The Printer and The Mailman

Long before my time working for a municipality, our department, the Information-Technology-was-once-called-data-processing department came under an enchantment (of sorts). Our department started delivering interoffice mail between our building and another. Then came payroll and vendor check delivery. The person who printed the tax bills also had the mail and check delivery duties as well.

Well, at the end of last year, the person responsible for those duties retired, and I assumed the bill printing and part of mail delivery. Fortunately, my days as a mail delivery person are about to come to a close. IT work is very interrupt driven, and delivering mail cuts into working on issues. And for the software development and sustaining engineering part of my responsibilities, that time is cut into as well. At the end of the month, mail delivery will no longer our department’s responsibility, and that is a good thing.

Now, the printing is another matter. That is going to be outsourced. Normally, outsourcing jobs is a sore point with me, but if you saw what has to be done to print parking ticket notices, motor vehicle excise, real-estate, and water bills, you would understand very quickly why it should be outsourced. The half-time job is a full time duty.

And although we have a wonderful template based program called Planet Press (a product of Objectif Lune) that helps design, modify, and print the bills , the task of printing bills is nudgy, time consuming, and requires a lot of checking. The only good part of printing the bills is using the Duplo Folding Machine. When it is doing its thing, it makes a delightful, slightly-addictive, thwack, thwack, thwack sound.

But, hopefully, within a year, that job will go away, too, and I’ll have more time to fix programming bugs, occasionally write new software, and do other system administrative-related stuff.

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