Friday, December 03, 2010

"Help, I need somebody, Help, not just anybody, Help, you know I need someone, help..."

Town of Hempstead Helpline Answers The Call

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me.

For all the railing we do about the folks at Town Hall in America's most blighted township (that's Hempstead Town, for those who may have missed a blogpost or three), there's a bright spot out there in the darkness, and it is known as -- dare we say it -- Kate Murray's Helpline.

Okay. In reality, it's the Town of Hempstead Helpline, but, as we know, the Supervisor likes to put her name anywhere and everywhere (look for it the next time you lift up the toilet seat), from street signs to town vehicles. It's in your face, and, of course, in your mailbox.

But we digress...

Have a problem with any aspect of life in the Town [don't get us started...]? Simply call the Helpline at 516-489-6000, or log on to the online Helpline Form, and a friendly, courteous (they're even nice to us, believe it or not), knowledgable staff member will speak with you or call you back with information, guidance, and a good listen.

Got a pothole in your street? Streetlamp (Victorian or otherwise) out? Illegal basement apartment next door? [No. Not in Hempstead Town. Never!] Get on the Helpline and get help!

Even if your concern is one that comes under the jurisdiction of an entity other than the Town of Hempstead (i.e., Whose roadway is that, anyway?), the Helpline personnel -- the best workers the Town of Hempstead could possibly have, in our humble opinion) -- will not only point you in the right direction, they'll personally make the call.

And this is something we rarely see from a Town where "proactive" is a four-letter word. The folks at the Helpline will actually follow up. [No, your eyes do not deceive you. We said "Town" and "follow up" in the same paragraph.]

Of course, your communication with the Town through the good graces of the Helpline will be succeeded by a perfunctory, pro forma letter* from the Supervisor herself, advising that your matter is being looked into and/or forwarded to the attention of the appropriate party. Oh yeah. Kate will also ask you to contact her if there is "anything else" she can do. Not that she'll do it, but thank you for asking. [We have so many of these letters that we've wallpapered three rooms with 'em! *Make mention to the good people at the Helpline that you'd rather not get a letter from Ms. Murray, and, most times, they will oblige.]

By the way, if you have an environmental complaint (i.e., illegal dumping of waste), there's a form for that, too. Click HERE for Environmental Complaints. Not sure if it's Town, County or State? No matter. Put it in writing, and the Town Helpliners will take care of it.

We are often amazed, given the customary knee-jerk reaction of the Town, and the dilatory, obstreperous nature and behavior of Town Supervisor Kate Murray, at just how responsive the Town can be, from Highways to Engineering to Sanitation (even though the Town claims absolutely no control over the latter), once the Helpline comes into play. It is as if, almost by magic, the problem, from misplaced street signs to graffiti on a commercial building, is resolved, almost before you hang up the phone or hit the "send" button.

Of course, don't expect much in the way of resolution -- or movement -- best intentions of the Helpline employees notwithstanding, if you're calling to complain, for instance, about the Nassau Coliseum and environs, special district taxes, or the blight along "Main Street." Some grievances, as we have come to learn, take a little longer to redress.

For the moment, though, and in acknowledgment of the fantastic -- and most likely, thankless -- job they do, day in and day out, our hats come off and kudos go out to the ladies and gents on the front lines at the Town of Hempstead Helpline.

Take a bow!

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me, help me, help me, oh.

P.S. When you call, tell 'em The Community Alliance sent you. . .
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Follow The Community Alliance on Twitter @CommunityAlli.

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