Monday, November 28, 2011

Season's Greetings?

Having gone in and out of City Hall unimpeded for some time, I was surprised today to be stopped by a new "greeter" in the rotunda, who asked where I was going and insisted that I sign in.

Detecting my disdain for the process, the greeter asked me whether I didn't think it was important to have someone monitoring who enters City Hall. No, I did not.

This system of greeters began during the mayor's first term, when the large counter was also installed in front of the memorial plaques. The counter blocks names of some who made the ultimate sacrifice, which some residents found offensive. The greeter program faded away for a while, but the counter remains. Sometimes in the summer, young people serve as greeters, though individuals have been found fast asleep while on duty.

The new greeter did introduce himself and offered a handshake, but I still question a new hire for this on-again, off-again task.

Another somewhat disconcerting sight was the proliferation of flags and banners left over from Veterans Day, now surrounding the Christmas tree. I don't know where all these new flags came from, but their stands were still being assembled well into the Veterans Day ceremonies on Nov. 11. Two large banners are also competing for a visitor's attention in the rotunda, making for a very busy visual effect.

The large flag stands may even prove to be somewhat of a hazard when the annual Christmas Tree Lighting crowd throngs City Hall on Friday.

Call me a Grinch, but I prefer dealing with one holiday at a time, especially when the other one is three weeks past.

As for the greeter, the administration has the right to hire and fire employees without City Council involvement, but the governing body will have a role in dealing with the 2012 calendar year budget. Maybe the need for greeters can be clarified in budget talks. Or maybe they should go the way of the bodyguards.



  1. I think the greeter is a volunteer.

  2. I agree, get rid of the greeter, get rid of the desk, get rid of the banners, put away the flags, get rid of the flyers and if the mayor can't do any better get rid of her... I'm sure the greeter if not her church member is a friend of a friend or somehow connected.

  3. No resident should have to sign in to City Hall to be able to conduct business there. I certainly would not--by whose authority does the "greeter" have the right to know what business someone may be conducting there? Is there some sort of ordinance that I am not aware of? The big, ugly, clunky desk is still there, blocking the War Memorial plaque, as is (at the rear of city hall) the dusty, faded cloth flowers that rest on the little table with the dirty, dingy tablecloth. All this junk mars our nice rotunda. Please remember that city hall belongs to the "Corporation," not to the administration.


  4. I totally agree with too many flags. It takes away from the beautiful details of the rotunda.

  5. Pride is missing from city hall. But who is going to do something about it?

    Maria Pellum

  6. On 11/15/11 Dan, your nemesis, reported that funds were being made available for a staffer for the Mayor's office. A volunteer? I doubt it. Did anyone question why the Mayor, after laying off so many, needed another staffer? I doubt it.

    "City Council then first passed a resolution allowing for the transfer of funds between accounts in order to hire former Acting City Administrator Dave Kochel's firm to consult for the City and to make more funds available to the Mayor's office for an additional staffer".

  7. @6:18: My understanding is that the funding was to restore hours for mayoral aide Barbara James, who had been laid off. The city must submit layoff plans to the state and sometimes the results hit a favored person. The title of confidential aide to the mayor was created in early 2006 and James has been at the mayor's side ever since.