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Thread: Strategy when writing officials

  1. #1
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Strategy when writing officials

    As a general comment/question, not pointing at anyone in particular... several recent communications shared here with local officials carry a theme where the writer asks the official to demonstrate or cite to their authority, for what we all know full well they have no authority to be doing.

    Is that the best approach? Or would we be better off politely citing the authority that we know shows that what they are doing is incorrect?

    I almost get the feeling that when we say "hey, show me what allows you to do that" when we know they cannot, that we are playing dumb.

    Would it be better to be more direct? "Dear Sir or Madam, your actions violate the Code of Virginia, as seen here..., please stop doing that..."

    Thoughts?

    TFred

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    As a general comment/question, not pointing at anyone in particular... several recent communications shared here with local officials carry a theme where the writer asks the official to demonstrate or cite to their authority, for what we all know full well they have no authority to be doing.

    Is that the best approach? Or would we be better off politely citing the authority that we know shows that what they are doing is incorrect?

    I almost get the feeling that when we say "hey, show me what allows you to do that" when we know they cannot, that we are playing dumb.

    Would it be better to be more direct? "Dear Sir or Madam, your actions violate the Code of Virginia, as seen here..., please stop doing that..."

    Thoughts?

    TFred

    Actually, I think both in the same letter are appropriate--hit the problem from both sides with one postage stamp. Me being me, I might be inclined toward something like:

    "Dear Sir,

    Your actions violate VA Code Section________. You need to comply.

    Alternatively, if you are operating on some other Code section, as compared with just making it up as you go along, please cite the code section you are using.

    Since we are preparing torches for a party in your name, please know that we have for you only the

    Warmest regards,

    (signature) "

    Too threatening?
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

  3. #3
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    If you are certain (or fairly certain) that the Code says one thing and they are doing something else, my very biased professional opinion, based on over a dozen years of investigating and documenting allegations of failure to comply with law, regulation or policy is to 1) state the complaint without emotion or rancor, 2) state the law/regulation/policy governing the action complained of, 3) describe the corrective action you are seking.

    To help understand that last part - as the investigator all I could recommend regarding personnel actions was that the relevant employee(s) receive training and instruction (two separate events, and it is important that they be separate) in the proper interpretation and application (again, important that they are separated) of the controlling law/regulation/policy. As for any injury or loss that the complainant sustained, the recommendation was that X (and, if necessary/appropriate Y and Z and ...) be done to restore them to their condition before the violation occurred.

    If some government official is doing something that infringes on the unincumbered exercise of a right, that would be corrected by training and instruction in the proper interpretation and application of the law/regulation/policy and that they be supervised for a period of time to ensure they comply with the training and instruction.

    If some government official has failed to perform (or properly perform) a magisterial duty (go look up and learn what that is) it would be corrected by the person having the power to do so instructing them to perform the magisterial duty in the proper manner. Clerks of Circuit Courts failing to issue CHPs, or requiring extra-legal material and/or procedural steps, are probably the best example. Short of a Writ of Mandamus, complaints about Clerks are made to the Executive Secretary of the Virginia Supreme Court.

    If it is an employee of a private business that interferred with or incumbered your ability to enjoy the goods or services provided by their employer, that would also be corrected by training and instruction in the proper interpretation and application of the law/regulation/policy and that they be supervised for a period of time to ensure they comply with the training and instruction.

    [rant]Since it often seems that I suggest a course of action or point out a Code section that appears to be most relevant and it takes several posts for people to apparently discover the course of action/relevant point of law, I am going to do some lecturing. Feel free to skip it - but just remember that I'll be noticing that you completely ignored what I had to say but jump on it like a hen on a bug when someone else says it later.[/rant]

    The above three paragraphs use some very specific language because that is the way, with some minor differences between government and private enterprise, that HR and the Legal Dept. talk. Private enterprise does not care if you thought it was unfair if the Second Assistant Manager, Night Shift, made you unhappy or upset or angry when they did something that you were pretty darned sure was contrary to corporate policy. They do care that the Second Assistant Manager, Night Shift, interferred with or incumbered your ability to spend money and to come back and continue to spend money. Government agencies also do not care that you thout it was unfair if <government agent> made you unhappy or upset or angry when they failed to comply with law/regulation/policy or failed to perform a magisterial duty properly. They care that having done so exposes the agency to various liabilities which usually carry with the the necessity of compiling and submitting reports of how they developed, implemented and carried out corrective action.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
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  4. #4
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    ....
    Too threatening?
    Not threatening, but showing them you are not sure of your position because you are willing to consider that some other law/regulation/policy controls.

    If they want to claim some authority different from the one you cite they do not need you suggesting they do so.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
    ----Allahpundit

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