Citizen Appreciation for Civil Servants




(This letter was also addressed to the city manager and other city staff.)


I need to take a moment to tell you about Ann Marie McKay.  I was involved in a project that required research into the formation of a subdivision in 1994 and 1995 – not exactly ancient history (at least to some of us), but well before the reach of the available “ordinary” online records.


Ann Marie, along with Lisette Chel in Martha Anderson’s office, was unreservedly helpful, not only finding documents I needed, and forwarding them to me, but coming up with suggestions as to where concepts and issues relevant to my topic may be lurking, and pointing me in their direction – and she did it all cheerfully, cooperatively and without the slightest hint of resentment at the other work from which I was taking her away, even though I could tell how busy she was. She was exemplary not only as a civil servant, but as a member of Laguna Beach’s staff, which should be, and is, exemplary.


I know there is a tendency to dump on staff, especially when they don’t give us the answers we want.  I mean, think about it objectively:  If they come up with an answer that differs from mine, how possibly could they be right?


And while I do single out Ann Marie McKay for excellence and high credit because of this particular exercise which was so time-sensitive for me, the truth to be told, her conduct and discharge of her duties is not all that different from that of most of Laguna Beach’s staff, who work long and hard to see to it that the needs of our community are met. In my profession, I have need to call upon their assistance frequently, and in complex and often time-consuming problems, and I cannot think of an instance in which they have let me down – or, in fact, despite their grousing, any of my friends or associates in the design community.


Now . . . if you would just listen to me more, you could achieve perfection.


Gene Gratz, Laguna Beach

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