Mayoral candidate Paula Havixbeck tackled one of the public’s biggest complaints with city hall – 311.
Havixbeck promised to overhaul 311, city hall’s single portal for complaints and queries.
"This will improve the day-to-day living for citizens in our city," Havixbeck said during a noon-hour news conference in the city hall courtyard.
Havixbeck, the first-term councillor from Charleswood-Tuxedo, said 311 would be re-organized to ensure that every caller’s issue would be managed by the same 311 agent, from start to finish.
Havixbeck also promised that timelines would be placed on every complaint, to ensure calls aren’t lost in a bureaucratic maze.
"They were told one thing… it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t get communicated," Havixbeck said of calls to 311.
"If something can’t be handled immediately, it would have to be triaged into a 30-day and have one person manage that," she said.
Havixbeck also promised to have a new CAO in place within 3 months of Oct. 22 election.
Veteran city administrator Deepak Joshi was appointed interim CAO following the sudden resignation in October of Phil Sheegl after revelations of further cost increases with the construction of the Smith Street police headquarters building and lingering concerns over the fire hall paramedic replacement program.
A search for a CAO was launched in the spring but the process was unexpectedly halted in early July – the public reason given that there wasn’t enough time to hire a replacement because of the October civic election.
But sources told the Free Press the real reason was a split within the nine-member committee (Mayor Katz and eight councillors), where a faction wanted the next mayor and council to decide who should be new CAO.
The hiring committee, with the help of a professional firm, had already vetted 80 applicants and were ready to produce a short-list. Katz said he was assured all but one of the original applicants would still be available for the position when a new hiring committee resumes the search.
Havixbeck said the office of the CAO would be restructured to ensure it has a customer-service focus.
"Fast, effective service needs to be the norm at city hall," Havixbeck said. "Our motto needs to shift to ‘how can we help you.’"