]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]          LETTER TO THE EDITOR        [[[[[[[[[[[[[[
                          By Prof. Howard Hayden          (3/11/1989)
                           (Freeman 06268 HAYD)

                            Department of Physics
                          University of Connecticut
                              Storrs, CT 06268

The Hartford Courant
285 Broad Street
Hartford, CT 06115

Gentle Folks,

     Face it. None of us can make this stupid thing work.
     The thing,  the state bureaucracy,  requires a little explana-
tion. I will try to explain it by appealing to your imagination.
     Suppose that  you  repair  automobiles.  Somebody comes in  with
a broken fan belt.  You take one from your supply, install it in the
car, and order a new one.  That's the  way things  are supposed to
work, and no business could  long survive doing otherwise.  But my
purpose  is not to tell good businessmen how to do their business, but
to talk about the  state  system, so I will now introduce some state
     Same business, same car,  state  system.   You  don't have a
belt, because it has only been three  months since you ordered the
last one.  Why did it take so long?  Well, you needed to have the
order typed by a  busy typist.   Then the bookkeeper had to put in
the coding.  Then the order-approver had to approve the order.  He had
to balance the books to find out if you had the money to cover the
order.  The books took a while to be balanced, because  the people who
pay the bills habitually do not pay bills until  a month after the
     Once the  decision had been made that you could order the fanbelt,
the order had to be retyped on a different form.  Then it was sent out
for bid.  Then they had  to  wait for the  bids to come in (in
sextuplicate, of course).  They ordered  from  the  lowest bidder.
Because  of a typing error, the bidder  sent Ban Felt, a cloth for
applying  deodorant.  The cost  was $85,  and the part was  wrong.
There  was no  longer enough money to  cover  the  order  since  a
similar error on a previous order wiped out your budget.
     So, you have no fan belt for the  customer.   You  decide that the
best  way  to  handle the  situation is to  go over  to the  local
automotive supply house, and  buy one,  using your own money.  You do
so, and then  try to retrieve the money you  spent trying to do your
job.  Sorry, the state does not  comprehend  the term "Petty Cash".
     OK, so you lost  that  one (and probably a hundred  more), so  you
come to  the conclusion  that your  job can't be  done within  the
system.  Three choices arise.
     1.  Order ahead, as you did  that time  when  there  was a rush on
         Edsel door handles.  They came in late, of course, but you got
         the 15 you ordered.  They're still on the shelf.
     2.  Don't try to do your job.  Just collect your paycheck.
     3.  Find  a disgusted customer.  (That's easy enough.) Make a deal
         so  that he puts some up-front money into a bank account which
         you can use for purchasing fan belts and other parts necessary
         when he brings in his car for repair.
     Of course, I have left out the worst parts, but you get the idea.
     Now you  see why professors at UConn  have channeled  funds to the
UConn Foundation:  they are  trying to  do their jobs well, and we are
in fact quite proud of them.
     You see, It takes a genius to make an idiotic system work.
     Best regards,

     Howard Hayden
     (203) 486-3766

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