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Officials Scolded For Filing Late Reports
Copyright 2006 The Buffalo News
Buffalo News (New York)
Byline: By Brian Meyer - News Staff Reporter
City Hall's accountability panel scolded some department heads Friday for delays in supplying data that shed light on how well the city is delivering services.
Members of Byron W. Brown's CitiStat panel were miffed that reports requested weeks earlier from the Citizens Services and Streets Sanitation divisions didn't arrive on time.
One of the longest-tenured commissioners surprised some observers when he delivered a curt retort.
"I can spend my efforts picking up the garbage, or spend my efforts reporting on the garbage," said Public Works Commissioner Joseph N. Giambra.
But Brown had the final word.
"Commissioner, we need you to pick it up and report on it," the mayor responded.
Earlier, Brown bristled when learning that data the panel requested from the Citizens Services Division wasn't submitted on time.
"There is absolutely no excuse for that information not being provided," he said.
The admonitions were vivid examples of how some things have changed in City Hall since Buffalo ramped up its computerized tracking system last month.
In the past, it would have been a rare event when a mayor would publicly chew out members of his own administration -- much less in a meeting covered by reporters and later broadcast on a public access cable television station.
Some city staffers have only half-jokingly branded CitiStat sessions "The Inquisition." But Brown makes no apologies, noting that the new system patterned after a successful program in Baltimore is built on one word: accountability. The mayor said voters hold him accountable, and he intends to make his appointees accountable.
The six-member CitiStat panel is already highlighting some improvements. They include:
The average of length of time that citizens are put on hold when they call with complaints was cut in half last month, when the typical caller waited 17 seconds. In May, the average call was on hold for 34 seconds.
Most departments are resolving complaint calls faster. But Strategic Planning Director Timothy E. Wanamaker challenged administrators to improve the numbers by at least 25 percent.
Employees in the Citizens Services Division are taking fewer hours off in personal time.
© 2001-2011 City of Buffalo
Photos by Angel Art LTP, compliments of the Greater Buffalo Convention and Visitors Bureau. Additional photos by Adrian Roselli, compliments of Algonquin Studios