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7 Things You Need to Know About Mayor Christenson's First 180 Days

This week, the Mayor's transition team laid out a timeline for a number of changes to city hall.

Mayor Gary Christenson was presented with a 100-page audit of city hall and its resident services during his earlier this week, in which a timeline was established for a number of his administration's goals. 

Don't have time to read the report? No big – assuming everything goes according to plan, here's the seven things you need to know about Christenson's plans for his first 180 days in office:

1. You'll be seeing a lot more of the Mayor: Christenson has expressed his desire to leave the confines of his office and work , host regularly scheduled press conferences broadcast on MATV.org and engage in . 

Beyond Christenson himself, the city has started an official Facebook and Twitter page for rapid interaction between residents and government center, which has already advised residents on a number of city issues, ranging from complaints about snow service to power outages.

A monthly e-newsletter and official community calendar is also in the works.

2. The citizen as a “customer”: The transitional audit calls for the mayor to implement a complaint tracking system for city services within his first 90 days of office.

Residents - whether registering their gripe through social media, telephone or email - will soon receive a unique tracking number associated with their file, both for internal reference and to allow members of the public to follow the city's progress on the issue via the internet.

The report also calls for the city to implement a “How's My Driving?” program for municipal employees within Christenson's first 180 days.

3. A less confusing city hall: The lack of direction and assistance near the entrance of Government Center was considered a “universal complaint” in a survey of residents included with the audit.

In response, the team recommended a volunteer greeter position to assist visitors, as well as installing new directional kiosks on the upper floors.

4. New resources for local businesses: The report recommends “designating a business liaison to assist new businesses with their start up, and serve as an ombudsman for businesses that have expansion issues.”

The liaison would be responsible for maintaing programs that support business development and revitalization, as well as checking up on the progress of new businesses “before they get in trouble.”

The recommendation came after a survey of local business owners found that only 25 per cent thought the city “had an active program to encourage and support existing businesses,” with respondents most frequently volunteering the words “indifferent” and “poor” when asked to describe how the city treats its businesses. 

5. New changes for employees: The audit recommends the establishment of a dress code within the first 30 days of the Christenson administration, as well as a ban on smoking within 50 feet of the building. Employees will also receive a newly revised employee handbook, and may see their weekly pay schedule changed to semi-monthly or bi-weekly payments as a cost- and time-saving effort.

Both regular employees and department heads will be subject to an annual review process within the first 180 days of Christenson's tenure.

6. Improved payment systems: The report calls for limiting “to the maximum extent” any payments residents make to the city outside of the treasurer's office. In particular, the team wanted to see parking and traffic ticket payments made at the office, with all available forms of payment – cash, credit, debit, check – available to residents.

7. Public recycling: The report calls for Christenson to implement recycling receptacles in parks and other public places within his first 180 days in office.

Bill M January 29, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Accountability. Something the last administration did not think was important!
Walter Peck February 04, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Here's one thing I know - Day 3: Malden Park is rammed down our throats. Sounds like a back-office deal to me.
Chris Caesar February 06, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Jazz, discussions about the ballpark were happening before Christenson took office: http://malden.patch.com/articles/city-to-plan-redevelopment-of-national-grid-site
DannyBoy February 06, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Chris, Jazz's point was it was a backroom deal made under Howard's watch, regardless of whether Christenson won the election or not. The presentation to the public and the "sollicitation" of public input was just for show, along the same lines of when they pushed the PAYT program onto the taxpayers.
AnnieOMalden February 06, 2012 at 07:46 PM
D: I agree completely! Now Gary is doing a flip flop on PAYT! He's looking to give us a .50 bag in a 5 per box! No, that doesn't sound like he's going to get rid of the bags or give us the free barrel he talked about during the campaign. What's the deal, Gary? Either you're going to do something like you promised or you're not. This ballpark would be a great idea if we had already brought more business into the city. I didn't spend any holiday dollars in this city and don't see adding a sports bar to replace another bar bringing more jobs to Malden. NO APARTMENT buildings before addressing the infrastructure needs, please!
DannyBoy February 06, 2012 at 07:53 PM
I hear you, Annie. The question is: does this Mayor hear the concerns of Malden residents and taxpayers, and plan on addressing them? Or does he have his own agenda, and voters' wishes pushed aside? Btw, the MRA is voting on the ballpark proposal this Wednesday, and I think it's going to pass the board, no surprise there.
Todd February 07, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Are either of you going to give this Mayor a chance? He's just over a month in office and you both are attacking him as a deceitful liar. Annie, you are like a lioness lurking in the brush just waiting to pounce on him and rip him to shreds. The previous mayor was allowed to crap on this city for 16 years. It can't all be cleaned up in a couple of months. From what I see, he is actively making strides to improve this city. Just give it some time.
AnnieOMalden February 07, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Todd: For the record, it is Gary who spoke his intentions first. A smaller bag is not what he ran his campaign on. He was supposedly against it and this is what he will do now that he is Mayor? I did not comment immediately until D brought up how Gary is not that different (ok, he uses a computer and social media) from the previous Mayor. You can bet I will stand up and speak out when it comes to the trash tax which so many people are still upset over. We quit getting signatures at about 10,000 and almost as many people showed up to vote on the subject as turned out for a Mayoral election. Gary has already spoken his plan for the blue bags and there is no mention of a free barrel anymore. I do not think Howard "crapped on this city" until his last term. This ball park has been a done deal since it was introduced years ago and Gary is not stopping it or being innovative pushing for more options. Funny how you think Howard was such a poor Mayor yet it is ok for Gary to finish what Howard started: ballpark, moving city hall and changing the RIO to allow for easier permitting for building MORE APARTMENT buildings.
DannyBoy February 07, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Todd: I am not attacking Christenson as "deceitful liar", those are your words, not mine. I am giving him the time and chance to prove himself to the voters, but he's already giving his approval nod to the ballpark deal, which I am opposed to and don't believe will bring any long-term benefits to the city. Why the rush to build this ballpark, is my question?
Boomsky February 07, 2012 at 06:50 PM
The ballpark is great, because that means a private company's willing to come in and remove all of the National Grid infrastructure with their own dime. Worst case scenario, the park doesn't work,..it'll be a lot easier(and affordable) to bulldoze a park than a utility company!
Todd February 07, 2012 at 07:29 PM
If I understood him correctly, he has stated that they would offer a smaller bag in the interim while they find an outcome that works best for all. And for my record, I have not stated how I feel about the new mayor, but I do find that the biggest difference between him and Richie, is that he listens. Howard could not be bothered with what the people that actually live here wanted.
AnnieOMalden February 07, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Todd: Why in the world would he offer a smaller bag with less in the box if he planned to eliminate the trash tax like he ran his campaign on? It was the four amigos who were opposed: Gary, Jim Nestor, Neil Kinnon and Craig Spadafora. They voted AGAINST the trash tax and now there's an offer of a smaller bag??? Wake up Todd. Not seeing enough change here, sorry.
stella February 08, 2012 at 02:14 AM
As long as everyone keeps recycling then whats the difference if we all started using any type of plastic bag for our trash as long as it is biodegradeable. If we all stand together and stop the blue bags what is the city going to do. They will still have to pick up the trash.
coldwaterdiver March 08, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Dont forget, Mayor Christianson was part of the City Council that put PAYT into place.
Kelly Ilebode March 08, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Mayor Christenson was part of the City council at the time but was one of the few that voted against PAYT - once something is implemented it is hard to get it removed...

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