- The Washington Times - Friday, July 29, 2005


Callers got an odd voice-mail message yesterday on some City Hall phones.

“Please leave a voice message for 7,248,068 midget,” the computerized voice intoned when folks called the District’s John A. Wilson Building.

Or was that “7,248,068 maggot?”

Whatever it was, it wasn’t a D.C. agency or official.

Vincent Morris, spokesman for Mayor Anthony A. Williams, said the message was an error that resulted from the city government’s transition from Verizon’s lines to DC-NET, a fiber-optic telecommunication network.

Only a few of the government’s 20,000 phone lines bore the strange voice-mail message, which did not affect any city services, Mr. Morris said.

He couldn’t decipher the message’s disputed word, but he was sure it wasn’t “midget.”

“The new phone lines, the new fiber lines are working perfectly,” Mr. Morris said. “Any resident who has tried to get through has been able to after a short amount of time.

“Fortunately, our public safety network has been intact and continues to have extremely fast response times.”

Deidre Samson, chief of staff for the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, said the problem was almost “65 percent fixed” yesterday afternoon.

“And they are expecting to have the remainder of them fixed right away,” she said.

Verizon spokeswoman Christy Reap said the phone company is investigating the matter.

The Wilson Building began its transition to the new network this week.

Robert Redding Jr.

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