Bass issues executive directive on city service requests

Wave Wire Services

BOYLE HEIGHTS — Mayor Karen Bass signed off on an executive directive Oct. 30 aimed at decreasing wait times for city services and enhancing their quality.

“A world-class city deserves world class services. That means faster, higher quality and better results,” Bass said during a news conference announcing her fifth executive directive since becoming mayor.

“Just last week, I had someone come up to me and say they had lodged a 311 ticket multiple times and their item still wasn’t handled. That needs to change. Today, we are taking a step toward improving not only the customer experience, but the results of our operations.”

The mayor was joined by members of her administration and city departments at the Boyle Heights home of Nancy Ramirez, who shared her experiences in requesting services from the city.

Ramirez had previously contacted the city several times regarding junk lying outside her home. Bass said they spoke earlier, and that it’s Angelenos such as Ramirez who will benefit from the directive.

Bass’ directive is intended to speed up operations such as graffiti removal, pothole repair and bulky item pick up, as well as making communication more transparent between the city and the individual who made a service request.

The mayor cited the ongoing high rate of vacancies in several departments for what some people may say is a “lack of response” from the city regarding service requests.

While she said the city is working to expand its workforce, Bass said hearing from constituents about their frustrations around city services was an “indication that we need to upgrade our services.”

Additionally, as instructed by the mayor, a customer service steering committee will be formed to oversee the modernization of the MyLA311 system — the city’s existing request platform for services on private property such as homes or businesses, and in the public right of way such as streets and sidewalks.

Deputy Mayor for Infrastructure Randall Winston will lead the committee, with support from Bass’ offices on community engagement, finance and innovation.

Winston said they will be evaluating the full life cycle of all 68 service requests the city handles, set new targets for completing those services, and hold departments accountable.

These enhancements may involve streamlining department workflow and “reengineering” services that may require multiple departments to increase efficiencies, Winston added. The committee will also look to establish a method to regularly collect customer feedback.

“We will ensure better results by establishing the first-ever, citywide customer service policy to empower our employees to provide more focus on customer experience,” Winston said.

Bass said the customer service policy will be established within the next 120 days to ensure that Angelenos have “clear expectation for the level of service they are entitled to from the city.”

Aura Garcia, president of the Board of Public Works, encouraged L.A. residents to use the city’s existing MyLA311 system even as the city works to improve it.

“The Department of Public Works is responsible for the maintenance, repair and cleanliness of the public right of way,” Garcia said. “Due to that, we receive the majority of 311 requests.”

She said Angelenos can request in advance that bulky items be removed, or items can be collected on residents’ regular trash pickup day at no cost. Angelenos can also request the removal of such items as electronic waste, mattresses, refrigerators and other household items.

In 2022, the Office of Community Beautification received more than 13,000 requests for graffiti removal, while the Bureau of Street Lighting received about 35 requests for street light repair, and the Bureau of Street Services received more than 42,000 pothole request services, Garcia said.

“We need everyone to join in this effort,” Garcia said. “If you need a bulky item picked up, let us know. If you’re driving or walking around your neighborhood and you see something that needs to be repaired, let us know. Call 311 or use MyLA311 app. It’s fast and easy.”