GOOD CLEAN FUN AT THE EXPENSE OF THE BUREAUCRACY: Actual minutes of a Forest Service branch meeting.

Branch meeting minutes 3-2-2020 (names changed to protect the indigent)

Branch Chief King Kong Bundy presented a short video of former Arkansas Razorbacks and Notre Dame Fighting Irish football coach Lou Holtz titled: I WAS BORN WITH A SILVER SPOON IN MY MOUTH

The gist of the video was to illustrate that while he grew up in a one room shack in West Virginia, he had been blessed to live in the land of opportunity.  He went on to say that life is full of struggle but as long as individuals keep 4 things in the forefront of their grind then it’s a safe bet they’ll realize some measure of successful self-actualization: have something to do, whether immediately or something to work toward to realize in the future; something/someone to love, like Freddy Mercury used to sing about; something greater than yourself to believe in; and something to hope for, even though the world is crashing around you the idea that there is something out there promising better days ahead can be a strong persuader.

Notable quotes from the presentation:

“Never a wrong time to do the right thing.”

                                “Life is a struggle, Embrace it.”
                                                                “Do everything to the best of your ability.”

Center Support Supervisor, the Great Kabuki acknowledged Lou Holtz is a tough act to follow, then did his best to give a cogent presentation on the importance of adhering to the Branch Mission Statement, specifically going about your daily business in an efficient, effective and respectful manner, with an emphasis on respectful. Also pointing out the fact that though our specific jobs may have strict parameters, we must all keep in mind the boilerplate text at the end of all our job descriptions: and all other duties as assigned. It is intrinsic in the center support name that we pick up the odds and ends, whatever they may be, in order that the center personnel we all are assigned to are happy and eager to come to work each day.

Contact Center Supervisor the Fabulous Moolah was up next and brought many slides to the silver screen that I couldn’t quite catch up with as my note taking is somewhat less than the speed of sound, leading to an incomplete picture of what was there to be seen, although I did get the distinct impression that the contact center is very busy … a partial overview of what to me imparted this impression follows:

Program Support BranchàContact Center= 1. Takes calls/builds cases 2. Supports and maintains e-tickets 3. Self Services (itself?) 4. Optimizes report (analytics: testing and systemic) 5.  Finalizing queue manager roles 6. Training and coaching duties still being bandied about 7. Supporting and solidifying these various functions with wkly staff meetings 8. Analyzing the feasibility of taking on special projects.

In the midst of all this rapid change, the Fabulous Moolah emphasized the need to “slow down and do it right the first time” rather than blindly bursting forth into several job functions at once, guaranteeing the failure of all of them, thus driving a stake through the false God of faulty management known as Multi-tasking which has always only been a euphemism for catastrophic rapid failure on many fronts (CRFOMF). It’s correct and accomplishable antilogy being Job Task Prioritization.

Having said this, the contact center is busting ahead into several new exciting frontiers of accountability, schedule enhancement, rotation of e-tickets, queue management as well as an update of the customer service electronic portal.

A new Travel TOS is in the works for the contact center which will eventually be managing 3 new Travel TOS online inboxes. This new facet is being over seen by E and J.

The contact center is also working on creating new daily TOS reports. This endeavor is being managed by K and K.

Contact center is also looking into Travel TDY, whatever that is: vouchers, authorization filing and reporting aspects of said. This new branch of the contact center umbrella is headed up by A and J.

On top if this all, full FATA access is being requested with the team assignments for this function pending.

Obviously, the call center is very important. Staff must be given the time and latitude to be able to pay attention to detail and ensure accountability is realistically maintained in a fair and effective manner.

Safety Guru Jake “the snake” Roberts brought up the rear of the day’s presentations with a seasonal allergy roundup of New Mexico-specific list of pollen-producing plants and their particular irritants. The takeaway for me was knowing there is a certain island in the Hawaiian chain that has a Marine base that allows government employees to cheaply camp on the beach and get away from all the juniper and airborne cottonwood pods for a while as long as you can afford the plane ticket, though he was not (I wonder why?) forthcoming on the name of said island.