This Internet requirement has not been met, even as late as January 2006. During the many meetings held for this outsourcing project, former Mayor Podesto repeatedly assured residents they would receive quality service from OMI.
Looking at the obvious, the telephone book, under City of Stockton government offices page, remembering services are under Municipal Utilities Department, the first number is for Emergencies. This number, 937-8341 reaches the Public Works Service Center and receives calls for water and sewer, as well as traffic signals, stop signs and other emergencies. After business hours this number is answered by a recording that requires transfer or re-dialing a phone number that will connect the caller to the City Fire Dispatch. This is a CITY phone number. The Service Contract clearly defines Customer Service 24-hour hotline as a component OMI is to provide. Former Mayor Podesto stated many times, in public meetings, that this number was always to be answered by a local person.
The complexity of the Service Contract is to protect the physical assets that make up the Municipal Utility as well as define, for OMI, the type and quality of service to be delivered. The details of the contract spell out for OMI and the City exactly what both parties expect. If any section of the Service Contract were questionable, Contract Administrative Memoranda (CAMs) exist as a means of clarification. Since there are no CAMs relating to customer service, it must be clear what is expected and has been agreed upon.
Since the City of Stockton is still paying the costs of the Customer Service function, a responsibility of OMI, there is no cost savings to the City. Not providing Customer Service as defined in the Contract is a failure on behalf of OMI and the City.
The last bullet point from above, lists public outreach and education. Developing a plan to inform residents of the scope and nature of the City’s services is critical, especially when a private, profit-oriented vendor performs the operation of the Municipal Utility.