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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Candidate Question#1: Human Resources & Management

Last week we sent out a 10 question questionnaire to the 2 Mayoral and 6 City Council candidates. Exactly half of the candidates took the opportunity to elaborate upon their platforms by answering the questions.

Each day (for the next 10) we will publish one question with all of the candidate responses. The respondents were Sal Panto, El Warner, Bill Timmann, and Roger Ruggles.

Question#1: Human Resources & Management

Are you satisfied with the way city hall functions? What issues need to be addressed to improve interaction between departments?

No, I am not satisfied with the way City Hall functions. City Hall has some very dedicated, talented, hard working employees but there are two areas that will be addressed, one on the first day of our Administration and one within the first year. The first is an increase in customer service including attitude, phone call protocol, voice mail etiquette, etc. The second is the fact that the physical facility hinders intra-department communication, cross-training and efficient use of office equipment. We will reduce the size of city hall by at least one floor in our first year to improve interaction between the departments and increase revenue to the city with the additional floor rental.

No, I am not satisfied with the way city hall functions and neither are most of the residents of the city. City hall is not a people friendly place. Most people when entering city hall find it confusing and not a welcoming atmosphere. In addition, the layout of offices in city hall is not conducive to critical communication between departments. I am in favor of consolidating city hall from 5 floors to 4 floors of the Alpha Building, organizing those floors to enhance productivity, and providing a reception area that directs individuals to the proper area for the service desired. This will improve the welcoming atmosphere of city hall, increase productivity, and also provide one additional floor that the city can lease for office space. I also believe that city hall needs to be open at least one night a week until 8:00 P.M. to better serve the residents of the City of Easton.

As stated earlier in this answer a rearrangement of the office space in the Alpha Building will be a significant improvement to interactions between departments. I also believe that we must develop a new Comprehensive Plan for the city. The current plan was adopted in 1997 and is not a document that reflects the current nature of the city. In this new Comprehensive Plan we must identify the interactions between departments and establish mechanisms that will promote that interaction. This will lead to greater efficiency in government, reduce costs and provide efficient service to the public.

Who in their right mind is satisfied with the way city hall functions? The way it functions is one of the biggest reasons that I am running. The short answer is, "NO" I am not satisfied with the way city hall functions.

The issues that need to be addressed are as follows: 1. Mandatory centralization of records. If we can link up all the departments into one centralized server, then when one person or company's name comes up in one department, it will put a flag up in all departments. 2. Streamlining the departments. Instead of having multiple departments doing similar but different jobs, let's combine those departments, and cut back on excessive management. 3. True Cabinet meetings, open to the public. At least 1 time a month, the mayor should be meeting with all of the heads of the departments at once. These meetings should be public record, and open for public comment so that the administration knows and learns what and where it's deficiencies are.

These are just ideas off the top of my head. I am sure that in 4 years, I can come up with a lot more.

I’m not happy with the way city hall functions, but City Council doesn’t run city hall. The departmental directors report to the Mayor. Council committee chairs work with directors, but don’t oversee them, or the departments they run. I would support streamlining city hall and professionalizing human resources in city hall, should the next mayor choose to do so.

4 comments:

Bernie O'Hare said...

This is a terrific public service. My hat is off to EU.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Please do me a favor. Will you please explain how this questionnaire went to each candidate? Are you certain they all got it? I'd hate to condemn a candidate who failed to responsd to something he knew nothing about. But if he or she knew, and still refused to answer you, that's a slap across the face of voters. Thank you.

House of Crayons said...

We emailed them all. And I spoke to each of them about it.

Alan Raisman said...

I have a question for the candidates. My name is Alan Raisman, a sophomore at Lafayette College. I founded an organization at Lafayette, Pards to People, which hopes to create a better connection between the college and the city. The only relationship the city has with Lafayette, currently, is through Lafayette's administration. Not one candidate has talked with the students at Lafayette without the help of a faculty member. Within the last year, I have gotten to know both Gary Bertsch and Sal Panto very well. I have met with Mayor Mitman, City Council candidate Bill Timmann, and I have conversed with Jeff Warren via email.

Since the beginning of my freshman year in August of 2006, I have met and talked with a large part of the Lehigh Valley. I feel, as a student, that Lafayette College is not yet associated with the city. The students, like myself, are known for our contributions as volunteers, and Lafayette College, as a whole, is known for its financial status. I went to the Debate at the State, and one question regarded Lafayette's relationship with the city. Sal Panto remarked that Lafayette was a financial asset to the city. Gary Bertsch calls me at least once every two weeks in regards to events in the city or volunteer opportunities. The students at Lafayette College are not treated as residents of the city, yet we are residents of Easton for four years, maybe longer. I personally have registered to vote in Easton, and I am looking forward to casting my vote on November 6, 2007.

My question to the candidates is this:
What will you do to encourage Lafayette students and faculty to get involved in the city of Easton?