Goldfeder Calls on City to Accept 311 Complaints via Social Media

Goldfeder Calls on City to Accept 311 Complaints via Social Media

PHOTO:  Assemblyman Goldfeder posted this follow-up tweet after the one he had sent to the city’s official 311 Twitter account regarding Rockaway Beach access was met with an automated response urging him to call 311. Photo Courtesy of Assemblyman Goldfeder’s Office

It seems that even elected officials are not immune to the frustrations of the 311 system.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Howard Beach) this week threw up his hands after receiving an automated response to a question directed at the city’s 311 information line, and is now urging City Hall to allow New Yorkers to make quality of life complaints directly to the service’s social media profiles.

In a post to Twitter on July 5, Goldfeder inquired with both 311 and the Parks Department about weekend beach access and lifeguard coverage on Beach 108th Street in Rockaway. Goldfeder’s tweet was in response to reports of beach closures brought to his attention by an area resident. According to the Twitter conversation, Goldfeder and the resident were directed by @nyc311, the agency’s Twitter account, to call the 311 hotline to report absent lifeguards.

“When someone takes the time to reach out to the city for help or information, they deserve more than a canned response,” Goldfeder said. “Social media can serve as a valuable tool in making government more accountable and help make it easy to report the quality of life issues that matter most to our families. It’s time we bring 311 into the 21st Century and allow for complaints to be made directly via Facebook and Twitter.”

In a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Goldfeder requested that the city’s 311 government information service use its social media accounts, including Facebook and Twitter, to take citizens’ complaints. Using social media to register complaints could have the effect of streamlining the city service by cutting out the additional step of having to call the 311 phone hotline, Goldfeder wrote. He added that his office regularly receives calls from constituents looking to express concern regarding various quality of life issues, and that many often criticize 311 for its process of recording complaints.

The administration did not respond to a request for comment.

By Michael V. Cusenza 


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