Huntington Supervisor Frank P. Petrone and Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, joined by their Town Board colleagues, announced today that the Town has begin implementing Huntington at Your Service, a citizen request management system that will make it easier for residents to get information from Town Hall and file requests for action by the Town.
Huntington at Your Service will provide two new avenues of communication between the Town and citizens -- on the Town’s website and from a smart phone – as well as automated routing to ensure that a request for action is quickly forwarded to the right person at the right Town department. Citizens will be able to track the progress of their request, whether they use one of the new avenues of communication, telephone a Town Department or send a letter.
“Huntington at Your Service is a transformational change in the way the Town interacts with the public, helping people get what they need quickly,” Supervisor Petrone said. “Additionally, it is organized along the lines of how people think. There is no need to understand how Town government is structured. Huntington at Your Service takes care of that for you.”
“People communicate in so many different ways today, and they expect to be able to communicate with their government using their computers, their tablets and their smart phones,” said Councilman Cuthbertson, whose suggestion that the Town look into a smart phone app began the yearlong effort to enhance significantly the ways residents communicate with Town Hall. “Huntington at Your Service helps bring the Town’s communications efforts into the 21at century.”
Among the important features of Huntington at Your Service:
· citizens can get basic information and answers to frequently asked questions more quickly and easily. The key point of entry is a citizen portal on the Town’s website that has topics organized along the lines of how citizens think.
· citizens do not have to know how Town Hall is organized. The information will be taken at wherever the point of contact is and will automatically be routed to the right desk for action
· the number of people who get transferred from department to department when contacting Town Hall should be significantly reduced
· citizens will be able to track the progress of their request online, or, if they call, through a tracking number.
· through the map feature, citizens can show the exact location of their issue. They can also send photos or other relevant information to speed action on their request
A committee that included representatives from a cross-section of Town departments evaluated the requirements for a smart phone application. The committee realized that the Town needed a whole new system for how people could contact Town Hall, and a whole new level of organization at Town Hall to handle those contacts.
The Town issued a request for proposals for a citizen request management system, and, after evaluating the proposals, the Town Board approved retaining QScend Technologies of Waterbury, Connecticut. QScend has implemented its citizen request management product, QAlert, at more than 100 municipalities across the country, including Providence, Rhode Island; Reno, Nevada; Albany, Georgia; Newark, New Jersey; and many other communities in New Jersey and Connecticut.
Over the last six months, the Town committee has worked with QScend and with all Town departments to create the citizen request management system here. Training sessions were held over the past few weeks to introduce the system to Town employees.
This week, the Town began in-house implementation of Huntington at Your Service. Calls made to the Town will be entered into the system and handled through it. The in-house implementation will last about three weeks and will allow the Town to work out any bugs before starting the public-facing features.
Details of how Huntington at Your Service works are contained in two short videos that will be viewable through the Town website, the Town’s Facebook page or on YouTube. Supervisor Petrone hosts one of the videos, detailing how to use the system through the Town’s website. The other, narrated by Councilman Cuthbertson, details how to use the smart phone app.
“The Town has branded the system as Huntington at Your Service to reflect our rededicated commitment to making it easier for people to contact Town Hall and to take care of their business with the Town in the way that is easiest for them,” Supervisor Petrone said.
“Whether reporting a street light in need of replacement, filing a complaint about a barking dog or merely seeking information on Town programs, Huntington at Your Service markedly improves residents’ experience in dealing with their Town,” Councilman Cuthbertson said.
Councilman Mark Mayoka said, “Huntington at Your Service brings current technology to Town government and is a great benefit to residents.”