Squeak Loudly And Forget The Stick

In Colleen’s case, she has received recognition locally and state-wide, and she continues to contribute. She’s our eyes and ears in the playground world. If she sees something that needs doing, she calls me. I’ve had an early-morning discussion with my facilities manager, telling him that when Colleen calls, we respond ASAP unless there is another priority that involves blood or serious injury.

Why? Because I know she’s a nice squeaky wheel. She’ll call about an item, and if she sees nothing has been done within a week, she quietly calls back and asks about it. She doesn’t rant and rave; she just calls. If we have other alligators nipping at our posteriors, I tell her so and she thanks me. Then in a week or so, I’ll receive another quiet call or maybe a visit. She’s persistent, but it’s a respectful, cooperative and understanding persistence that gets my positive attention and action much quicker than hollering.

I told Colleen the other day how much I appreciate her for being a “nice squeaky wheel,” and our ensuing conversation has led to this column. If only all our customers were like her, life would be good. Do you have any stories about your favorite squeaky wheel? Contact PRB or me, and share them.

Randy Gaddo, a retired Marine, is Director of Leisure Services (parks, recreation, library) in Peachtree City, Ga. Contact him at (770) 631-2542 or e-mail dls@peachtree-city.org.

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One comment on “Squeak Loudly And Forget The Stick

  1. Bonnie Ecker, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District on said:

    When I perused the December PRB magazine and came to the article, Squeak Loudly, I thought it would be about playground maintenance. I just about flipped past it when I started reading the first paragraph, which moved me to the second paragraph and the rest of the article. I was enticed by it being not only about rewarding volunteers and treating them with respect, but also about accessibility.
    It is indeed a gem to find a volunteer like Colleen who is willing to step beyond her plate to help out an agency, something we agency employees so often don’t have time to focus on long-term due to the multitude of other responsibilities we have. Accessibility for play equipment is sometimes piecemeal for us in hopes it will please visitors. But, like trying to make our visitor centers 100% accessible, they never are until a visitor speaks up on what is missing.
    This article inspired me to email Randy to see if he would be willing to share the contract scope of work that was compiled for the “All Children’s Playground” that vendors bid on. It would enable our agency to write a better contract. Excellent article!

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