Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The One Time It's Not Needed

An anonymous friend writes (emphasis mine):

[S]ome genius at the Office of Technology is holding a two day workshop so that citizens can offer input to make 311 better. Nevermind that the problems with the system have nothing to do with purpose, and everything to do with execution! Nevermind that no one with half a brain would devote even 20 minutes to such puffery! Nevermind that whatever staff time is being devoted to this should be spent on actual technology work!

Well, you gotta hand it to interim chief technology officer M. Harrison Boyd for trying...

November 19, 2008

Dear Committed Citizens of NEW ORLEANS,

City of New Orleans has invested considerable efforts in the development of an effective, customer service, results driven 311 systems. This system has been designed to assist our citizens in times of emergencies, and to manage inquiries regarding critical city services. To this end, on December 4th and 5th 2008 an outreach session has been scheduled to offer representatives from our community the opportunity to share with us how we can enhance this critical city service to serve our families in the future.

If our 311 operation is to evolve and address the growing needs of our community, as it was intended, then it is essential that the community has input into defining the needs and services to be provided by 311. To that end, you are invited to participate in a workshop session focused on the future of the City's 311 system. The 311 workshop session will take place at the New Orleans Museum of Art on December 4th and 5th. Sessions will be full day events so please schedule accordingly. A detailed agenda will follow in the next few days.

The future of the city's 311 system is pretty simple to me: It either works and we keep it or it continues to be easily overwhelmed and we don't. But the way this city operates, maybe I should phrase it like this instead: It either works and we keep it or we continue to sink tens of millions of dollars into it in perpetuity regardless of results.


mominem said...

The real problem with the 311 system is that every process they are trying to inform people about is broken. You can ask the same question 5 times at city hall and get 7 answers, even if you ask the same person every time.

For a government that barely bothered to answer the phone before the 311 system it is simply an excuse to do less, because they never have to talk to actual citizens on the phone.

BD said...

I agree with Mominem. Furthermore, I don't give Harrison Boyd any credit. He hasn't responded to a single of multiple requests I've made to meet with him.

When he posts the records for *ALL* of the 311 calls (including how the calls were resolved) on the city's Web site, then I'll give him credit.


They do it in D.C.

Check it out:


More here:


Anonymous said...

Why can't the city do its job without hiring all these contractors? I have called 311 and it did not work from my phone. Then I called the city number. People were nice but never got a response until I called the councilperson. What a waste of money and councilperson's time. 311 should be dropped and money devoted to the city departments who need to respond to the problems. Citizen input is a crock. The council has told the 311 overseers, it sucks.