Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Seeking better phone service from borough


The Haines Borough is trying to make it easier to get a live person on the phone.

Members of the public and borough officials have complained about the phone system, which can put callers in a loop of recorded messages when the person whose phone is set up to be the operator is away from their desk or on the other line.

Assembly member Debra Schnabel said she personally has been caught in the loop twice during a 15-minute period, and brought the issue to interim borough manager Julie Cozzi after hearing similar complaints from community members.

“We are looking at ways we can reprogram the system to maximize its usefulness and reduce the time it takes to get to a real voice,” Cozzi said.

Before a couple of weeks ago, when a caller pressed “0” to speak to an operator, administrative assistant Krista Kielsmeier or interim clerk Michelle Webb would answer the phone (depending on who it was programmed to).

If the person was away from their desk, it would go into their voicemail. Pressing “0” again to try to talk to someone else wouldn’t redirect to another person who might be around. Now, if the “0” operator is not by the desk or on another line, the call will reroute to another person’s desk. But if that person is gone or on the other line,the same problem exists.

Cozzi said the borough is trying to tweak the system to reroute the call infinitely through all the phones into the borough offices until someone answers the phone.

The only other way to deal with the problem is hiring someone to exclusively answer the phone and direct calls, Cozzi said. “I just suspect we’ve gotten too big for that, but not too big that we can’t find ways to make this work better,” she said.