Mayor has new program for citizen complaints

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Eric Blackstock - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones is launching a new initiative for strengthening community relationships Monday.

Mayor Jones is calling his new campaign the "Mayor's Participation and Communication Corps," or "IMPACC."

From paving to potholes, downed trees, to collecting trash, most citizens file complaints or request for service through the 311 call center, but several council members and the mayor have said that system needs improvement.

"The former administration started it. Quite frankly it has been nothing but a boondoggle," said Richmond City Council member Bruce Tyler.

We were allowed access to the Citizens Request Tracking System. We entered a complaint about high grass and in one result were told it would take 15 days to fix. Moments later, we entered it again and were told it would take 60 days.

"If you have an alley problem, it takes 120 days from the date you enter it into the system to actually get the alley fixed," said Tyler.

In a meeting last week, the mayor told council he's trying to improve the way those complaints reach city hall. He's dividing the city up by the police precincts and appointing citizens to be team leaders.

The initiative is being billed as a way for citizens to make sure their voice is heard and to strengthen the relationship between city government and neighborhoods.

"It's a step in the right direction. The bottom line is we need to serve the citizens and the way we are doing it right now is not the right way," said Tyler.

A few council members, who do not want to be identified until they've heard more about the plan, say the plan is political and infringes on the job of a council person.

Council President Kathy Graziano said today, "I personally am glad to see the mayor get involved in the delivery of services to citizens. His personal involvement may make a great deal of difference."

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