Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ulster County: An Exercise in Inefficiency

On Wednesday, I was scheduled to take a typing test for the second part of the Senior Clerical Series of the Civil Service Exams. I have concerns about a number of things that happened during the exam, but one particular problem stands above the others.

Moments before beginning the exam, an alarm went off in the building and we needed to leave, fire-drill style. Our paper work, including SSNs, addresses, etc. was all left inside, and some left their identification, purses, etc. Once we were outside, the exam monitors proceeded to initiate the process required in such situations. They attempted to contact the alarm company and waited for the Sheriff.

After nearly 40 minutes, the alarm was still running. It was an intruder alarm, rather than a fire alarm as previously thought, on a building that housed classrooms with a number of county-owned computers and other technological equipment.

The alarm company was nowhere to be found, and did not answer the phone calls.

The supervisor of the monitors was nowhere to be found, and did not answer the phone calls.

The Sheriff's department was nowhere to be found, and did not answer the phone calls (even though they are supposed to immediately report to the site of a county alarm).

The individual on shift for the building was also nowhere to be found.

In those 40 minutes, the test was delayed and a number of participants needed to leave, after taking time off work and scheduling sitters in order to come in the first place. In addition, I can only imagine how much county property could've been carted off by the mysterious "intruder."

All of a sudden, the individual on shift for the building appeared at the front door and turned off the alarm. Yes, he had heard the alarm go off, but he had just started his BREAK and didn't return until after his break had finished. Are you freaking KIDDING ME?!?!?!

Of FOUR different responsible parties, NONE responded in a timely manner. In fact, only ONE responded at all, but only after he had finished taking his break.

What was the Sheriff's department doing that was so important that they could ignore the alarm altogether? I can't speak to Wednesday evening, but Thursday evening may give some insight.

On Thursday, I got to the New Paltz Thruway exit around 6:30 pm. At the entrance to the toll booths from New Paltz, there were EIGHT Ulster County Sheriff vehicles that appear to have stopped a man in a minivan. He had two Dunkin Donuts coffee cups on top of the car; either there was something in them that wasn't supposed to be, or some of the officers had brought them along for the ride. Among these EIGHT vehicles was one undercover UC Sheriff vehicle - a beige AUDI. Last I checked, Audis were luxury vehicles; while they've come up with some concept police cars in the past, I am having a difficult time understanding why Ulster County needs vehicles that cost tens of thousands of dollars in order to do their job, which seems to consist of joining SEVEN OTHER OFFICERS in pulling over ONE man. Unless he was Joran Van der Sloot or Osama bin Laden, I can't really see the logic? But this type of high priority incident may indicate why not one Ulster County Sheriff officer could be bothered to show up at the previous night's intruder alarm in Kingston.

Oh, Ulster County. These shenanigans are always so tiresome, and I fear there is far more to come. Stay tuned for some fascinating info on the Ulster County Board of Elections. Teaser: At best, they're completely inept; at worst, they're completely corrupt. I know, I might make Jay Mahler angry again, but maybe instead of getting mad she should make sure that BOE employees do their jobs and actually follow, rather than rewrite, the laws.


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