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New online system simplifies filing complaint in Saugus

SAUGUS – Got a complaint for Town Hall?If so, there’s no need to pick up the phone or drive down to Saugus Center with letter in hand.According to Michael Donovan, the town’s information technology director, Saugus has joined other communities and government agencies in implementing the SeeClickFix system. The online platform allows residents to report issues like graffiti, potholes, missing or damaged traffic and street signs, broken sidewalks and other hazards.The system was activated late last week so Donovan is still working out small glitches, but it’s essentially up and running, and complaints are being logged as they arrive.”This all began with a company in Connecticut two years ago,” he said. “The guy who started it had a big pothole outside his office in New Haven. He created the system and it has helped that city.”The system includes Google maps and allows users to send text or photos from a personal computer or a mobile device, such as an iPhone, Blackberry or Droid.”It’s simple. People can just take a picture of a damaged sign or sidewalk and e-mail it to us. As soon as they report it, it comes straight to us and the clock starts ticking,” Donovan said. “This way, it holds the public accountable for reporting and they can actually log in later to see the progress on it. The town is also accountable because people can check on what action was taken on their complaint.”Donovan said every complaint is acknowledged and forwarded to the appropriate department.”It will take some change in the culture to actually use it, but it’s a great idea and it only costs the town $40 a month,” he said.Town Manager Andrew Bisignani was enthusiastic about the public reporting tool. “It holds our government accountable to take care of quality-of-life issues that affect our citizens and it holds people accountable to take part in their communities,” he said. “It’s a win for everyone.”To use the tool, log onto http://seeclickfix.com or into the town website at www.saugus-ma.gov. Users can pinpoint the problem area on a Google map, comment on issues posted by others, vote to fix issues and even create “watch areas” to keep tabs on a particular location, Donovan explained.The information technology director said residents are invited to download the mobile app, available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry, at http:seeclickfix.com/apps.

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