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Or you can call VOCM…

Today’s website contains a story about fixing potholes in St. John’s. Coun. Wally Collins is quoted:

“I urge people to report all the potholes they see, so the roads don’t get so bad,”

“If you’ve got a pothole on your street just report it, [call] 311, and within a week it’s fixed.”

Of course many call VOCM instead. Potholes were a recurring theme that came up in the research Alex Marland and I conducted on public policy and open line.

“There was general agreement among our respondents that prompt action in response to minor policy issues or administrative errors raised in the media is common. Calls to talk radio can draw attention to a matter that government officials can react to within existing policy and budget parameters. In some instances this involves routine maintenance (e.g. municipal pothole repair) or processing errors (e.g. cheque amounts) that bureaucrats can immediately address. In such cases calling elected officials directly might be just as effective, leading MHAs to tell constituents: ‘You don’t have to get on the open line and talk about your problem to get me to work on it. Call me.’ (Marland and Kerby 2010, p. 1011)

Somebody should run an experiment to see which of the two, a call to VOCM or a call to 311, get’s the pothole filled fastest!

Categories: Research.