Our city government is crawling with employees who hide behind cryptic job titles, protected by the impenetrable shield of bureaucracy. The thick fog of mystery that hangs low throughout the hallowed halls of local government? That's not condensed water vapor. It's a smoke screen created by career politicians and public servants, meant to confuse and bewilder the common man.
Fortunately for you, I never had much respect for authority. Combine that rebelliousness with one brand-new laptop and broadband access to the City of Richmond Web site and what do you get? The end of obfuscation and the glorious dawn of unfettered Truth. I will now answer your questions.
What's the difference between a controller and comptroller? None. The jobs are identical. Both involve managing the financial and accounting services of their respective departments. The term comptroller comes from the French word comptre (meaning account) and is generally considered an outdated spelling of controller. The fact that you can find both titles on the city payroll just means that the deputy assistant manager of archaic business language is falling down on the job.
Is it OK to share intimate personal stories with a public-information manager? Absolutely not. Public-information managers cannot keep their mouths shut. You're much better off confessing to the private-information manager (aka the Keeper of Secrets). He's the tall, bearded guy in the monk's robe who hangs out in the basement.
Can I get change for a dollar from the quartermaster? Funny. But no. However, the quartermaster division will be happy to process you during your visit to the Richmond City Jail. They'll supervise your laundry and hold on to your wallet and keys while you pay your debt to society. Think of them as the concierges of the jail. But instead of handling dinner reservations and booking theater tickets, they occasionally drop in to perform a full cavity search.
Is an appraiser IV better than an appraiser III? The higher the Roman numerals that follow job titles, the higher the pay grade and managerial responsibility. Except in the case of mayor II and mayor III, the decoy stunt doubles who stand in for Dwight Jones when he needs some time on the golf course.
Isn't the Inspector General a character from the board game Clue? No, you're thinking of Colonel Mustard. To my knowledge, Richmond's inspectors general never served in the British military, but they do belong to the Fraud Squad, a crack team of specialists who operate much like the Dirty Dozen or the A-Team. But instead of fighting Nazis and biker gangs, the Fraud Squad susses out inefficiency, fraud and wasteful spending. If you're thinking about pilfering Sharpies from the supply closet, these are the folks who won't hesitate to greet you with an entire can of whoop-ass.
Is it too easy to make a crude joke about the natural-gas controller? Probably. But you still have to admire someone who makes a living not breaking wind. Reminds me of my Grandpa. Pappy wasn't a natural-gas controller, but he had a natural-gas controller. He just called it an index finger.