NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is blasting the city’s approach to fixing potholes and sinkholes, saying the process is “plagued by bureaucracy and a lack of communication.”

In the first of a series of “Red Tape Reports,” de Blasio says the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Transportation have been playing a “game of ping pong” when it comes to repairing the damage.

LINK: Read The Full Report

According to the report, when someone calls 311 about “pothole” damage, 311 creates a report and generates a reference number. The issue is then referred to the Department of Transportation. However, if the DOT sends an inspector the scene and it is deemed to be a “sinkhole,” the inspector then alerts 311 that the problem does not fall under the DOT’s jurisdiction — effectively closing the case.

Furthermore, when the individual who complained calls 311 for a status update, they are told that the problem falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environmental Protection and that a separate call is necessary — repeating the process again.

“We need to get the left hand and the right hand coordinated here. [It] doesn’t matter what the definition is, it was dangerous and needed to be fixed in the first instance and that’s what we’re going to push the city to change its process. So when someone calls 311, they get results, not a run around,” de Blasio told 1010 WINS.

The Public Advocate said that people don’t care who fixes the road damage, they just want the situation resolved.

“We’re pushing for quicker process, where the first agency on the scene makes sure that something’s going to happen,” he said. “Whoever gets there first, deal with it. We can debate later on who pays for it or which agency deals with it in the future, but at the point of contact, deal with it.”

De Blasio is calling for a more streamlined process in which an inspector from either agency transfers the reference number to the appropriate agency without having to start the process over again.

Have you had a frustrating experience dealing with bureaucratic red tape in the city?  Share your thoughts in the comments section…


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