Technical Information Coordinator

Background: I was employed by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office during the ’90s, in the Communications Maintenance dept., or “Radio Shop”. Along with more typical clerical duties, our Office Manager was tasked with managing highly technical Work Requests which, in an electronics shop, obviously would be beyond conventional secretarial experience. So, I wrote up the following proposal:

Suggestion: Creation of task of “Technical Information Coordinator”

It has been noted that the position of Clerk/Office Manager in the Communications Maintenance shop is very unusual. This is primarily due to the fact that, beyond the normal or more traditional tasks performed, this position also requires the Clerk to create and maintain so-called “Work Requests”, which involves the Clerk having to become familiarized with two highly unusual and complex elements: 1) an online form which is built from a combination of a wide variety of sub-menu choices and fixed-text “instruction” fields, and 2) the non-intuitive and generally inflexible application used to generate and maintain this form. Further complicating this is the fact that the Work Request form, as it is used in Comm. Maintenance, is actually more of a technical report, containing terminology and phraseology which is generally unfamiliar to the typical Clerk.

Therefore, the suggestion is now presented that this particular task of Work Request generation and maintenance be separated from the Clerk/Office Manager position and made into a distinct task on its own, which could be described by the above-mentioned title. (Note that this is not suggesting that this be made into a separate funded position.) This new task would then be filled not by another Clerk but rather by a member who is readily familiar with the technical terminology, who over the course of employment has seen and used several types of the various Work Request and Job Order forms and who has gained, either independently or through use in diagnosis and programming of particular pieces of equipment, a passable to appreciable level of familiarity with the computer and its use in the modern technical shop environment. In short, this new task would be filled by a Communications Technician.

Advantages and Justification:

  • Separating this task from the Clerk/Office Manager position would naturally make that position far less daunting and complicated for the Clerk V member, as any and all incoming repairs, as well as anything related to vehicle installations, would be routed directly to the Tech Info Coordinator (TIC)
  • As the Work Requests and Job Orders would still be handled by a single person, consistency and uniformity of the data would be maintained
  • Overall information management productivity would increase as these two highly disparate types of info management would now be handled simultaneously
  • As the member would be a skilled and experienced Comm Tech, this member would be available either to assist another Comm Tech on a particular assignment or to be directed to handle an assignment on his/her own; clearly, the current situation regarding Work Requests renders this option completely unavailable
  • Re-emphasizing that this would not be a separately funded slot, but simply another task — such as ‘Portables’, ‘MDT’, ‘Radar’, etc — that Comm Techs would be rotated into and out of over time
  • In regard to future employees, eliminating this task from the Clerk/Office Manager position would make it far less imposing which should result in a wider range of better-skilled applicants
  • A long-term (“distant future”) possibility exists in adding the task of Work Request-specific billing to this one. All other billing tasks would remain the responsibility of the Clerk/Parts Manager, but moving the responsibility of billing as it specifically relates to Work Requests would accomplish 1) speed-up of finalization of Work Requests, as the TIC would be able to immediately append billing information; 2) moving closer to 100% having only one person handle any given Work Request; and 3) enable increased productivity from the Clerk/Parts Manager by the removal of this task from that position

Possible Disadvantages:

  • Typical medical considerations (eye strain, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, etc) might eliminate certain members from consideration for this task
  • A Level III Comm Tech might be adverse to taking on what admittedly has the appearance of a mere clerical task

In summation, it is suggested that management of Work Requests, which are highly technical in nature both in content and in creation, would be better managed by a person with a strong technical background doing moderate clerical work, rather than by a clerk facing an unfamiliar and heavily technical task.

Original document written in 1998; this online version copyright © 2016 Designs by Gus