But POLITICO’s detailed, 432-page analysis of recent metrics tracking each city agency’s success — from the turnaround time for in-person parking ticket hearings to the days it takes to process applications for rental assistance for seniors – shows a mixed record that does not hold up. up to the efficiency promised by the mayor. In fact, a significant slice of basic urban services has regressed from pre-pandemic levels.
And New Yorkers tend to notice.
“It’s this base of service that really affects how people view their government,” said Susan Lerner of Common Cause New York, a government reform group. “It’s not about speeches and big questions; it’s whether you’ve filed a noise complaint and no one responds to you for a week.
Letting go of the basics, she says, can fuel cynicism about government and create the impression that the situation is out of control and taxpayer dollars are being wasted.
Adams’ most recent dashboard was outlined in the Mayor’s Draft Management Report, a work released earlier this month that contains approximately 2,000 metrics tracking city agency activities between July and October 2023.
Nearly 500 of these statistics – which must be made public twice a year under the city charter – are considered critical indicators, meaning they are particularly important. POLITICO reviewed about 120 of them focused on government efficiency and service delivery and compared them to the 2019 mayor’s preliminary management report — the last release before Covid upended city government.
The results show a nearly even split between measures that improved and those that regressed, with a handful of others remaining roughly stable.
The Adams administration, for example, increased the proportion of young people who receive mental health screening while in custody — an issue the mayor speaks about regularly — from 65% in 2019 to nearly 82% year-on-year. last. This reduced the time it took for the city to issue a property tax refund from 24 days to 18 days. And the average time it takes to repair broken hydrants as a priority has fallen to 1.8 days.
The on-time performance of Staten Island Ferry trips, the length of time it took to satisfy a pothole complaint and the cleanliness of the park were among the records that matched pre-pandemic levels, according to the report.
But other services are declining.
Noise complaints filed with the Department of Environmental Protection took an average of 5.4 days to be resolved, two days longer than in 2019.
311 operators answered 68% of calls within 30 seconds, 20 points lower than 2019 levels.
And 19,351 street trees were pruned by the Department of Parks and Recreation between July and October of last year, a drop of 31 percent.
Recent reports also revealed that police response times increased in late 2019 and that the city was taking far too long to process cash assistance.
That’s not the message Adams has been broadcasting since taking office — and it’s not a useful record as he prepares to seek re-election with potential rivals already lining up.
“While businesses and corporations are constantly saying, ‘I need to create a better product to be able to attract my customers,’ governments inherently don’t believe that,” Adams said at an event hosted by Salesforce, a technology company. enterprise software, in December. 2022. “And what I have to do as mayor, I have to bring a competitive advantage to say, ‘I have to have a good customer experience so that our citizens constantly want to be a part of the services that we provide to the city.’ ‘”
The town hall highlighted several trends that show improvement in government services. Crime on public transportation and in parks has decreased compared to the period covered by the pre-pandemic management report. There were fewer pedestrian deaths and an increase in registrations for the Summer Youth Jobs program. And the city reduced the time it takes to clean catch basins — which, when clogged, can contribute to serious flooding during heavy rains — from 6.2 days to 2.1 days.
Spokeswoman Liz Garcia noted that the pandemic has greatly disrupted city government and that, despite these ongoing challenges, Adams has delivered on its core promise to reduce crime (overall crime is trending downward but remains above current levels). contained in the management report covering 2019), rebuilding the economy and making the city more livable.
“Two years later, the data shows that the administration has kept that promise and that in major categories like crime, housing and quality of life, we have exceeded pre-pandemic baselines,” he said. Garcia said in a statement. “While we will always have more work to do – and as the mayor said, results won’t happen overnight – this administration is on track to provide some of the most effective government services this year. city has ever known.
To help in his quest to break down silos and make government more efficient, Adams created the position of chief efficiency officer to track service delivery and agency budgets in an effort to cut red tape and, somewhat paradoxically, formed two additional offices dedicated to this issue. .
One of them, the Office of Municipal Services Assessment, is a low-profile agency reporting to Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phil Banks and was initially headed by a deputy inspector on loan from the New York Police Department. .
However, just three months into his tenure, Miltiadis Marmara was fired from that position at the police department. City Hall later declined to answer POLITICO’s basic questions about who is running the operation, although several people with knowledge of its activities said Tim Pearson — who recently scuffled with security personnel after attempting a surprise inspection at a migrant managed by the city. installation — plays a leading role.
For Lerner, head of Common Cause, the city’s recent budget cuts — coupled with a struggle to fill vacant positions and a hiring freeze — could harm the Adams administration’s ability to keep the wheels of government running municipal. The frustrations with these basics became palpable for her last year when a fire hydrant in her neighborhood started leaking over the summer.
Repeated calls to 311 eventually resulted in visits from fire and building personnel, but they failed to stop the flow. Despite repeated follow-up calls, the hydrant continued to leak for months. Eventually, his neighbors flooded local officials with calls complaining about the city’s lack of responsiveness.
“And guess what,” Lerner said. “In two weeks the problem was fixed.”