Governments' Lighter Side

The rise of the machines

Apparently voice-acting talents are not appreciated by the New York City Health Department.

Ronald Dillon, a computer specialist for the agency’s IT help desk, was suspended for 20 days without pay for answering customer service calls using a “robot voice.” DNA Info reports Dillon repeatedly spoke in a “deliberately robotic fashion” when fielding calls, despite his boss’s orders that he stop.

The New York Post reports Dillon was caught doing his robot impersonation at least five times between February 2012 and April 2013. His robo-voice was so convincing that one caller “demanded to speak to a human” after she thought an “automated system” had hung up on her. Others filed formal complaints.

Dillion told a judge at a disciplinary hearing that he was simply reading from a script he was asked to follow, and that his thick Brooklyn accent had made it difficult for callers to understand him in the past, according to The New York Post.
The robot voice will cost Dillon about $5,000 in lost wages. “They were exceedingly harsh…We’re very disappointed with the decision,” he told the paper. We’re assuming Dillon’s referring to himself and his inner cyborg.

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What's Governments' Lighter Side?

It is an irreverent take on local and state government news.


Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...
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