Monday, May 26, 2008
I’ve heard through the grapevine that someone in Public Works checks this blog on occasion to find out about problem areas that need attention.
Obviously this site has presented a plethora of pooch poop pix lately. Maybe this problem will be addressed.
But it shouldn’t be just me pointing out all the litter and doggerolls. Government should be more of a two-way effort, especially on the local level. You have to do your part.
But which channel should you use? Should you try a phone call, postal letter or email? And where to send your complaint? Which department: Police, Public Works, or Building Inspector? Or how about contacting the mayor directly? Will your complaint result in action? Or will it be passed along to someone else and end up in a dead file?
I propose the city should have one channel devoted to complaints, an action line. To save time a format would be in place to quickly file a complaint, using the 3 W’s: What, Where, and When.
The channel could have two inputs: a dedicated phone line and a website form. The complainant would be instructed to give the basic details. For example:
WHAT: Dogshit on sidewalk.
WHERE: Near Clinton Street Laundry (street numbers could be used).
WHEN: Seen about 5PM, Monday afternoon, May 26th.
In the morning Public Works – or whatever entity designated to handle the channel - could check the phone messages and the online site for complaints. Someone would go out and take care of the problems.
Using one channel would increase efficiency and there would be no excuse that the problem wasn’t passed along to the right person. Of course, someone might make a false report or the problem might be resolved before the city gets there. Such incidents would be indicated in the records. But, more importantly, the records would give an indication of what problems are out there.
The city has been whining it has no money. Setting up a 3W phone line and website form shouldn’t cost that much. Also, with a record of ongoing problems, the city could use the data to see if any grant money or other funds were available to maintain the semblance of a clean community.
But if such an action line is put in place, it will mean nothing if you don’t use it.