CAMDEN, NJ — Mayor Frank Moran said he saw a void between residents and City Hall in how services were ultimately delivered.
Community issues would be called, emailed, or brought to the various departments and officials scattered throughout Camden. Walk-in requests thrown into that mix led to further disorganization.
The remedy, Moran and city officials hope, is in the creation of the Division of Constituent Services, a centralized office on the third floor of City Hall designed to better handle inquiries and help identify departments in need of improvement.
“We’re placing emphasis on customer services,” Moran said at a news conference Monday morning. “Whether you’re a resident, business owner, or visitor, our goal is to address your concerns quickly, efficiently, and effectively.”
No new personnel hires have been made for the office. It will be managed by Elizer Agron, an aide of Moran who worked in a similar capacity in the mayor’s office, with the support of five current staffers.
"We felt that with this number we can probably start off well, hit the ground running, and not only continue to do what we were doing (upstairs) but improve it," Agron said.
The idea for establishing the office came in January from Moran, though the planned space "was in shambles," Agron said. Formerly the site of a courtroom and communications department, the area was cleared out over four months by the Public Works Department.
The end result is a large space to field all sorts of service requests, just off the landing from the bank of elevators.
Moran said he hopes the initiative will help to inspire community participation and interest in municipal government, part of his goal of “inclusive prosperity.” He mentioned some examples of joining city clean up efforts, applying locally for employment, obtaining job training, and serving on agency boards.
“These are all great opportunities to interact with the city, and this office can assist with that as well,” Moran said.
The office sits down the hall from the county’s own resident affairs office, which will “work hand-in-hand” with the city, Moran said.
"We're going to encourage residents that call this office for services to not only be our eyes and ears but to be the ambassadors of their neighborhoods," Moran said. "We want them to be the ambassadors of their blocks, and we want them to help us take back our community."
The Division of Constituent Services is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and accepts both appointments and walk-ins. Residents can call 856-757-7200 or connect via email at email@example.com.