Other Duties As Assigned: Squeezing the Bunny

Posted on March 3, 2015

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Civic Leaders is an exclusive local government web-interview series hosted and operated by Springbrook Software, produced by the VOLSTA Media Network, and syndicated by ELGL. Each month the show shares a candid look into the challenges and triumphs experienced by passionate public employees that are committed to their calling.

Squeezing the Bunny

Called-in by Brian Southey, Management Analyst
Village of Elk Grove Village, IL
Connect: LinkedIn and Twitter

Here is a story about working in local government that goes to show you never know what your day will bring:

About four years ago while I was working for the City of Bloomington, IL Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department I received an interesting phone call.

At the time I was working in the Park Maintenance Division where our primary responsibilities included maintaining parks, parkway trees and various city-owned facility grounds. The majority of our phone calls from citizens at the Park Maintenance Division level dealt with tree maintenance issues, complaints and compliments. Then one day I received a different type of phone call.

A citizen had called me and immediately began to explain how they had found an ailing bunny outside and decided to bring the bunny into their home to nurse it back to health. After a few days of tending to the bunny, the caller had noticed one small problem: the bunny had yet to go to the bathroom. Now the citizen wanted my “professional” opinion on what the next move should be.

As I stumbled to explain my limited knowledge in the animal sciences, the citizens got right to their point of the phone call. The caller asked if they should squeeze the little guy!

At this point I became terrified for the poor bunny. Two minutes prior to receiving this phone call my responsibilities to the animal kingdom were minimal. Now all of the sudden I felt a deep devotion to a wild bunny I had never even seen. Squeezing may be a proper method for all I know, I however, felt that squeezing the poor bunny as if it were a tube of toothpaste was a terrible plan.

I again explained to the caller my limited knowledge in the subject matter and tried to think about what they should do. The caller and I tried to come up with a plan but I was stumped. I finally convinced the caller that I was no help to situation and squeezing is probably not the best idea. At this point I put the caller in touch with the local zoo and allowed them to take care of the problem.

As you can see, no public official can ever be ready for the all the questions they will receive over their life time. Thanks for listening to my story and have a good day.

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