Tag Archives: citistat

Citistat, Six Sigma, and Failure

11 Dec

BuffaloGeek compares & contrasts the county’s and city’s initiatives to document and improve various governmental processes, and the efforts to lurch WNY government out of its perpetual state of 1950s-ism.

The process to reserve a shelter at a county park takes 72 separate steps. Seventy-two. Six Sigma is supposed to help the County figure out ways to streamline that process, make it cheaper and more customer-friendly.

In the meantime, while the county is looking into streamlining, “CitiStat” appears to be an utter and complete waste of space and time, with no real dissemination of information. For instance, if you want to find out what the sewer department does, you’ll find it via CitiStat.

If, however, Citistat is designed to be a process improvement program that documents workflow and identifies areas for improvement and cost savings, I’m not really seeing it.

And if that’s true, then what on Earth is the point of the program?

Citistat FAIL

10 Dec

After spending some time going through the Six Sigma reports on the Erie County website, I thought I’d take a spin over to the other paragon of governmental FAIL, The City of Buffalo.  I thought I might take a peek at the Citistat meetings and comb through some of the reports to see what progress was coming from the process reporting.  After all, Citistat is kind of like Six Sigma, just without the procedural elements and no definitive measurement methodology.

First of all, why does the City of Buffalo post the videos of their Citistat meetings only in Microsoft Windows Media Player format?  I own a Mac and don’t have a Windows Media Player on my desktop.  I also own a Solaris laptop and a Linux desktop.  None of these computers are equipped to play the videos.  Why not an open format?  Or, hey, why not upload the videos to a video sharing website so they can absorb the bandwidth costs and the city can expand interaction with the local citizenry?

Secondly, after paging through the reports, I’m not exactly certain what the value of Citistat actually is.  It seems like each department head is reporting on activity on a sporadic basis and the detail in the reports is a bit wanting.  Let’s take the report from the Buffalo Sewer Authority in June of 2005 as an example.  Most of the presentation is dedicated to a description of how the sewer system works.  The rest of the presentation is filled with ambiguous deadlines for project completion without any valuable information in regards to cost, process mapping, internal procedures, or hints about how the Sewer Authority is looking to reduce costs or perform their required tasks in a more expedient manner.

If this program is designed to simply document what each department does without any critical analysis, I give it an A+.  If, however, Citistat is designed to be a process improvement program that documents workflow and identifies areas for improvement and cost savings, I’m not really seeing it.  I’ve gone through the reports from the Buffalo Police Department, Fire Department, Sewer Authority, and other organizations and what I see is a public relations effort to demonstrate that this Mayor means business.  What that business is, I don’t know.

I’ll be making some calls to City Hall over the next couple of days to get some more information about Citistat and what benefits the City feels it has gleaned from the effort, but I’m not holding my breath for any revealing tidbits of information.  We assigned Jon Splett to write an article on Citistat last year and he was rebuffed by every official he spoke with, which is generally how it goes with the Brown Administration.

Please Call the City

2 Jun

Here’s another one that’s slipped through the imminent threat/CitiStat firewall.

Fix Buffalo posts about this house
at 70 Riley Street:

Today I’m asking you for help. Please take a moment and call the Mayor’s Call and Resolution Center at 716-851-4890 or complete the form available from that link. Or if you prefer, contact Councilman Brian Davis who represents the Ellicott District where 70 Riley Street is located. He can be reached at 716-851-4980. In either case please let them know that 70 Riley Street is clearly beyond repair and should be demolished immediately.

Then go back and let him know in comments that you’ve called/complained.

Was CitiStat Asleep?

22 May

Artvoice reports on the City Comptroller’s preliminary audit of the Mayor’s Impact Team, members of which were caught on video working on a supervisor’s home’s landscaping one day:

What we have found in our preliminary review of the Mayor’s Impact Team is a lack of controls across the board that in effect condones an environment where incidents like the one that allegedly occurred on April 25 can take place. Let me cite a few examples.

A spot check on May 13 at the Impact Team’s headquarters in Shoshone Park found time sheets that had been signed twice for the day, even though the workday was not yet complete. Also at Shoshone Park we discovered poor inventory controls with a lack of proper marking and reliance mostly on the memory of one employee.

We also found areas of concern regarding fuel, a costly item in the current economic environment. Four employees have access to the Fuelmaster system but gas cans can be filled for mowers and gas-powered equipment with no odometer readings, using instead the reading from the truck carrying the equipment. If a gas container can be filled, so can an unregistered vehicle, or at least topped off. Tighter controls are obviously needed.

As to the day in question, April 25, according to MIT officials, members of the Impact Team were absent without leave that afternoon when the work on the private residence took place. The sign-out sheets for that day indicate that two employees including the crew chief, who approved the time sheet, signed out at noon. Another worked signed in and out and later crossed his name out altogether.

After the fact, a slip requesting a day off for that employee appeared in Public Works offices, signed by the crew chief. There are no records to account for the use of city vehicles or equipment.

Read the whole post here.