Cleveland Mayor's Action Center is now unstaffed, with all calls forwarding to 311, city says

 Cleveland City Hall
Cleveland City Hall [Tim Harrison / Ideastream Public Media]

Cleveland is no longer staffing the Mayor’s Action Center, one of the city’s two phone lines for constituent complaints. Instead, action center calls are forwarding to the city’s second help line, 311.

City staff disclosed the news to council members during a budget hearing Thursday afternoon.

Action center staff left their positions at the end of Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration, city Controller Jim Gentile told council. Those positions haven’t been filled in the two months of Mayor Justin Bibb’s term.

Ward 8 Councilman Michael Polensek expressed dismay that city leadership didn’t inform council members, who promote the action center’s 664-2900 number on business cards and messages to residents.

“Believe me, we’re in March, and we just find out now that the Mayor’s Action Center is kaput?” Polensek said. “I got it all over my dial-a-number cards, the Mayor’s Action Center.”

Kimberly Roy Wilson, the commissioner of information system services who oversees 311, told Polensek that her office is now handling all complaint calls.

“Those calls are being answered and resolved through 664-2000 or 311,” she said. “We are handling those calls currently.”

Bibb campaigned last year on the idea of allowing residents to track their action center complaints as one would an online purchase. As mayor, Bibb has said he plans to streamline the city’s complaint system, giving residents a “one-stop shop” for calls for service.

“What we clearly found out on the first couple of days in office is the way that we've historically structured constituent services in the city is outdated,” Bibb told Ideastream Public Media in an interview last month.

Those problems came home during the paralyzing snowstorm over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. The mayor previously said that 1,000 complaint calls went unanswered during the storm.

Two council members at the table Thursday endorsed the idea of a single line for complaints.

“It is my strong preference that there only be one phone number for the city,” Ward 15 Councilwoman Jenny Spencer said. “As long as we’re moving assertively towards a single, unified system that works, I’m OK.”

Ward 3 Councilman Kerry McCormack backed her up.

“I don’t now it was ever a good idea to have multiple lines,” McCormack said. “It sounds crazy, redundant, wasteful, stupid. So I am so happy that we’re moving to one number.”

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