Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Who Ya Gonna Call? Citizens' Service Bureau Takes Gremlin-Buster Role

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Who Ya Gonna Call? Citizens' Service Bureau Takes Gremlin-Buster Role

Article excerpt

The St. Louis Citizens' Service Bureau serves residents by providing answers to questions and helping to connect residents to the city agencies that can help them.

But now and then, reports of gremlins, gators, lions and such enter the picture, at which time the bureau's customer-service representatives help residents keep their cool and do what they must to figure out what's really going on and what to do about it.

The bureau was created more than 15 years ago and expanded in 1985 to help residents find answers to their many questions and concerns, the most frequent of which involve trash, vacant buildings, vandalized property and areas overgrown with weeds, says Cindy James, who manages the bureau. The bureau's nine customer-service representatives are trained for about two months before taking to the telephones. Their training involves learning what every city department does, going on field trips to see what various violations look like, interpreting ordinances and stress management. "Not everybody is cut out for this kind of work," James said. "You really have to be able to maintain your public composure." And, she says, they have to be ready for anything, especially when there's a full moon. The bureau has received numerous calls that go beyond bizarre. But the customer-service representatives don't mind much, James said. "The oddities, those are funny," she said. "They're (the representatives) always pleasantly surprised when something goofy comes in." Among the unusual calls: A frantic day-care operator called to report that her assistants had encountered an alligator in a next-door yard along a fence that separated the business from a fraternity house. Squealing children at the center were poking the gator through the fence. The day-care operator thought the alligator was dead but couldn't be sure, so a health inspector was dispatched to the scene. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.