Mayors Action Line ready for spring

Wednesday, March 28th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

How do you find answers to almost any question about the City of Tulsa? KOTV's Glenda Silvey says the Mayor's Action Center is gearing up for its busiest time of year, when thousands of citizens will call in for help.

An operator at the center answers a call, "Good morning, Mayor's Action Center. How may I help you?" This is one of some 700 calls Charlene Ruthrauff will answer in a day. She's one of five full time attendants staffing the Mayor's Action Center, created to serve as a link between the public and city government.

Cindy Hill with the Mayor's Action Center says, "people call and they don't know who to talk to, who do I need to see to get this problem fixed?" The Center took nearly 141,000 calls last year, ranging from trash pickup to traffic tickets to utility problems. Hundreds of callers want information about festivals and events, so those are posted on a large white board. Thousands of requests require action by the city. "Fill a pothole, request a police monitoring, clean out catch basin for storm drains." Service requests like this one for a clogged drain are logged into a computer, and then faxed to one of 57 departments. Within less than an hour of this particular call, a city crew was on the scene, unplugging a catch basin. Attendants hear some unusual stories, and say the job sometimes feels like psychotherapy. Charlene Ruthrauff says, "It is, it is. I listen to Dr Laura when I get the chance!"

Ruthrauff says most callers are pleasant, but some are angry, which is hard to take. Still, it's a job she's enjoyed for ten years. "The variety to it. Being able to help people solve some problems." Hill says the goal is good customer service to citizens. "We represent the mayor, we represent city government, city entity, so people who call in, sometimes this is their first connection."

Hill says the center wants to make sure callers hang up feeling they've been heard and helped. Hill says the most frequent service call concerns identifying flood zones, followed by pothole and storm drain problems.

The number for the Mayor's Action Center is 596-2100.