The Origins of StateStat (continued)

And the fourth tenet is relentless follow-up and assessment.

Trash is something that drives residents crazy. It also drives mayors crazy - I can't drive around Baltimore without a little pad to write down trouble spots for Public Works to clean. We are determined that city government will not contribute to the problem - so one of the things we're tracking is missed trash collections.

neighborhood vacant housing map
neighborhood vacant housing aerial view

We hold supervisors accountable by geographic districts, and we use CitiStat meetings to share successful tactics and reward top performers with monetary bonuses and little things, like tickets to sporting events.

Follow-up is relentless, and we are insistent on improving service to the public. But on any given fall Sunday, the City's skybox at the Ravens' game is more likely to be filled with trash collectors or fleet mechanics than it is to be filled with business executives.

The results speak for themselves. Complaints are down by more than half since August. And, last year, we collected 65% more trash than 1999 - 74,000 tons, compared to 45,000 tons.

We are just now adding another critical component that will improve our ability to implement all four CitiStat tenets. We are currently phasing in a one-call customer service center, which will give residents the same level of ease in dealing with city government they now have in dealing with the phone company or electric utility.

Instead of making 6 or 7 phone calls - to DPW and the City Council and the Mayor's office and their uncle who works for city government - citizens will be able to call one central number, receive a tracking number for their complaint - and get updates on when the complaint will be addressed by checking the city website or by making a phone call.

parcels map
map of trash complaints

The one-call center also will give us the same consistent information as the Police Department's 911 call center, which is one of the reasons that Comstat has been so successful - the information is easy to track and there is one primary input.

We already have the system up and running for many common complaints, like potholes. The last slide was an actual tracking form. This system has allowed us to make a guarantee that all potholes will be fixed within 48 hours - which we are meeting by pinmapping and relentless follow-up. We already are achieving a 97% success rate after 1 month.

We will be implementing more guarantees, so that residents will know what they can expect from city government and employees will better know what is expected from them.

CitiStat is helping us replace a culture of delay and avoidance with a culture of accountability and results - monitored by technology - that is permeating every city agency. It puts information into the hands of many managers, rather than a few. And this shared knowledge allows government to change and adjust more quickly to better serve the public.

CitiStat is raising expectations in government and outside government. Residents are seeing improvements, and they can check CitiStat reports on our website, every week. Technology is making government more open, more transparent and, therefore, more accessible and accountable.

And line managers in Baltimore have more interaction with top city officials - and more decision-making authority - than in any other city in America.

That is CitiStat. It is how we run city government in Baltimore. And I predict it is how many city governments will be managed within 5 years. With $20,000, off-the-shelf software, and a few good people, you can revolutionize city government.


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