City Manager Making DMV Employees Engage Customers In “Frank And Long-Overdue Discussions” About Euthanasia

Euthanasia Time

Inspired by corporations compelled to start awkward conversations Karlsfield, VT city manager Kevin Miles thinks awkward conversations have a place in local government.

Karlsfield, VT—This week, employees of both DMV offices in this northern Vermont town will try to spark customer conversation on the topic of euthanasia and assisted suicide by writing two words on new driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations: “Euthanasia Time.”

City Manager Kevin Miles said he is on a mission to encourage DMV customers and employees to discuss the controversial topic, under the firm belief that it’s a critical first step toward confronting — and solving — the divisive issues as a nation.

“Euthanasia is the story of America, our triumphs as well as our faults,” said the opening paragraph to a poster hanging on the front door of the Karlsfield DMV, signed by Miles. “Yet neither euthanasia nor assisted suicide is not a topic we readily discuss. It’s time to start.”

The DMV employees have been provided a pamphlet on euthanasia “conversation starters,” including one fill-in-the-blank question that simply asks: In the past year, I have seen a infirmed (sic) loved one lose the will to live ___ times.” It also encourages customers to tweet responses to questions at #EuthanasiaTime such as: How have your views on assisted suicide evolved from those of your parents?

In a video that Miles shared this week with several city employees, he explained what they should say to customers who ask them about the “Euthanasia Time” wording written on their driver’s licenses. “If a customer asks you what this is, try to engage in a discussion that we have problems in this country in regards to the old and sick wanting to end their suffering and those of their families. And we believe that we are better than this, and we believe our country is better than this.”

Miles and other senior City employees have visited with nearly 200 employees in forums on the topic over the past three months in the waste management, public works departments and city hall.

At the end of each forum, he said, employees have approached him and noted that the city has to do more than just host open forums. Miles said he hopes other cities — and other business leaders — join the cause.

The poster authored by Miles ends with this challenge: “Euthanasia Time is not a solution, but it is an opportunity to begin to re-examine how we can create a more empathetic and inclusive society — one conversation at a time.” Continue reading