What is responsive government?
Responsive government is government that works for the citizens and works quickly. Responsive officials are officials who return calls, letters, and e-mails quickly, with information and help that citizens need.
What we're doing right
As a citizen, I've had excellent turnaround time from many Seattle offices. When I call Seattle Ethics and Elections with a question for instance – even a complex one – someone usually gets back to me within hours. I've had excellent experiences with the police and fire departments over the years as well. Unfortunately, not every department gives this level of service, and the higher up the ladder you go, the worse it gets. The Mayor and City Council are particularly weak in this area.
What we can do better
Citizens tell me they sometimes wait months to hear back from city officials – even on basic questions. That's unacceptable. Naturally, some questions take longer than others to answer, but all customers have a right to know that their question has been received and is being worked on in a timely manner.Every city department needs to have a clear policy on turnaround time, and that policy needs to be communicated to every person who writes in or calls with a question. Example: "Our goal is to answer all calls and letters within two business days."
What I'll do to help
I will push to create a new Culture of Responsiveness at City Hall. I'll do that primarily by modeling responsive behavior myself. I will spend as much time as possible out in the neighborhoods, meeting with constituents in small groups across the city, making sure they feel like City Hall is hearing their concerns. I will also work to reverse the damage Mayor Ed Murray did when he defunded and shut out the neighborhood councils. Murray was right that these councils need to be more diverse. But he was wrong to simply slam the door on them.
► Secret Caller I and my aides will pose as private citizens and randomly call or e-mail different City departments asking for help. If the turnaround time is unacceptable, we will get back to the people responsible and work out an improvement plan. We will follow up with them regularly to ensure that they are showing improvement.
► Publishing turnaround times I will publish response turnaround times for myself and my staff.