neighbor or a big pothole or a dangerous intersection. Whatever it is, we expect and deserve a timely response because they are in office to serve us, not the other way around.
I got really interested when I saw this article, How Can I Get My Local Government to Pay Attention to Me, which discusses very practical ways to get your local elected officials to listen to what you have to say.
Here are six tips to follow when trying to get government officials to listen to you:
- Don’t rant and rave. All that will do is irritate them and make them put you at the back of the line. Be professional, logical and even-keeled and you’ll have a much better chance of accomplishing your goal.
- Deal with the appropriate level. Depending on the issue you would like addressed, it could be a city, county or state matter.
- Communicate with the right person. Unless you live in Mayberry, the mayor is probably not the best person to contact about your problem. Try to determine who is and connect with them.
- Get a face-to-face. If your emails and phone calls aren’t accomplishing anything, try to arrange for a face-to-face meeting with the right official.
- Organize your neighbors. If you have a problem with something in your neighborhood, others probably do, too. The more people you have onboard, the greater chance an official will make time for you.
- Create a paper trail. Document all of your communications with government officials and keep copies of theirs. It will come in handy when demonstrating to a higher-up that the official you’ve been trying to contact hasn’t been responsive.
Have you ever had an experience in which a government official ignored you when you were trying to communicate something important? How did you handle it? What tips would you recommend for getting a response? I’d love to hear some of your ideas about this.