What I have noticed over many years of working in local government is that residents who call with concerns or problems will at some point announce how many years they have lived in that particular city. It can be anywhere from 1 to 90+ years. But no matter the amount of time, the declaration is emphatically stated and then followed by a slight pause. It is as if they are expecting me to jump in and say “congratulations, your years of residency have earned you X citizen points, and these can be used to (fill in whatever action would address or fix their problem).”
So far, I haven’t really heard of any city that gives out citizen points, at least not officially. Some might argue political clout is a type of citizen point system. but if so, this is not an officially sanctioned government program. And not everyone tries the “do you know who I am” statement. While on the other hand, a large majority of people do comment on the years they have lived in a community or somehow otherwise contributed to their neighborhood.
But most of us in local government have been trained to treat everyone equally regardless of the race, age, etc. And this training extends to other factors such as years of residency, hours of volunteer work, number of family members, household income, number of sick family members, etc – we just don’t take these into account to determine level or quality of service or even the leverage to bend rules. (Although occasionally some factors can allow some residents to access specific services not available to others.) However, I am starting to believe based on the frequency people interject these distinguishing factors into the discussion that they do expect that all this earns them something. And some who have obviously felt they have accumulated many “points” become very upset and agitated when these “points” are not taken into consideration by government staff. Some even begin repeating it as if the distinction was not clearly understand the first time.
I don’t believe citizens who fit this profile realize they are doing this, which makes me think they truly have an expectation that they have somehow have built up a cache of credit that can be cashed in. In the end, I wonder if this is a common behavior by citizens living all over the U.S., is it a common behavior in other countries, and should government implement a system where points could be earned for various activities and then cashed in for services?