Chandler launching information web portal

The city’s new web portal aims to give residents snapshots of information about Chandler and local government. (City of Chandler)

The City of Chandler is launching a web portal that is designed to improve transparency and make the city more accountable to its residents.

People who have any question about the city may find it a good place to look for answers on questions like:

• What is the median household income? $97,000.

• How many planes land and take off from the airport each year? 57,000.

• What’s the average response time by police to a priority one call? 4:13.

• How many miles of bike lanes are in the city? 354.

Those are just some of the nuggets of information that the dashboards, which can be found at chandleraz.gov/performance. It launched on Nov. 7 and city officials gave the mayor and council members a tour during a work session.

“We want to show today our movement in that direction to show how we can support all of our actions with numbers and be accountable and transparent to our residents through this through this portal,” said Steven Turner, the assistant to the city manager.

The information is broken up by the Council’s strategic framework focus areas: Economic vitality, Innovation & Technology, Mobility, Neighborhoods, Quality of Life, and Good Governance.

The quality of life category is broken up even further into three subsets: Public safety, cultural development and recreation.

One of the goals of the dashboard is to show the city’s progress in achieving its goals. For example, if the goal is for police’s average response time to a priority one call to be under 5 minutes, then it would state that. It would also show when the city is falling short of its goals.

Those goals are usually highlighted in a different color to make them stand out. For example, the city’s goal is for customers to give an average rating of at least 4.5 out of five at the Tumbleweed Recreation Center. It’s currently at 4.3.

Another goal is for the average pavement quality index to be 70 or higher. The city is currently at 68.5. The only other metric that is falling short of city’s goals now is the average wait times customers experience when they call City Hall. The goal is a minute or less. The current wait time is 1:53.

The dashboard “keeps city staff City Council accountable and transparent to our constituents, and ultimately provides a culture of excellence,” Turner said. “Everybody’s kind of working together on a common theme and common purpose.”

Turner and City Manager Joshua Wright asked the council members to consider changing their focus areas to make it easier for them to measure progress.

“The current strategic framework, as it is currently written, is difficult to measure quantitatively,” Turner said. “There’s a lot of great goals and great focus areas in there, however, it is hard to track quantitatively.”

Turner offered an example.

He said Council could agree to spend $1 million more on parks. That would be hard to hold people accountable because there’s no direction how to spend the money or what the priorities should be. However, if Council said the goal is that there is a park within a five-minute walk of every Chandler resident, that is something they could work on.

The mayor and Council plan to meet in February to go over their strategic framework and make any adjustments they deem necessary. The two new members of council, Angel Encinas and Jane Poston, will be sworn in on Jan. 12.

Most of the items on the dashboard can be clicked on to provide more information. That may include a chart showing the trend for that category.

Some of the items will updated monthly, but others less frequently. Many of the economic data statistics are updated quarterly. Some, such as number of airport flights, are updated annually.

There are some numbers that may need further context.

For example, one of the dashboards says there are 345 sworn police officers in Chandler. Police Chief Sean Duggan said during a Council presentation there are not that many officers right now, because the department has been unable to fill 31 positions.

“The reality that we face right now is that the number of individuals that are willing to be police officers, has shrunk considerably,” Duggan said. “And of that pool of people, the number of people that are qualified to be police officers, let alone Chandler police officers, is even smaller.

“So we are in a constant struggle locally, in a very saturated market, a market where every city, every police department is vying for quality folks to join the ranks, and the pool is very small.”

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