There is a reason for “putting it in writing.” A phone call does not provide the permanent type of record that a letter or an email does; moreover, it does not provide the same argument that something in writing provides. But sometimes, even this type of correspondence does not put enough pressure on the parties involved.
The best development to happen to Hartford’s 311 service has been the dynamic map that has been made available to the public. This map shows recent open and closed complaints.
It enables one to look at cases throughout the city, zoom in on areas of interest, and determine what problems exist where (and which ones are never dealt with). For instance, I made a graffiti complaint using SeeClickFix on July 7. The 311 service did not respond to that until July 16, though the GIS Services map marked the complaint on July 13. Though this is not what I would consider prompt response time, it is a great improvement over my interactions with the 311 service via email — some of which received no response. The graffiti, at least of three days ago, remains; however, the complaint itself has been publicly acknowledged on this map. When an issue has been resolved, the complaint is removed from the 311 map.
Some common complaints/queries: burned out streetlights, tax, “non-urgent housing condition” (blight?), waste not picked up, and condition of parks/city property.
Reprinted with permission of Kerri Provost, author of the blog RealHartford.
To view other stories on this topic, search RealHartford at http://www.realhartford.org/.