In case you haven’t heard, City Hall is about to undergo a virtual revolution. Our new City Manager, John Ware, has determined that it is time to make City government more responsive to its customers – the Citizens of Dallas. If his proposal works, that dance called the “City Hall Shuffle” should become a part of our past.

You say you’ve never heard of the “shuffle?” Well, the steps are as follows:

1. You have a small problem with a City service and call the department you think is responsible for that service.

2. The person who answers the phone places you on hold for five minutes and then tells you that, unfortunately, you’ve reached the wrong department.

3. You are referred to another person in another department, and you place that call.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you get lucky and get an answer or get fed up and hang up.

If you haven’t learned this dance by now, thank goodness you won’t have to.

While many details remain to be worked out, the new approach to service delivery should improve responses to citizens’ complaints, increase efficiency in making necessary repairs to public property and cause greater coordination of services across several City departments.

In short, it introduces greater accountability to the entire service delivery process.

Assistant City Manager Mary Suhm will lead an area service team for Northeast Dallas, which will include Lake Highlands. Team members will include managers from the following departments: police and fire; streets, sanitation and code enforcement; water utilities; economic development; information services; and others as they may be required.

With these departments represented, the team will be able to deal with almost any problem. Under this plan, team members will have the authority to make decisions on the spot, no longer needing to contact superiors before taking action.

The reorganization also reduces the number of City departments from 26 to 18 and consolidates many jobs and services to streamline the process of government. The changes are expected to save about $1.5 million in the next 18 months.

This is an exciting new direction for our City, and one that I believe will make Dallas a much better place to live. Further details on the reorganization will be presented at a town hall meeting in May.

If you are not currently on my notification list for town hall meetings, please call 670-4068 and ask that your name be added.