Daily Scoop: Insight on working behind closed doors

Finance Director Joan Swanson’s been a fixture at Philomath City Hall for many years — in fact, I think she’s been the city’s only finance director this century. Someone with that type of experience in one place most certainly can offer interesting perspectives.

So when she shared a few details about what it’s been like at City Hall through the pandemic, I listened with interest. As you may or may not know, city offices continue to operate with locked doors in the interest of keeping their employees and the public safe and limiting the spread.

Swanson said it’s an unfortunate situation but added that it’s worked out pretty well.

“Most of our customers are able to call us and deal with their issues over the phone and oftentimes, people are just coming to the office to pay either court bills or utility bills and we’re able to handle those over the phone.”

Swanson said with a chuckle that the staff is actually not all that happy working at home.

“They want to be in the office, they want to instantly answer the phone, but we are having to at times just return phone calls maybe a few hours later, maybe a day later,” she said, “but we are getting those phone calls taken care of and helping customers as best we can.”

Municipal court occurs as scheduled each month but there are restrictions in place.

“We are limiting the number of people in the courtroom at a time, but the judge has been able to adjudicate the court cases and we’re moving those along,” she said.

A big message out of Swanson’s comments revolved around her thoughts on how the staff is performing.

Said Swanson, “They’ve done an excellent job and I’ll always go out of my way to say what a great city staff we have because we have a lot of really caring people that do a great job.”

Anyway, just a little insight from the perspective of one of our city government employees.

(Daily Scoop is a blog published by the Philomath News. This blog often contains news items but also could include opinions of Brad Fuqua, publisher/editor).

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