Archive for November, 2007

Overview of U.S. and Canadian 311 city and county service center

Montag, November 26th, 2007

(Übersicht US und kanadische 311 Call Center)

I have created a mash-up of the U.S. and Canadian 311 projects (last update: 9/26/07) which I would like to share with you. There are currently around 70 service centers (311) in the U.S.. Most of the 311 projects have been realized on the municipal level and in most of the U.S. biggest cities. While 11 countys have decided to offer 311, not all of them are multi-jurisdictional, that is information and services from the municipalities within a county are not integrated. Furthermore, 311 services can have various levels of sophistication and may either be operated by the police department or by newly generated 311 service units/departments.

The first city to test 311 was Baltimore in 1996, however, it was Chicago which used 311 in 1999 in a much broader way for public service provision, city management and accountability. The City of Chicago’s 311 still is the first place to visit and learn from for many elected officials and public managers. Today, New York City is the biggest 311 implementation in the U.S. (size of the service center/ population served) and probably the most well known implementation due to the global media coverage it received. With a pop of approx. 5400 Alaska’s City of Bethel is the smallest place to use the number.

Except for the City of Somverille none of the cities in Massachusetts have implemented 311. Given the close proximity of cities in the greater Boston metro area its really hard to understand from a citizen’s perspective why there couldn’t be a single 311 solution for the whole area. After all, there would be around 3.6 million people less to serve than in NYC and there should be many information redundancies.

View Larger Map

Blue = Municipal 311 (Realized)
Red = County 311 (Realized)
Yellow = Planning or implementation stage
Green = 311 in Canada

If you know about new 311 projects please email me.

Finding Talent in Government

Freitag, November 16th, 2007

Governments worldwide are facing three issues of importance. Many experienced administrators will retire which also results in a drain of knowledge. Furthermore, governments have to do more with less and be innovative by i.e. exploiting the benefits of ICT while at the same time cutting budgets. I recently read an article about new government recuriting methods which nicely illustrates Granovetter’s theory of weak ties for job finding and possible utilization of SNS in government.

“All over the country, municipalities are widely reporting that it’s hard to recruit city managers, technology directors, engineers and people with expertise in the fields of accounting and finance. States seem to be having a little easier time of it right now, especially if they are in the heady throes of gubernatorial transition. In Massachusetts and New York, private-sector experts in areas ranging from public health to homeland security have been enticed to lend a hand to ambitious new governors, even though it has meant putting another career on hold and taking a huge hit in salary […] When Antonio Villaraigosa became mayor of Los Angeles in 2005, his headhunters required all potential high-level aspirants to apply online, says his transition chief and now chief of staff, Robin Kramer. In the end, Villaraigosa ended up filling most of his top jobs the tried-and-true way: He approached people who were known to him or his top staff or who were referred by some other trusted source. “

In order to find the right people governments are increasingly tapping into headhunters, web based job platforms and certainly social networking sites like LinkedIn to widen their choice of possible candidates.