We here at Shift recognize that public employees often have very hard jobs to do, and that the vast majority of these employees are quite competent and committed to serving the public that pays their salary. So, we thank those dedicated public servants.
However, sometimes it seems that there are basic failures in efficiency that must be noted, and for one of Shift’s contributors, a prime example of that arrived on Saturday. That was when he let us know that he’d received a Jury Duty Summons from King County Superior Court.
Often such a notice is not received with overwhelming joy, as jury duty is one of life’s civic duties that can be very disruptive. However, in this case the notice was for his father-in-law – who passed away over two years ago.
Now, when such a death occurs in King County, a death certificate is issued by the County. Don’t even get us started on the rip-off that the county initiates at that time, charging $20 for a “certified copy” of the certificate (which is often required by insurance companies, other government agencies, etc.), the cost of which must be justified by the County for the blue paper the county copies it onto – or maybe because it’s way to grab money from taxpayers when they have no choice in the matter.
No, the outrage here is that somewhere in the county data base it was registered he was gone, but evidently one agency in the county doesn’t have a way to let the court system know that. Is it truly so hard for the county to develop one data base, integrating death certificates with the court system, the elections department, etc.?
We’ve read stories over the years about King County’s inability to fix its computer systems. But because that basic incompetency doesn’t matter to people from King County Executive Dow Constantine on down the line, the court’s Jury Summons made Saturday a little sadder by reminding one family that someone was not there to serve on a jury.
Maybe they could read Facebook updates next time.