It was a pleasure to attend the Union Area Chamber of Commerce annual dinner last night. I’ve been a member of the chamber for quite some time, but my involvement has been sporadic to say the least. Recently, I’ve made the meetings a priority as I change direction in my life and really enjoy the group and what they’re doing.
Back in the day, we would meet at what is now Come Spring Cafe and there would be empty seats at the table. The last number I heard on membership was 120! That is something. The leaders of the Chamber have done a wonderful job in building membership and sustaining existing events and creating new ones.
The meal was wonderful, thanks to the Badger Cafe, and the program was well put together. The guest speaker was Bruce Poliquin, Treasurer of the State of Maine. Now never mind your political leanings, I doubt that a State of Maine Treasurer has ever spoken at an event in little old Union before. His presentation was very interesting and informative and certainly had some political connections to it, but I’m writing today about a certain tone in the speech that I found refreshing. He referred to the business people/taxpayers as customers. Can you imagine that? A perspective that government has an obligation to treat their taxpayers as customers and realizing that government is serving the taxpayers. Bruce indicated that this was the view of the whole administration and that this attitude was the backbone of the new state government. I don’t have any idea how accurate that is, but I certainly find it refreshing.
Whatever party you support and whatever you believe the role of government is, I think it’s healthy when the government acknowledges that the taxpayers are customers, and need to be treated with respect. Since so much of my focus is on customer service in the private sector, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that state government was acknowledging the taxpayer as customer and working to provide appropriate customer service.