The Citizen Connection History

Novenber 2012 Council Meeting 
[vsw id=”Q8zoHR1HJAY” source=”youtube” width=”525″ height=”444″ autoplay=”no”]

From: Patrick Nelan []
Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2012 2:00 PM
To: Ford, Bob
Cc: Parker, Ken; Green, Allen; Burnette, Don; Kennedy, Dennis; Bastian, Drew
Subject: Port Orange needs a Virtual Help Desk program
On Dec 5, 2012, at 2:01 PM, “Patrick Nelan” <> wrote:
to:  Hi Bob; Ken
In regards to your recent concerns on the lack of viable tracking of complaints to city staff.   What the City needs is called a Virtual Help Desk software program.  Other Cities have been using Virtual Help Desk programs for years, perhaps it is a good time for Port Orange to catch up on today’s Web technology.
As a case at point, check out the Virtual Help Desk web page from the municipality of  Destin, Florida at ::::
I am sure if Port Orange asks nicely, our sister city of Destin, Fl  will gladly supply us with a copy of their software.   And hopefully our IT staff has the capability to revise it to fit Port Orange.
Speaking of Municipal web sites, I am sure someone on city staff spent a lot of time developing the Port Orange web page, and it was a good effort, but it looks like a leftover from the 90’s.  Take a look at the Home pages of  Help Desk type Web sites like the City of Destin, FL and/or Anchorage, AK and numerous other cities.  No need to reinvent the wheel, if we see one the fits nicely for Port Orange  and we ask nicely for a copy, I am sure most other City’s will be happy to share with us.
from: Parker, Ken <>12/7/12
to Nelan, CityCouncil, DeptHeads
The City has used both a centralized and a decentralized approach over the years.
one of the best process is in Public Works.  When a call comes in, the individual who answers the phone is the “help desk”.  His job is to log in the call and make sure that the superintendent is made aware of the problem.  He follows up with the citizen.
At one time, we had the same type of answering point in Community Development.  That position provided the same type of service to the citizens as described in Public Works.  That position was eliminated during the budget cut backs.  The automated answering system was put in place to handle code enforcement calls when code officers were out.  The same process was in place for building inspections and permitting.
For City Council Members, the method was centralized the contact and tracking of complaints.  Executive Assistant to the City Manager is the tracker of complaints for City Council Members.  At one point, there was a part time clerical position in the Manager’s Office who provided support to the Executive Assistant in keeping track of Council Member complaints.  The part time position was eliminated as part of the budget cutting process.
Some cities have open Customer Service Centers.  Cities have to determine what types of calls are going to be centralized and what types of calls will remain de-centralized.  Will this center focus on just code enforcement, streets, drainage, solid waste, etc, not utility services and billing issues?
One of the suggestions was placing Code Enforcement items on line so that citizens can access the status of complaint.   We are exploring how this can be done so that citizens have access to this data and the status of the complaint.
Many private sector companies have moved to one stop Customer Service Centers.  These Centers  provide their customers a  single contact number.   I concur with Mr. Nelan that we do not need to reinvent the wheel. There are a number of models out there.
Sent from my iPad
from:  Nelan <>
to bford, Greg, CityCouncil
We totally agree with you and others, that something may have run off
the rails in Port Orange. It has not gone unnoticed by us that you
have been trying to resolve some of the deficiencies within the city’s
internal communications for more than a year.
Below is a link to a video clip and some old city hall emails about
this issue. Via a Dec. 6, 2012 email, former City Manager Parker said
they are working on it. Via a Aug.13, 2013 email the current manager
said they are still working on it.
We know the wheels of government move slowly, but the long delay in
resolving this issue is perplexing. Who and why is someone at City
Hall dragging their feet on this problem.
Long ago, many local governments and large corporations have
established Virtual Help Desk with ticket systems, that internally &
externally help track the complaints; request; concerns and
recommendations of users. Many of these applications are available
for free via the Internet, and could be up and running within a few
As a case at point, recently it was noted in the city email files, the
City Manager and a local Councilman had to personally go out to check
a complaint about a boat parked on city property. A prime example of
a inefficient use of an executives time. It is hard to believe that
no one else at a lower level within the city’s workforce knows what a
boat looks like.
The read file is also full of other issues unnecessarily taken up the
Managers time, (with some of those issues falling thru the cracks),
that could easily be addressed and tracked by a Virtual Help Desk.
Bob, keep trying, sooner of later they will see the light, that by
using some internet tools and applications will make city management
functions more efficient.
Pat Nelan
Attention to Detail October 17, 2013 7:29 AM
From: “Bob Ford” <>
To:”Greg Kisela” <>
Have had several citizens advise me that often damaged, unsightly,
hazardous situations around the City tend to be ignored by the City. A
number of years ago reacting to the very same problem, the police
department as part of its community policing initiative instituted
“Action Grams”. These were forms where the officer noting a sign down
or destroyed, a code violation, or a hazard would fill out a brief
form which would be forwarded automatically to a designated location
for action by the appropriate city department.
It was very successful and the City Manager expanded the program to
all City Departments. For some reason, this program (as well as
others) was abandoned. We need to reinstitute action grams, perhaps
updated and made electronic.
From: Kisela, Greg via
Attachments 8/13/13
to Pat, CityCouncil
Pat: we have been working on it. We have the basis of an internally developed system. We have also reviewed an external system that seems to do everything we want at a very modest cost.
It allows customers to log a complaint and/or concern and we can then track it as it works through the system. It will also map the complaints so you can see if an issue is confined to a particular geographic area. We have several cities that use this system in Volusia County and I am talking with them to verify their satisfaction.
Greg Kisela
City Manager
Sent from my iPad
On Aug 12, 2013, at 1:16 PM, “Pat Nelan” <<>> wrote:
The City of Port Orange is still in need of a centralized “Virtual Help Desk” with a ticket system to track residents & council request and complaints.
video clip of a November 2012 Council meeting<>feature=player_embedded&v=<>Bob Ford<>
Below is a copy of a couple emails sent to & from City Hall over nine months ago.
On December 7,2012 the City Manager said “…..We are exploring how this can be done so that citizens have access to this data and the status of the complaint …..”
How’s that going ?? Anybody start working on it yet?
Pat Nelan


One thought on “The Citizen Connection History

  • January 26, 2015 at 11:34 am

    All I can say is HELP.


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