BAKER — Mayor Harold M. Rideau told the City Council on Tuesday that municipal employees will undergo communication training sessions during April to promote better customer service.
Rideau said the sessions will be conducted by Police Chief Mike “Snapper” Knaps and Fire Chief Danny Edwards.
Knaps and Edwards said it is important that both employees and council members receive the training. The council must understand its own role as well as the roles of its employees in regard to improved customer relations and communication with the public, the chiefs said.
Council members have been discussing how to improve customer service since their last meeting and are looking for ways to combat rudeness and inefficiency by city employees who deal with the public.
Two residents appeared before the council to complain about their treatment by city workers.
Cherise Smith, a Sandra Drive resident, said she went to City Hall to try and get to the root of problems regarding her utility bill. Smith said she became frustrated when the employee to whom she was speaking seemed disinterested in her problem. Smith said before she knew it, the police had been called to deal with her.
Southern University student Ramona Drewery, of Seville Drive, said the city kept cutting the water off in her apartment. When city officials finally realized they were cutting water off in the wrong apartment, the city had to give her an $1,100 credit, she said.
AUDITOR REVIEWS: Council members Joyce Burges and Charles Vincent requested the city set deadlines and hold a workshop to examine résumés and proposals for a city auditor.
Burges said the city’s capital outlay project could possibly be “compromised” if deadline submissions to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office are not met. Rideau said the city was especially successful in obtaining capital outlay money, and the money for the projects has never been in jeopardy.
Councilman Pete Heine said only one Baker auditor was qualified to perform municipal audits. He said the council, which wants to promote local business, will have to go outside the city if it hires another auditor.
Heine said Mary Sue Stages’ accounting firm had been conducting the city’s audits for 49 years.
The council set 4:30 p.m. April 8 as the deadline for submitting auditors’ résumés and proposals.
The council will meet at 10 a.m. April 10 in a workshop session to examine résumés and proposals.