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CitiStat Puts Union Township on the Road to More Effective Government
Mayor Clifton People, Jr.
By Clifton People, Jr.
Mayor, Union Township
Police Department Briefing

The CitiStat Program and the CompStat program in the Union Police Department give the township an edge in crime prevention and overall resident satisfaction with services ranging from Board of Health matters to leaf collection. Weekly meetings like this one serve as the basis of the town’s quick response to emerging issues.

In The Township of Union, when a resident has even the smallest concern, township personnel swing into action to determine why it happened and to ensure there is no recurrence. The effectiveness of municipal departments ranging from police to public works is assessed not quarterly or monthly, but hour-to-hour; under highly successful management programs in a township that borders Elizabeth and Irvington as well as the communities of Hillside, Kenilworth, Maplewood, Springfield, Roselle Park and Millburn.

In 2003, The Township Committee asked Township of Union Administrator Frank Bradley to attend the University of Virginia’s Senior Executive Management Institute course for County and Local Government officials. This course focused on the use of innovation and High Performance Organizational (HPO) management. To further increase management know how, Ronald Manzella, Assistant Township Administrator and other key personnel have attended this intensive 2-week session. With the philosophy in place, the township adopted the model within its daily management. CitiStat became the vehicle to implement the HPO system. Soon after, HPO became a functional program and the positive effects it had on the employees’ work ethic and overall morale, became evident.

On a daily basis, 140,000 people work, shop and travel throughout the township. With a population of over 56,000 and 9.1 square miles in area, the township has a workforce of over 500. When the administration instituted the CitiStat Program within each of its 20 departments and the CompStat program in the Union Police Department in the summer of 2006, it gave the township an edge in the area of crime prevention and overall resident satisfaction with services ranging from Board of Health matters to leaf collection.

Township Administrator Frank Bradley commented, “Our Township is growing every day and services are of the utmost importance to our citizens along with keeping property taxes in check. As we struggle each year with the ever-increasing costs to do business, tightening our belts while expanding service is a true challenge. With that in mind, CitiStat was introduced bringing its own set of requirements that were adopted by each department within the township.”

CitiStat is an accountability tool based on the CompStat program pioneered in the New York City Police Department, using computer pin mapping and weekly accountability sessions. Strategies are developed and employed, managers held accountable, and results measured in real time, as events happen. This not only increases resident and consumer satisfaction, it allows budgetary matters to be handled immediately. Government becomes more transparent to the tax paying community it serves.

During monthly meetings, smaller departments are divided into groups with similar characteristics, i.e.; recreation and senior services. The Fire Department and Department of Public Works, meet bi-weekly while the Police Department holds weekly CompStat sessions. Directors share information and ideas between themselves and the administration.

Township Administrator Frank Bradley noted, “The program has allowed us to put in place management initiatives that result in more accountability from staff, improve programs and provide better quality of life to the residents.”

Depending on the particular department’s function, performance and strategy will be different, but the system parameters, often called the “core principals” remain constant. The core principals of the system include: accurate and timely intelligence; rapid deployment of resources; effective tactics and strategies; and relentless follow-up and assessment.

Data bases have been developed which allow each department to have access to a listing of any location throughout the township. Computer generated work orders are given to supervising personnel for daily assignment. When the task is completed, the order is closed and the task is mapped.

Use by Public Works The Department of Public Works has a staff of 75 employees and operates over 150 trucks including light and heavy equipment. The following are examples of how CitiStat keeps the department running smoothly:

  • The Road Division uses the software to maintain more than 130 miles of road surface within the municipality. The program monitors pothole repair; crack fill and other surface irregularities; street resurfacing; and twice monthly street sweeping.
  • The Grounds Division maintains over 500 acres of parks and public properties using computer-generated alerts. This allows for proper scheduling of time for appropriate lawn and field maintenance on all parks and public grounds, including the cultivation of all shrubs and flowers.
  • The Building Division oversees the maintenance and repair of all municipally owned structures. In addition, this division ensures that all playgrounds and playground equipment are in compliance with standard safety regulations and properly maintained and upgraded through a computer tracking system.
  • The Shade Tree Division is in charge of more than 50,000 trees located within the municipal right-of-way. Included in this care are trimming, planting, removal, and stump grinding. Again, to bring prompt attention to any concerns, all requests are mapped and tracked to completion.

All Public Works supervisors attend a CitiStat meeting on a bi-weekly basis. In addition to the Township Administrator and Assistant Administrator, members of the Township Committee are frequently in attendance. Prior to each meeting, the various divisions are required to submit relevant data on their past two week reporting cycle. The Road Division, for example, submits data on everything from the number of potholes filled to the amount of road material used to fill them. The goal of the department is to close all citizen requests for service within 72 hours.

Several recent examples of successful Department of PublicWorks initiatives are:

  1. 275 tree stumps were removed from the township’s right of way within a six-month period. This addressed a long-standing complaint of residents
  2. With better management of human resources, overtime has been reduced by 73 percent.
  3. Through mapping and a treatment program using enzymes, sewer blockages have decreased 33 percent.
  4. By measuring performance from period to period, productivity has increased significantly.

Assistant Business Administrator Ron Manzella commented on the success at DPW, “CitiStat gives us a clear picture of all the resources available, their efficiency and projected performance. We then assess the voids and deduce where services can be maximized and costs kept in line.”

Use by the Police Department CompStat was introduced to the Police Department and its 139 sworn personnel in 2006. Seminars were conducted for supervisory staff to present the concept and familiarize personnel with the above-mentioned 4 basic principles.

Through weekly CompStat meetings, dialogue between Bureau Commanders, Supervisors, Patrol and Investigative personnel has expanded. The flow of information travels up and down and between commands, and extends to other agencies with similar crime fighting missions.

Events are mapped in real time, giving on duty commanders the ability to redeploy their resources in areas where crime has just occurred. Statistical information is gathered and analyzed on a daily basis, allowing department personnel to make the necessary assignments in patrol sections.

A typical exchange during a meeting would entail; “Lieutenant, during your tour of duty, the township saw an increase in motor vehicle theft. What plan did you employ to reduce this trend?” It is at this time the Lieutenant explains to all in attendance his efforts to thwart the crime. If the plan was successful, it then becomes a benchmark for all officers to follow when a similar situation presents itself.

One of the foremost changes was seen from the supervisory personnel and patrol officers’ perspective as they no longer saw crime as something that happened. They see they have the power to affect change. Expectations are higher and personnel rose to meet this standard, thus the crime rate decreased by an overall 7 percent in 2007.

Chief Thomas Kramer stated, “We have come to a point where our officers are working within the program guidelines and are adopting some of the program goals as their own. Through continued communication, education and statistical monitoring, we look forward to working within the CompStat program to bring the best possible public safety services to the Township of Union.”

Use by the Fire Department The Township of Union Fire Department operates: five in-service, five recall/ reserve fire apparatus, three basic life support ambulances, a tactical support unit, mobile decon unit, and three special hazardous response vehicles. The Union Fire Department is part of the Urban Area Security Initiative, and staffs a large caliber firefighting foam and water delivery system, used to combat the bulk fuel and chemical fires on land and sea in the New Jersey/New York metro area. All stations are manned 24 hours a day by career Firefighters.

The Union Fire Department responded to over 6,050 emergencies calls for service in the year 2007.

In addition to a regular complement of 106 career firefighters, the department employs six civilians. There are approximately seven volunteer firefighters (paid on-call) who respond to certain incidents via a radio paging system.

CitiStat augmented the Fire Department’s ability to coordinate emergent responses by using the mapping portion of the program. Hot spots are easily identified and mapped, hence bringing up-to-the minute vital information to commanders who work 24 hours on duty and 72 hours off. By receiving this computerized data, Battalion Chiefs can relocate on duty personnel and familiarize themselves with any incidents that may have occurred while off duty.

“Identifying trends and significant events allows us to zero in on areas of concern and plan appropriate action. CitiStat’s a valuable tool the administration brought to us and we will continue to pursue any avenue that makes this community’s safety priority one,” stated Fire Chief, Frederic Fretz.

An Eye on the Bottom Line Monetary concerns have affected the way corporations throughout the world conduct their daily business. Local governments have to be particularly prudent in their expenditures and the CitiStat program allows long term planning to be adhered to in a more realistic way. Supplies such as asphalt, road materials and sand can be projected for use during future events, without the worry of unforeseen budgetary impacts.

Just as the private sector looks to the bottom line, so does the public sector. For a minimal investment, you can enhance your delivery system, increase productivity and reduce over-time expenditures. Although government doesn’t turn a profit, taxpayer satisfaction is paramount to the mission of local government.

CitiStat has proven its effectiveness by bringing open communication and coordination of efforts between departments. When government agencies work together to accomplish a common goal, barriers that historically existed between units of government are reduced. The CitiStat program has afforded a town-wide sense of ownership in providing the best in services and a commitment to a higher standard from all township employees.

The CITISTAT/COMPSTAT programs within the Township of Union are models of success for many communities throughout the state. Various municipalities have sent representatives to attend these meetings, and many have expressed an interest in implementing the programs in their communities. If you would like to attend a particular CitiStat Meeting, please contact the Administrator’s Office at 908-851-8500.


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