Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini.
A so-called “one call to City Hall,” is set to launch on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
The new 311 call center to link residents with city services is nearly ready to star with three trained staff members, Mayor James J. Fiorentini said Friday. Planning began in February, as WHAV reported then, when the city signed an agreement with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. A nonemergency constituent call service, the 311 call system allows residents to report issues and receive answers to general inquiries concerning the city by dialing 3-1-1.
“All too often when you call a large company for service you are run through a series of ‘press this number’ and it often takes 15 minutes or more to get a real human being on the phone. I find it so frustrating. I want you to have better service than that,” Fiorentini said.
As WHAV also reported in June, Rep. Brian S. Dempsey, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, and other members of the city’s legislative delegation delivered a nearly $60,000 grant to pay for the program.
“The new 311 initiative will increase accessibility to City Hall and improve civic engagement throughout the city,” Dempsey said at the time.
In February, Haverhill received $15,000 from the state to hire UMass Boston’s Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management to provide technical assistance in launching the 311 system.
“When a resident calls from a house or cell phone, 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,” explained Chief of Staff David S. Van Dam at the time.
“Our goal here at City Hall is give you the very best service that we can,” Fiorentini added. “In the meantime, you can call 978 358-1311 to test us out.”