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You can fight city hall

Or, at least, you can get a speedier response through a new electronic workflow system that Bakersfield, CA, has implemented to track resident reports of everything from broken traffic lights to potholes.

City officials say the new system from Metastorm, called e-work, will make it easier for them to respond to citizen complaints and questions. The workflow solution is expected to expedite processing of communitywide reports from citizens regarding everything from vandalism of public property to missed garbage pickups. The initial implementation will link hundreds of city workers via Bakersfield’s intranet so that employees can route inquiries to the appropriate departments in real time and track all activity related to them.

“One of the major benefits is the system’s ability to automate many of our paper-intensive processes and link the status of a given inquiry via the Web to the city’s various databases,” says Bob Trammell, MIS director for the city. “This alone will accelerate response time significantly as we strive to be as responsive as possible to our constituents. In addition, the city’s agencies will be able to process internal paperwork, such as interdepartment budget transfers and employee requests for vacation, resulting in a much more streamlined city government.”

The city is also in the process of integrating an e-work application with the fire department’s record and maintenance system. For example, e-work will be able to record computerized defibrillator activity. Defibrillators are often used by rescue workers when responding to 911 calls in which life-saving measures are necessary. The software will capture such information as machine voltage and patient blood pressure, so that the data is accessible via state databases for historical analysis.

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