Ford’s customer service fail

Mayor's customer service brand rates an F in Ombudsman Fiona Crean's annual report


Torontonians are madder at the city bureaucracy than they were when Ford took office promising to cut the waste out of city services. He gutted them instead and we’re paying the price of his shrink government obsessions.

1,827

Number of complaints about city staff received by the Ombudsman’s office in 2013

28%

Increase over 2012

70%

Complaints that involved poor communication and inadequate information in 2013

50%

Complaints that involved poor communication and inadequate information in 2012

110

Number of city agencies and departments

Most-complained-about city departments

Toronto Community Housing (especially hiring practices and seniors’ evictions) TTC Wheel-Trans (long wait times), and Municipal Licensing and Standards (inconsistent bylaw enforcement, including “unprofessional behaviour” by bylaw enforcement staff). New to the top 10 most-complained-about departments: Shelter, Support and Housing.

More than 40

Number of public complaints received about the ombudsman’s office, ranging from “personal insults directed at the ombudsman to the office being described as pro-union.”

2,540

Number of unfilled positions by which the city falls short of its council-approved complement of 52,400 employees

15 to 20%

Fewer city workers engaged in hiring compared to 2009

Who’s to blame

The mayor says it’s city workers, whom he’s threatening with pink slips if they don’t shape up. Where have we heard that before?

Crean attributes the spike in complaints to something deeper: growing poverty and the sense of exclusion members of the public feel from their city government. She says she has never seen such levels of “anger and distress.” Cuts to the public service have undermined service and morale.

The upshot

Ford rode into office trashing the public service as so much “garbage.” He’s ending his tenure the same way.

With files from Ben Spurr

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