Thursday, April 23, 2009

Commonwealth Chronicles City's Lack of Responsiveness

Colman Herman of Commonwealth Inc. writes a very good article about how the Mayor's office and many city agencies (as well as many other government agencies) do not respond to the citizens.

As someone who has tried to get information from the City, I can attest that they don't want to give up the information.

1 comment:

cityofboston said...

I disagree on the quality of the article. The problem is that the author, attempting to prove his point, seems to have sent carelessly written emails to government officials. It's impossible to tell whether each email was improperly unread, or if it properly read and discarded for good reason.

For example, the author emailed the state asking where to watch the State of the City Address. At the same time the State of City address was posted on,, Youtube, and was plastered on the homepage of Such an email should be ignored - the email should be interpreted as a denial-of-service attack, not very different from a Nigerian 419 email clogging your inbox. If the government employee had answered such a senseless email, they were probably not doing the job we're paying them to do, which is to serve bona fide constituent needs.

As an analogy, imagine if you sent an email to in November 2004 inquiring about what team won the world series. Such an email would probably be deleted, because the question makes no sense. Who would ask such a question?

The author should have sent more serious emails to the government officials. The emails should have reported security issues, safety violations, or website errors. It would be alarming to have those types of emails ignored. But sending frivolous emails and not receiving replies is not a meaningful measurement of the performance of our government officials and employees.