I strongly support efforts to improve the efficiency and focus of the Neighborhood Stabilization Team. As a former alderman myself, I know how frustrating it can be to have a bad or badly supervised NSO assigned to your ward. I also know how effective an energetic, smart, responsive NSO can be.
That’s why, in partnership with senior aldermen, I have proposed a restructuring of the NST. The proposal keeps the NSOs within the Department of Public Safety.
A letter outlining the proposed restructuring - which will have no impact on the budget - has been forwarded to Aldermanic President Jim Shrewsbury and members of the Board of Aldermen.
If a majority of aldermen concur, the Neighborhood Stabilization program will work like this:The chief objective of the NST will remain the improvement of the quality of life in our neighborhoods, with a definitive focus on solving neighborhood problems. All NSOs will report to a newly named Senior Neighborhood Stabilization Officer, who will be directly responsible for their performance. The Senior NSO will, in turn, report to the Neighborhood Development Executive in my office. Job descriptions for all NSOs will clearly spell out their responsibilities, objectives, standards of performance, pace of work, required skill sets, and rating methodologies. The work of a successful NSO will require a more explicit focus on neighborhood quality of life issues, including a strong understanding of property maintenance codes; a greater involvement with neighborhood groups and ward organizations; and a more formal consultation process with the aldermen representing the neighborhoods. All NSOs will be required to keep detailed records of problems identified and their solutions, including dates and methodology. The job performance ratings of all NSOs will include feedback from the aldermen, residents, and businesses in whose areas the NSOs work.
Our goal with the Neighbor Stabilization program - like the successful Problem Properties program - is to attack the problems that threaten the quality of life in our neighborhoods, and eradicate these problems one by one.
Achieving this goal will require a system; a focus; and a lot of accountability - to me, to the aldermen, and to all of our neighborhood residents and businesses.
Neighborhood stabilization is one of the City’s highest priorities - and I am committed to taking the steps necessary for success.
As usual, I welcome your suggestions - especially the ones that include your name and City address.