How many inspections does PDS staff pursue in a month? How long does it take to get a permit? How many phone calls did staff handle last month? How large is PDS’ total collection of GIS data? How many code enforcement cases is staff handling currently?
Staff gathered the answers to these and dozens of similar questions over the past 12 months. The collection of these data will become the base data in a new program being called PDS by the Numbers.
“It’s difficult at times for people to comprehend all the activities that our staff handles on an ongoing basis,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, Executive Director. “Even for those who understand our responsibilities, it’s sometimes tough to realize how quickly work numbers grow when you don’t experience them on a day-to-day basis. These situations are the reason we’re initiating PDS by the Numbers.”
Gordon names Kenton County Commissioner Joe Nienaber the catalyst for the new program.
“As a member of the PDS Council—our oversight body, Joe frequently asks about numbers of permits, processing time, customers served, and the list goes on,” according to Gordon. “We usually have answers to his questions, or at least are able to get them, but they prompted me to consider gathering those data on a more routine basis. Publishing them just adds to our transparency.”
Gordon approached PDS’ GIS programmers with some of these data earlier this year. He asked them for an effective way to present the information in an interesting way, one that would catch attention and allow for some level of interaction.
“Christy (Powell) and Joe (Busemeyer) provided me with a template in pretty short order,” said Gordon.
PDS by the Numbers’ 2016 data will appear on the agency’s website sometime in January; new numbers will be added on a monthly basis. The interactive display will provide visitors with an overview of the most important of 89 criteria gathered by staff on a monthly basis. As the program moves forward, current data will be portrayed in comparison with last year’s activities as an indicator of staff’s workload.
“At first the effort it took to collect these numbers was a bit tedious, more about remembering to do it than anything else. Once everyone made it a part of his or her routines, it became second nature,” said Gordon.
He concluded by suggesting that some of the numbers are going to surprise people.