LUBBOCK, TX -- Ever wondered how many Lubbock City Councilmembers would answer if you left them messages? KLBK put that idea to the test.
A volunteer named Helen was given a phone, and a script, and left messages with the entire Lubbock City Council, the Mayor, and the City Manager. We then gave them all a week to respond. We also sent out emails to follow up as well.
Helen said she wasn't sure exactly how this little test would go. "I think some will call back, but I don't think it will be 100%. Hopefully I'm wrong." She left messages for each one, asking to talk to them about different issues, including the city streets.
How'd they do? Well, of the eight people, only four responded in some way. District One City Councilman Victor Hernandez followed up in an email, which he also forwarded on to his chief of staff, and copied the City of Lubbock Street Department on the email.
District Four City Councilman Jim Gerlt also responded via email.
Helen got two phone calls back. One from District Two City Councilman Floyd Price, the other, from District Six City Councilwoman Latrelle Joy. "It was a little unusual, just a little bit, but then again, people have been upset about the streets, so I called her back," Joy said.
There were also four city leaders who did not respond. Mayor Glen Robertson did not respond, but told KLBK he has been traveling recently, and does try to respond to any calls or emails as soon as he can. In his defense, he had a few less days to respond via email, as his email was sent five days later than the other emails. The call left in his office was done at the same time as all the others.
City Councilman Todd Klein said he isn't sure he got the message, but does take the blame for not responding. "My fault. If you get a call to me and you don't get a call back, I'll be following up to find out exactly what happened, and how we avoid it, and on an oversight of an email, ultimately, that responsibility is on me," Klein said.
The newly appointed City Manager James Loomis also did not respond, and said he will now look into why he did not get the phone message. He does not have an email address listed on the city's website.
"The bottom line, experiment or not, anytime we get a phone call, we need to be able to respond to it immediately," Klein said.
Mayor Pro Tem Karen Gibson did not respond to Helen directly, though she tells us she did see the email, and forwarded it to the Street Department to follow up with Helen, since they could probably help her better.
"Maybe I was wrong in not calling her and saying 'here's what I did' and I'll take the blame for that, maybe I should have. But, if we're busy, we're in the middle of something, and we see that, we're going to get something done," Gibson said.
Gibson also said if you do try to get in touch with a city leader, it's important to be specific in any phone messages or emails, because that will help the council member know exactly what you want to talk about, and she said including a contact number, or email address, is also helpful.
"I might be more specific in what I do, just for that reason, just because if it is on streets and potholes, we're gonna forward that, to someone who can help that person. And rightly so," Gibson said.
If you want to get in touch with a Lubbock city leader, here's a link to their site. If you want to contact the City Manager, James Loomis, you can call (806)775-2016. The City of Lubbock page also has a place for each individual council member as well as the Mayor, where you can find an office phone number for each council member, plus email addresses. Many council members also hold town hall meetings, and sometimes give out additional numbers for people to call.