Does it seem we are getting more and more surveys from everywhere, with less and less customer service satisfaction. Maybe it’s me, but it’s almost impossible not to be asked to complete a survey for every transaction. Recently at a grocery chain, while slowly working my way up to the checkout after price checks and coupon transactions with previous customers, it was my turn to pay and get out, after getting a fist full of register coupons and then being asked to complete a short survey while customers were lined-up behind me. I like surveys, but they never seem to occur at a convenient time.
Then on the day I was going to complete the 2016 City of Naperville Community Survey on line, I received a survey in the mail. My wife did the online survey and I sat down with a fine cup of coffee to complete the mail-in version. It turned out to be a two-cup survey; lots of questions and lots of answer choices. Surveys can be very beneficial depending on how the answers are interpreted and to what end is the purpose of the survey.
The City survey was very comprehensive with one glaring omission that we’ll get into in a moment. Major categories included:
- Quality of police services
- Quality of fire and emergency medical services
- Efforts of the City for Emergency Preparedness
- Infrastructure, maintenance of streets, sidewalks, and street lights
- Effectiveness of City communication with the public
- Customer service from City employees
- Traffic flow and congestion
- Storm-water management
- Garbage, recycling and yard waste services
- Perception of safety
- Public works
- Environmental / Waste Disposal Services
- Community planning and development
- Electric Utility Services
- Water / Wastewater Utility Services
- Perceptions of the City
So what is the glaring omission? How about:
The effectiveness of local leadership?
- Mayor Steve Chirico
- City Manager Doug Krieger
The quality of Naperville city council members?
- Becky Anderson
- Rebecca Boyd-Obarski
- Judith Brodhead
- Kevin Coyne
- Kevin Gallaher
- Patty Gustin
- Paul Hinterlong
- John Krummen
I suppose there are those who would say, that the ultimate survey would be the municipal election every four years. Why not just include the question in the 2016 City of Naperville Community Survey? Other than elected officials and the City manager, what job doesn’t get reviewed every year. If for no other reason, just to make sure they are heading in the right direction. If an official is only reviewed every four years, they can get way off course causing a lot of damage and waste.
If an elected official and city manager are getting the job done, it seems they would welcome the opinions of residents in a survey. If they are not getting the job done, they should still welcome residents’ opinions with the opportunity to correct course towards re-election and job retention.
If you’re going to have a community survey, make it inclusive; otherwise what’s the purpose. Just another socially acceptable non-productive activity.
How about a question like, “Would you prefer more, equal to or less city services for more, equal to or LESS TAXES”?
One of the problems with any democratic form of government is: do the citizens really know enough to make a judgement? All those questions & people…sadly, I’ll have to pass on the questionaire, because I have only passing information on only some of them.
I have no choice but to rely on the press, or this Watchdog, for insight. I can only hope that what I read is as honest and realistic as if can be.
The “city survey” of city leadership is done every 2 years, its called an election. If you chose not to participate in this survey then you have no grounds to complain. If you do and the result are not to your liking it tells you your opinions are in the minority in our community and in a democracy like it or not, the majority rules.
As to the City Manager, the results of the City Survey are a reflection of how well he is doing his job. It is important to remember the direction he is taking our city is the direction the council has indicated they want him to go. His discretionary authority is very limited and he does not lead the council he only advises it.