11 February 2010

Customer Service: Tammany Style

The thrust of comments made on CBC Radio this morning by the guy responsible for clearing the snow:

**  Yeah we buried the taxpayer’s driveway and then didn’t do anything about it for three days after the storm even after he called the right number and pointed out our mistake like we told him he should.

We showed up three days later by which time he’d dug himself out and the snow had melted a bit.

There was no real problem by then.

These things happen.

We have a gajillion miles of streets and if we responded to just one percent of the calls about driveways we’d never get anything done.

Now this driveway was hard to see, so maybe – and only maybe – if the taxpayer had taken it on himself at his own expense to mark the driveway somehow we might have avoided the problem.  There’s no guarantee though because we keep shifting the drivers around and they don’t always know the neighbourhoods.  **

Or words to that effect.

Absolutely amazing.



Robert said...

...and that guy is one of the 'staff' who will 'help' our mayor decide on the ultimate merits of the Fortis proposal?

I can stop worrying now.

Ed Hollett said...

Not that i know but others just like may well have.

Now paul's a good guy.

What he should have said was simple:

"Oops, we made a simple mistake. here are the simple details of the simple mistake.

And here's what we are going to do to fix the problem:

on our magic GPS system that I use to track every plough, I am going to make sure this spot is marked on our GIS system so it never happens again.

Sorry, again but we are going to make sure this doesn't happen again no matter who is ploughing that street."

Robert said...

Perhaps I should have been clearer.

I did not mean to take a poke at Mackay, per se.

It just galls me that time and time again I hear the mayor and other councilors say that they will 'refer that to staff', 'or rely on staff input', or whatever.

They were elevated to lead, yet all hands his on this snow issue, which obviously was a matter of great public interest, chose to hide behind 'staff'.

It was left to Mackay to defend the city's rotten response to a legitimate complaint. It may have been a staff function to deal with such things, but when it became a matter of public controversy, the elected bosses should have taken the lead.

In similar fashion, I have heard O'Keefe state twice in the media that he will look to staff to review the Fortis proposal, as if he were merely a spectator in the process. As in any beauracratic organization, municipal staff will have a series of measures against which to judge the Fortis proposal. I doubt that 'is this idea good for the future of the city, from a social and aesthetic point of view' are amongst them. Yet we are to place our city's fate in their hands, instead of the people who were elected to do that job.

Ed Hollett said...

Well to come to Mackay's defence, I'd have to disagree.

This snow complaint is the sort of issue where the people doing the work have more credibility than a political mouthpiece. Paul does a good job on bhealf of the city in explaining these issues. He's straightforward.

For me he went off the rails here because his response - while straightforward - send a bad message. These things happen.

I'd much rather hear about streets from the guy in charge of it than from a councillor who would likely only be able to pull off the sort of appalling performance we see from Dave Denine (on the fire inspections thing) or, for that matter, Tom Hedderson on just about any subject in the book.