Sarah Palin, Alaska's IT, and the rowboat complaint

When she was governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin received a memo about a fellow who had to get in a boat and row out in a bay to make a call.

The complaint came from a man living in Port Tongass, Alaska, and it was relayed to Palin by a state employee on the customer service excellence team, Barbara Pritchett.

"The residents in his area no longer have land lines since cell phones were deployed. In order to make a call, they have to row out into the middle of the bay to get cell phone connection. They have to do this even in bad seas if a call needs to be made," wrote Pritchett.

The memo was included in a batch of recently released memos Palin wrote and received as governor.

"His complaint is not being able to talk to a live person whenever he calls State of Alaska numbers during normal business hours (8:00am until 5:00pm). All he gets are auto attendants or to leave a voice message. He can't just sit in a skiff for hours waiting for someone to call him back," she wrote.

Additionally, many state employees weren't updating their voice messages, letting callers know when they are out.

"We have advanced communication technology; but we have a breakdown in communication because State of Alaska employees use that technology not to answer their phones. It should be a given if a customer calls the state government, they are able to reach a live person," wrote Pritchett.

Part of the problem came about after Alaska moved to a voice over IP (VoIP) system. Most employees have not been shown "how to use their phones on their desks," wrote Pritchett.

"I too encounter auto attendants and voice mails all day long due to the nature of my job duties. But I have the luxury of being able to sit at my desk to receive callbacks versus sifting in a skiff in the middle of a bay waiting for a call from someone that I don't know is even going to call me back," she wrote.

Alaska's CIO, Annett Kreitzer, responded: "I have asked for information why the 'dial zero for a live body' option does not work for all Cisco phones," she wrote. Kreitzer said she was working to resolve the concerns raised by the complaint.

The full memo is here. Thanks to the Sunlight Foundation for organizing and making Palin's emails available in Sarah's Inbox.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

Bing’s AI chatbot came to work for me. I had to fire it.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon