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Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

Archive for September, 2009

Sep 28 2009

How can Seattle improve Customer Service?

I presented legislation today, 9/28/09, at Full Council to improve the City’s response to information and service requests from the public. The Council approved Council Bill 116638, lifting a budget proviso restricting expenditures in the 2009 budget for a Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) System. A CRM System is a central management system for recording, assigning, tracking, and reporting of customer service requests from the public. It will improve the City’s customer service system in receiving constituents’ requests, expedite assignment to the appropriate city personnel, and allow the constituent to track the progress of the request and ensure that the request was completed.

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Sep 27 2009

Microsoft Hohm: City Light Continues to Promote Conservation with Microsoft Partnership

On June 27, 2009, I posted a piece informing you of a partnership between City Light and Microsoft on a project called Hohm. This partnership gives participating City Light customers the ability to link their electricity consumption data with Hohm. The Beta version of Microsoft Hohm debuted in June and City Light is the first utility to announce that their customers can connect with an easy, automatic data feed.

Here is how it works. Using advanced analytical tools to assess participating customers’ energy data, home features and appliances, Hohm will use this information to identify personalized recommendations on saving energy. Hohm is free! I encourage you to sign up and learn how to start saving.

To learn more, or sign up to participate please click:

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Sep 20 2009

Joanne Harrell Inducted into the University of Washington Communication Alumni Hall of Fame

Published by under Community Leaders

I must share with you a huge honor for our family. My wife Joanne Harrell is being recognized for her career and public service as one of six inductees to the 2009 University of Washington Department of Communication “Hall of Fame.” The community celebration will take place on October 29, 2009, at the University of Washington Club, starting at 5:00 pm. Link: Communication Alumni Hall of Fame 2009

Joanne has been an incredible example of how individuals and organizations should communicate effectively and transparently. She has built a successful career around converting these values into high performance. Her commitment to continued learning led her to study management and marketing at Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and the Brookings Institution. While President & CEO of the United Way of King County from 1997 to 2000, Joanne led the chapter to successive national fundraising records where she grew the non-profit from the 14th to the largest United Way program in the country. She serves and has served on a host of boards, including REI, Seattle Urban League, YWCA, the Salvation Army, the Seattle Art Museum, UW’s Evans School of Public Affairs, and the International Women’s Forum. Joanne is the 1997 recipient of the “African American Achievement Award,” Omaha, Nebraska, and the 1992 recipient of the “Women of Achievement Award,” Seattle. Other honorees at this event will be H. Stuart Elway, Bruce Johansen, George Sundborg, Maggie Walker and Harold (Hal) Zimmerman. Truly these are well-deserved recipients and great community leaders.

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Sep 15 2009

The City Light Rates Advisory Committee: Dedicated Citizens to Help with a Thorough, Well Represented Rate Review Process

In reviewing City Light’s rates, my goal was to engage citizens and organizations, who would review, question, push back and advocate for different customer groups when responding to the Mayor’s request for a rate review. I wanted it to range from people who advocate for the poor, elderly and customers with limited income, and extend it to the largest commercial customers. I wanted to hear from those who use power simply for personal consumption and those who rely on large amounts of power for their business. I therefore asked several individuals to serve as Council appointees and similarly, the Mayor did as well. Continue Reading »

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Sep 14 2009

Pie in the Sky: Solar Pie and PEMCO

On September 2, 2009, I had the pleasure of participating in the “Solar Pie” launch event at the Seattle PEMCO building. As you may know, the Pemco building is somewhat of a landmark because of the digital clock on the outside of the building if you are driving on I-5 or entering downtown. The event marked the rollout of the PEMCO reader board now showing the kilowatts generated from the solar panels on the PEMCO roof. At night, the reader board will show the reductions in carbon emissions from the solar panels.

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Sep 08 2009

10 Technology Initiatives for 2010


Councilmember Harrell announces technology initiatives for 2010
Plan aims to improve city’s accountability, transparency, and effectiveness

SEATTLE – Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, today proposed a Government and Technology outline that will optimize the use of technology, resulting in increased transparency, enhanced access to customer service and city information, and improved government effectiveness and efficiency.

The initiatives were developed after reviewing the city’s technology, governmental systems and protocols. The next step involves the Department of Information Technology and the Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board working with other city departments to provide feedback on the recommendations.

“I am proposing the applications that I believe we should use internally and support externally, both of which can determine the effectiveness of service to our citizens,” said Harrell.

The Seattle Government and Technology outline calls on the city to implement the following in the coming years:

1. Migrate to a system where publishing and release of city data are in an open format that is more readable and favorable for programming. This allows the public to use city data in the most appropriate way and enhance its original purpose by allowing data collaboration and integration through mashups and semantic web technologies.

2. Declare an “Apps for Seattle” contest and call upon local web developers to program innovative mobile applications and Internet-based applications using open city data.

3. Provide service for mobile phone applications that allow residents to report a city complaint such as potholes, graffiti, streetlight outage, or abandoned vehicles.

4. Use web video conferencing tools for meetings conducted by employees, boards and commissions, resulting in reduced travel time, cost and fuel.

5. Provide residents with new personal conservation management tools that allow them to maximize their home energy efficiency.

6. Provide a suite of applications and products that allow residents and businesses to communicate remotely with their security, heating, cooling, and lighting systems. This will increase consumer utilization and awareness of a smart grid network.

7. Deploy a “” Public Engagement Portal that consolidates the city’s multiple sign on accounts and provides single sign-on access with features including a customizable interface, status report checks on problems reported, public polling, and enhanced collaboration with the public using tools such as IdeaScale or Google Moderator.

8. Maximize the use of technology in reporting, posting, and tracking photos of graffiti and tree inventory on Google Maps or the city’s Geographic Information System (GIS).

9. Develop a “Wiki” website format for city information that allows online public collaboration, editing and content moderation.

10. Implement new city-wide software to reduce the volumes of wasted printed pages at the end of print jobs from the Internet.

“These technology initiatives will engage our local high-tech industry and spur entrepreneurs and development of business,” said Councilmember Harrell. “Now, more than ever, we must embrace the use of new technology as a strategic tool to better communicate with residents, drive innovation and economic development in our local workforce and save money by improving operational efficiencies in governmental systems. I look forward to working with our Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board to help drive the process of moving forward in 2010.”

Additional information regarding “Apps for Seattle” will soon follow.

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