Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman is a city official, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t fight City Hall now and again.
Hammerman earned our coveted “Press Release of the Week” award for a bizarre exchange of e-mails with, well, it’s not entirely clear with whom.
It started on Friday, when Hammerman and his fellow 58 community board district managers received an invitation to test the city’s expanded 311 system at a pair of workshops on Nov. 14 and 15 or in an unsupervised test in their offices. That unsigned invitation asked the district managers to “respond with your preference” to email@example.com.
Hammerman not only responded, but leaked his response to the press.
“Dear Mr. Or Ms. ‘311correspondence,’” his letter began. “I wanted to address my response in a more personal way, but you failed to provide any human point-of-contact information in your correspondence. I’m sure you didn’t want your email to feel as technocratically chilling as it did. At least I hope not. Because it did.”
Clearly, something else was bothering Hammerman, a once and possibly future city council candidate, beyond the coldly impersonal nature of the e-mail.
“You’d like to tap into my experience as a ‘power user’ of the 311 system,” he wrote. “You’d like me to put a good faith effort into improving this incredibly important and potentially powerful management tool. Because I’m an important customer to you. Ha!
“I don’t mean this to sound harsh, abrasive, or oppositional, but Mr. or Ms. ‘311correspondence,’ with a straight face, I’d like you to answer one simple question: Why should I? What have you, Mr. or Ms. ‘311correspondence,’ ever done for me?”
Hammerman explained that he has “already put enormous effort” into helping the 311 system, yet “you continue to mock me with your impersonal requests.”
“I’ve already tried to do things your way attending countless meetings in your offices following your agendas that in the end have produced nothing tangible to meet my needs as your best customer, and I’ve been disrespected, shunned and been made the fool of for believing in you,” he added. “I’ve already put faith in you and you’ve let me down. In a big way.”
He concluded by telling “Mr. or Ms. ‘311correspondence’” that he would not help out any more until “you start to show me the respect I deserve. Maybe you’re a computer. But I’m not.”
A spokesman for the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications was a bit miffed by Hammerman’s vehemence.
“I guess this goes into the category of no good deed goes unpunished,” said the spokesman, Nick Sbordone.
Hammerman, an early supporter of 311, told The Brooklyn Paper that he wrote his missive out of frustration because the 311 system still does not allow him and other district managers to fully follow up complaints.
©2007 Community News Group
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