A Grace Note and a Concert Hall

Blog post by Becca Briscoe

In the year 2000, I began working for the Elkhart Township assessor’s office. In the prior 17 years, I worked in the private sector, where independent thought and productivity were highly valued attributes. Government is an entirely different environment.

Never before had I been given a voluminous employee handbook to read nor had I been required to withstand a day-long orientation covering everything from bathroom breaks to bomb threats (both of which I thought I could handle on my own without orientation). I was not at all prepared for the large number of rules and regulations and the small amount of space in my new work cubicle.

My saving grace in the transition from the real work world into bureaucracy was my co-worker, Grace Johnson. She had survived many years as a civil servant and that fact alone commanded my respect. Grace possessed the ability to work accurately and efficiently while maintaining a great sense of humor. Honestly, there is little hope of enduring local government without a robust sense of humor.

Part of the task of an assessor is to review blueprints of buildings that are under construction in an attempt to calculate an estimated value prior to the building being completed. One of my first blueprint reviews was that of the Music Center at Goshen College. There were more than 30 pages of blueprints with every detail itemized: plumbing, electrical, floors, walls, ceilings and even the parking lot with appropriate landscaping. The review of the plans took more than a week, during which time it became crystal clear that this was going to be an exceptional facility.

It took me until 2012 to ever set foot in this beautiful building….

>> Read the rest of this article on the Goshen Commons website.

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