The Department of Human Services in Minnesota has sent out guidelines to their employees about what to do to prepare for a state shutdown.
We were particularly impressed with the suggested script for recording voicemail messages:
"Hello this is __________. Due to the shutdown of state government I am away from work indefinitely. I will return to work when the Legislative funding for the continued operation of the Minnesota Department of Human Services is enacted into law. For more information, please monitor news reports or see our website at www.dhs.state.mn.us."
If you're a regular News Cut reader, you know we can't pass this up.
Even if you're not a Minnesota state worker, write the voicemail message script you'd like to hear if you were calling the state.
Post it below.
Don't let me down.
Well you know how my will go...
Hello this is Matt from the Department of govt intervention. I am sorry I cannot pry into your personal lives, make your business slower or less productive, stop you from marrying the person of your choosing, keep you from having the job you wanted because of counterproductive licensing issues or inconvenience you in any other ways. I also am unable to truly help those in need because by using political means I have helped to erode the many social institutions (community, family, church, etc) and organizations (fraternal orders, charities, businesses, etc) that would have historically stepped up when govt was struggling. It seems our "all eggs in one basket" approach was not quite as genius as we thought it was. I do hope that as we go through this shutdown you take note of the things that help you through and maybe tell the gov or your legislator how you were able to survive without them. You may also want to keep your notes as we will likely be repeating this drill in two more years. Have a happy 4th of July and be thankful for the wonders of Democracy!!
"Hello Minnesota, this is Graham. Due to a shutdown of state government I am away from my desk indefinitely. I will return to work and your call when these children stopping ******* with our jobs and your lives. For more information, please monitor news reports or see our website at www.dhs.state.mn.us. Peace out!"
"Hello, this is Jim. If you're calling about lifesaving healthcare or food assistance, well, I know I'm not supposed to say this, but do you have any favorite prayers?
And now for your listening pleasure, from Minnesota's own, Bob Dylan - here's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door."
Hello, this is Heather. If you require government assistance, you may wish to consider relocating to Wisconsin. While Wisoconsin is currently home to several recall efforts, acrimony toward public servants, and a Supreme Court justice under investigation for allegedly choking a colleague, our government workers are still hard at work. For less!
Hi, this is Tyler. Thank you for calling the North Dakota DMV. Unfortunately, we're currently experiencing a once-in-two-hundred-year-flood, so this office is currently up to the ceiling in water. However, that is the only part of our government underwater - once we get everything dried out, we'll be glad to serve you, since our budget is in the black, the state economy is going well, and we don't have a state legislature full of idiots standing around with their ears plugged.
The whole thing is ridiculous. I will faithfully read the above note and add on where they can find specific information about my work, but what I want to say is...
You've reached Kassie. The State of Minnesota is SHUTDOWN and I've been deemed non-essential. That means whatever you are calling about is not important. So, you can leave a message, but it may be weeks before I get back to you. It would probably be better to just try and solve the problem yourself.
Thank you for calling the State of MN. This is Jack and I am unable to take your call at this time. Our politicians in an attempt to protect our great way of life have forgotten that America was built on compromise. Once they remember that I'm sure we'll all be back to work right away. In the mean time you might want to visit MPR's excellent Shutdown 2011 page for details on what's going on.
Thank you for calling. You have reached TW at "that fish and game organization." Apologies I can't answer your call nor tell you when I'll be back. When I'll return is totally out of my hands; my fate is reliant on stubborn people more powerful than I, most of whom don't realize what an awful, avoidable mess they're creating. Despite your stereotype of government employees, I try my best to be accessible and prompt when replying to people. Leave your message and I'll reply as soon as I'm allowed. Perhaps by our chat you'll find that I'm not an uncaring ogre hell-bent on ruining your life, but am truly interested in answering your question or referring it to someone who can.
Hello this is Doug. I'm not here right now, but that's ok. I'm a nonessential employee, so I'm sure that you called me on accident because I would not be able to help you with anything important anyway. Because the reason you called me is so trivial, don't bother leaving a message but just figure it out yourself.
If you do decide to leave a message, I will return your call once I return to work. Of course, I might not do it promptly because, again, your needs are not important. Instead, I might wait a few days, perhaps more than a week, and then, once I decide to actually do some work, I will call you in the order this was received.
Hi This is Eric._______ No, it's really me. I've decided to show up for one week and do the best I can on the job. Even without pay. Maybe I'll get paid, maybe I won't. But for one week, I think the people of MN deserve it for me to show up and try. I'm happy with the pay and benefits that you have given me over the years. How can I help you?
Eric is clearly uninformed about the situation. State employees are not allowed to show up at work if the State is shut down. Our access badges and Agency computer servers will be shut down.
His mean spirited comment shows his ignorance of the situation.