Q&A with Theresa Baker

Share this:
November 3, 2003 // UPDATED 11:06 am - April 30, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

Theresa Baker has manned the front desk at City Hall for three years. She's the first face many see as they walk through the doors at the building's South 4th Street entrance. Baker gets asked all kinds of questions and interacts with hundreds of people each day.

Within six months, however, she said security guards would occupy the front desk. She'll move to an office where she'll answer questions from callers.

Baker answered some of our questions in person -- but because she is constantly interrupted doing her job, added a few replies via e-mail.

What's the best part of your job? Meeting people on a daily basis. At the City Hall information desk, I see between 200 to 400 people each day, on top of phone calls. And while many people come merely wanting to know the way to the restroom, there are people who come to me with no hope of resolution for their concerns. When I am able to direct them to a resource that makes a positive difference in their lives, and that gives them hope, it is a reward like

no other.

What have you learned from your work? I have learned a lot about red tape and teamwork. ... I have learned that making changes takes more time than you could ever imagine. I have a new appreciation for just how hard our elected officials work.

What kinds of people come through the door? All walks of life. From the richest to the poorest, from the educated to the illiterate, from rural farmers to city folk, everyone comes to City Hall.

[Editor's note: About the guy in the upper-left corner of the cover -- we couldn't resist. It's reporter Scott Russell in his Halloween headdress.