Customer Information Representative III, 311 Call Center, City of Los Angeles

As a 311 Call Center Representative for the City of Los Angeles, Tammy Garner witnesses firsthand how much impact a single phone call can have on making a person’s day run smoother. Her center takes non-emergency calls, but a downed tree limb or a blocked alley can put a kink in a huge, complex system. It’s her job to make sure those kinks get ironed out.

The call center provides services covering a wide area, from the South Bay to the San Fernando Valley.

“For the past two and a half years I’ve been maintaining the webmaster, responding to requests that come through email,” Garner said. “I also backfill the telephone calls as they come in to help each section out.”

When the City launched a new app in 2013 called MyLA311, Garner noted that it started off slowly. But as citizens have become aware of this program, they are increasingly making use of it. As a result the call volume on the website has increased, warranting additional operators to assist.

“We assist every city department out there. You have to know each department and how they function and what their duties are," she said.

Most of the calls that come in are about graffiti, potholes, street lighting and illegal dumping. There's no question, she said, that the staffing cuts have had an impact on the call center. "There's been a lot of consolidation, a lot of departments merging, and that's meant increased call volume for the rest of us."

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