Co-STARs

Becky Andreasen, Richard Aus, Donald Brown, Jan Caswell, Ron Guy, Massa Kroma, Bee Lor, David Moore, Diane Nelson, Richard Paulsen, Paula Pearson, Shannon Ridley, Rebecca Sandell, Jennifer Schlosser, Mary Swetland, Thao Vang, Lincoln Vincent and Ben Zinnel
Code Compliance and Traffic Control divisions in Regulatory Services Department, 311, and the Information Technology Department

Regulatory Services Deputy Director of Parking Management and Traffic Control Clara Schmit-Gonzalez nominated the team for creating an electronic process to keep track of abandoned vehicles:

“This project replaced a paper process with many flaws. Errors and delays occurred with the previous paper process. In addition, the paper process prevented 311 from immediately having information available when residents called about what action had been taken with abandoned vehicles and what was pending.

“The City now has a paperless process to chalk abandoned vehicles that are parked for more than 72 hours. We no longer have to hunt for and sort through paper handwritten documents. We no longer have lost paper. It’s easier and faster to enter information, and the results are available to all in the 311 system for court cases or resident inquiries. This is something we have waited a long time to implement.

“At the same time, the City created the process for the abandoned vehicles, we separated out inoperable vehicles so we can better track those numbers, and we lowered the response time on dealing with inoperable vehicles.

“This project would not have been successful without each person doing their part from the bottom to the top. Users reported problems and supervisors and clerical staff reviewed entries and followed up when a step was skipped and a case wasn't closed properly. Leads and other staff have been involved in spreading the training from the test group to the rest of the department. 311 staff were religious about following up on why something didn't work the way we thought it should. This is a great example of teamwork and we had more timely and accurate responses and reports. We only have to print one page of data to take to court for any cases appealed. This process went smoothly and professionally.

“Our big gain in accuracy and effectiveness came without a big expense. We didn't have outside project managers or consultants. It was done by City staff working hard together to make things better.

“This project took a lot of cooperation and coordination between 311, IT, Code Compliance and Traffic Control staff. We would describe what we wanted to do and we would get back suggestions of what process we could use to accomplish each step. A particular hurdle was finding a way to document who did chalking with one date and time and then setting up a 72-hour timed event to bring that case back for follow up. At one point we thought this could not be done. However, then we hit on the idea of using precinct data we put in the complaint field to order data on a Cognos report that could time the event for us and list the cases due by precinct. We had a lot of dedicated people really looking for solutions and then testing the ideas until there was success. Everyone was accountable and held up their piece of this work. Everyone brainstormed and put in extra effort to make sure that things worked, that problems got fixed and that bugs were sorted out in testing rather than hitting them in real time.

“Residents and businesses can see much more quickly where we are in the process of enforcement with abandoned vehicles and when the next action step will be taken. 311 can more easily relate this information and know when to follow up also.”

Published Nov 1, 2016

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