The Boston Inspectional Services Department (ISD) Commissioner William Christopher stopped by last Wednesday night’s Eagle Hill Civic Association meeting to brief residents here on some of the changes the department is making to be more user friendly.
Christopher said ISD is adopting new policies to stream line the process for residents.
“We are making changes to ISD and one of those changes is if your are legally able to get a permit you are going to get that permit without having to go through so much red tape. We are changing our attitude and it starts with customer service.”
Christopher said all of ISD’s constituent services have been moved to the 5th floor of City Hall so residents don’t have to shuffle around City Hall looking for the appropriate office for an ISD matter.
“We are now all in one spot and all of us at ISD are going to be very much involved in the process,” said Christopher. “We have 260 people and 5 divisions now in one office. We are also working with other Boston agencies and the days of agencies working independently is over.”
Christopher said recently ISD and the Boston Redevelopment Authority had a meeting and it was the first time the two agencies ever sat down and connected.
“It is shocking but there was a time all the department worked individually but Mayor Martin Walsh is not tolerating that and wants us all working together,” said Christopher.
Last year Christopher said ISD issued only 43,000 permits but so far this year, with seven months to go, the department has already issued 63,000 permits.
“So we are streamlining the process,” said Christopher. “We have added more staff, new technology, we have inspectors on the ground and in the field with tablets so they don’t have to come back to City Hall and enter paper work–everything is instantaneous.”
Christopher said when people call ISD with an issue they should get a call back within 24 hours from an inspector.
“It may not be the answer you are looking for but the Mayor is taking it very serious that we work for you and you should have your answer within 24 hours–no excuses,” said Christopher. “We have an open door policy so anyone can come in and talk with us, you can call out hotline at 653-4500 24-hours a day and talk to me or my staff at nights or on the weekends.”
Also complaints to ISD will now be tracked, said Christopher.
“When you make a complaint you will receive a tracking number and you can track its progress online,” said Christopher. “So don’t be shy, call the hotline, leave a complaint, ask a question because we are here for the residents.”