Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito officially signs a Community Compact in Haverhill City Hall as Mayor James J. Fiorentini and other officials look on.
Haverhill residents will soon be able to dial only three digits—311—to obtain information from city hall or receive answers to questions.
The non-emergency 311 system is considered a “best practice” by the Commonwealth and the centerpiece of a “community compact” signed yesterday by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito in Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s office.
“Today we signed an agreement, called a ‘community compact’ with the state to continue our best practices. In return, the state will give us a small grant to improve our constituent services and extra points on future grant applications,” Fiorentini said.
David S. Van Dam. Fiorentini’s chief of staff, said the city has received a $15,000 state grant to hire UMass Boston’s Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management to provide technical assistance in launching the 311 system.
“The 311 initiative is a priority for the mayor. When a resident calls from a house or cellphone, the call goes to a phone bank at city hall—an excise tax question, for example. Phone bank people are educated on all departments, but if you need additional information or more detailed information, calls can be forwarded to departments,” Van Dam said.
Haverhill will hire people to handle telephone calls, he said.
“Excited to work with Mayor Jim Fiorentini and the City of Haverhill as our newest Community Compact partner,” Polito said in an online message.
Last year, Gov. Charles D. Baker signed an executive order creating his Community Compact Cabinet. “In a Community Compact, a community will agree to implement at least one best practice that they select from across a variety of areas. The community’s chosen best practice(s) will be reviewed between the Commonwealth and the municipality to ensure that the best practice(s) chosen are unique to the municipality and reflect needed areas of improvement,” reads a statement from the governor’s office.
Agreements run two years and are monitored by the state’s Division of Local Services.
The state has signed compacts with 72 other communities including, Newburyport, Amesbury and Lawrence.
“Compacts are an opportunity for cities and towns to choose their own best practices that they’d like to implement and in return the Commonwealth provides resources and incentives to help them do so,” Mark Steffen, spokesperson, told WHAV.