Former city technology chief Greg Meffert left behind an information technology system that is "basically crumbling," according to the city's current chief IT officer Allen Square.
Square told New Orleans City Council members at last week's Cable, Telecommunications and Technology Committee meeting that most of his department's progress since 2010 has been in its infrastructure, not in updates to the city's technology. Even so, Square said the department is working on mobile apps for city services and building a "one-stop shop" for permits on the new city website, expected to roll out soon.
Square also noted that the city's information hotline — NOLA 311 — received more than 10,000 calls in April and 7,700 in May. The average call time was 113 seconds, and the average hold time was 18 seconds, he said. Square noted that 7 percent of callers hung up before their call was answered, and more than half of the responses were referrals to other departments, mostly to code enforcement or requests for streetlight repairs.
Inside City Hall, the IT section is still playing catch-up with computers used by city employees — the average age of work orders sent to the department's help desk is 50 days old. In the beginning of the year, the department had more than 1,000 work orders that were 30 days old or older. District A Councilwoman Susan Guidry added that her own request to retrieve contacts lost in the email program Outlook hasn't been answered. — ALEX WOODWARD