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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Protecting & Serving Online? & Should they live here too?

Just finished reading Peter Freyne's column, he made some good points about a few Burlington issues towards the end of the column:

1 - Burlington Police Dept. (BPD) website out of date
I've never visited their website, until Peter mentioned it that is. According to the update information (as it's still in the City's old website format, not the new one), the last update was made in October 2005! Also, on an even worse note, the Fire Dept.'s site hasn't been updated since July 2004!
Now, I can understand that they may be set back on updating due to the Telecom project, but some things like the link to 'Report a Crime' are no longer valid! It makes me wonder if anyone's ever tried using that link to report a crime... hopefully they don't. It also makes me wonder where our taxpayer funds (as well as the grant monies they receive) are going in the BPD.

2 - Department Head Residency Requirements
I would think that most anyone you would ask on the street "Should their government official that makes decisions over your city should live within the city as well", would say yes.
Now, as time goes on, I'm finding more and more Burlington city employees that are somewhat high up in the department's ranks do not live in Burlington either
For example, last year, a proposal was brought forth to the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies (NPAs) from a Dept. of Public Works official (who happened to be an out-of-towner)... now this resolution called for a 5 to 6 foot no-parking zone from all driveways in Burlington, with those who did not comply being slapped with a tow and or fine. Now, in some neighborhoods around the city (including mine), this would prevent the property owner from even parking on their own land. Needless to say, the resolution never made it to the NPAs.
Also, just last night, at the NPA in my ward, the member of the Fire Dept. who was scheduled to present for 15 minutes about an Emergency Preparedness workbook asked to cut his presentation short so he could be home for dinner (outside of Burlington).

Now, I understand that some people may have the qualifications for the job, but their family is 'tied-down' to a certain community; and some people are even being hired to the department head position from other states, such as our new Code Enforcement director, Greg McKnight, who moved from Colorado to take his job. Is it too much to ask to have your official be a resident of the town they oversee?

I'm curious to know our New Mayor's response to this issue.


Anonymous said...

FYI, The state of the police & fire department websites have NOTHING to do with the Telecom project.

Heavenly said...

The comment: "Now, I can understand that they may be set back on updating due to the Telecom project"

Was in response to Peter Freyne's column, "Tremblay informed this week that the delay was caused by the fact his network administrator had been reassigned to help Burlington Telecom."

Also, as someone who deals with web development, the Fire & Police sites are still being hosted through the city, but haven't been updated with the recent website redesign
(to see what I mean, open one window in the police's site, and one open to the city's homepage);
so basically, whoever is in charge of handling the city's webpages hasn't gotten to the Fire & Police sections yet.
I can't imagine the pages would need too much work to make them up to date.

Anonymous said...

Thats part of the problem. The City has no one person in charge of anything IT. Each dept. does it's own web pages. We have no CIO, thus no efficiencies nor standards for things such as city websites etc.