Strategize for success
Strategy 1: Streamline & Stay Flexible
We've all been there. We do our due diligence by visiting the website only to see a page that is overwhelming with information. It's enough to deter anybody and cause them to stop their efforts. Less is more.
In the case of the City, there needs to be a rethinking of our production process because it will directly impact service to the public. That process includes, but is not limited to, how to process requests (online submissions are still not available city-wide) and how long it takes to get through to a live phone operator.
The first strategy is to streamline our efforts with an eye toward what works today and what will work tomorrow. Time's change and we all must stay flexible in our pursuit of excellence; this means incorporating modern technology when needed, recognizing when a new tool doesn't work.
Strategy 2: Do the Work Today, Save on Work Tomorrow
There are a number of reasons why errors are made. These errors lead to phone calls regarding tax bills, erroneous assessments and over-assessments; there is value in the time lost to fielding those calls and making corrections. There is also time lost during the initial assessment which I consider a wasted effort. Additionally, many homeowners contact us (at the Assessor) because instructions on our forms are unclear - this naturally produces some apprehension among individuals because property tax is not something you want problems with down the road! There are many other such examples that are simply too small for government to look into (it's not important enough, you see). I'm sure the same is happening at the City and I want to change that.
At District 6, knowledeable staff and I will find solutions that will better close the gap on unforced errors. I believe such an effort may stem the subsequent work load which means our workers will have time enough to focus on individual cases, city-wide projects, and outreach. I believe this may also provide peace of mind for the taxpayers in Los Angeles.
Strategy 3: Increase Inter-Agency Cooperation
There is opportunity for growth in this area. Many of the inter-agency communications are still conducted on paper. This means that there is time wasted in organizing, printing/copying, and delivering documents to other agencies (Building & Safety, DOT, Sanitation, etc.). Additionally, there is a hard cost in receiving, maintaining, and disposing of such documents. One could argue that there is an environmental cost as well.
I will reach out to other actors (city council, mayor, etc.) and departments to coordinate a new, acceptable methodology that would assist in our efforts toward a more responsive, accountable, and greener work flow.
Strategy 4: Better Hiring, Promotions, and Retention
These factors affect the homeowner because it takes time to train and even more time to become experienced enough to provide an excellent work product. Hiring sprees by government offices take a lot of effort and the best candidates are not always hired.
It all begins with hiring the right people and retaining them. A natural way to lure new hires and improve retention is to promote a better work/life balance by offering remote work. Remote work has the added benefits of reducing reliance on fossil fuels at a time when gas prices are high (savings), reducing emissions (air quality), reducing traffic (which helps everybody), reducing mileage paid to staff (savings) and reducing the need for office space (savings). Unfortunately, there is a current trend in bringing all workers back to the office setting. This "back to normal" mentality has done just that - I recently spent two hours going Downtown and back, during non-peak hours. I don't think that's the kind of normal any of us want.
A way of retaining new hires is to implement an advancement process that is better able to value the characteristics of employees that align with the new vision for what the city can be; a vision of improved service through initiative, flexibility and innovation. Otherwise, you'll just end up with more of the status quo. That's bad for business.