Friday, May 15, 2015

Bureaucracy, as usual

  I got a letter the other day.  There was nothing unusual about that, of course, and it was not unusual that it was from the housing authority, saying that there would be an inspection at my house.  I have been getting a Section 8 rental subsidy for years, and one of the requirements is that there be an annual inspection.
   The letter was actually about a follow-up inspection.  After the initial inspection, some work had to be done, and this was an inspection to see if the work had been done. This was a bit unusual, but it has happened a fair amount in past years. 
   What was unusual – though I suspect not that unusual – is that the inspection had taken place two days before. Things began getting unusual three days earlier, when the inspection was supposed to happen, and I got a call from a woman at the housing authority saying that there wouldn’t be an inspection that day and asking if it could be rescheduled for the next day. This has never happened before, but it was okay, because it happened I had no plans for going out.
   Things really got unusual, if not downright crazy, when I got that letter.  It came on May 14, and it was dated May 11 and said an inspection would take place on May 12.
   What were they thinking?  Clearly, they weren’t thinking – they were probably just following procedure, most probably – and, again, I suspect it’s not that unusual. This is bureaucracy.  This is what is meant by the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing.  Sure, it takes only pennies to prepare and mail such a letter, but who knows how many such letters are prepared and mailed (I have gotten them before), and lots of pennies do add up.  As you can gather from my recent posts, all these pennies can be spent in better ways.      

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