Charter government offices

Buy at Art.comMy latest brilliant idea after standing in line for 2.5 hours at the DPS office to spend three minutes taking the motorcycle rider license test – charter government offices.

I’m a genius.

After all, we see over and over how charter schools change the game for education. They do well or they go out of business. They have a market incentive to succeed. As a result (gasp!), they do. Parents stand in lines for hours to put their kids in these schools rather than government-run ones.

So what if we did something similar for government offices?

I’d easily choose to go to a DPS office where – even if I had to pay $5 extra, let’s say – there’s a commitment to customer service. Where a long line is a sign of failure. Where “we’re sorry” is the answer rather than “it’s not our fault”. Where someone coming in the door is a good thing rather than an annoyance.

Case in point – I had to renew my driver’s license a year ago. Which was the only reason when we went yesterday I knew we had to start at the information desk to fill out paperwork before we could stand in the humongous line to complete the next step. It had been a year. And there was still no signage to fill you in on the information desk tip. And yet, employees are annoyed by the fact that people keep getting in the obvious line rather than coming to the desk first.

That kind of stuff – would never happen if you had to run the office like a business. You’d be cranking people through at a clip if you were held accountable for making your customers happy. But alas, we have somehow managed to allow government to run things as though that’s the only way to get certain tasks done. It’s time to start thinking differently about how we get things done and stop assuming we have to rely on government to run thing, much less pay for them.

Think it could fly?