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Management

There are several key elements that contribute to the success of any organization - good management, inspirational leadership, proper service-orientation, and economic stability. Today, little emphasis is placed on the study of an organization’s infrastructure, function, and employees’ behaviors as they relate to successful accomplishment of the organization’s goals.

Rather, these concepts are typically taken at face value and accepted for what they are. Employees work and accomplish at a minimum what needs to be done. Within the last century or so studies relating to behavior in organizations began to increasingly emerge resulting in the theoretical framework of this field. The three most notable facets of this framework includes: scientific management, human relations movement and bureaucracy. (Greenberg and Baron, p.12-14).

This paper will provide brief information on the theoretical framework of an organization’s structures which in turn will provide an overview of types of management/leadership styles, an assessment of the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) style of management, and my personal management preference.

According to Greenberg and Baron, one of the earliest pioneers in the study of behavior in organizations, Frederick Winslow Taylor, an engineer, sought ways to change the ineptitudes of employees. His research, the concept of scientific management, “not only identified ways to design manual labor jobs more efficiently, but also emphasized carefully selecting and training people to perform them.” The second facet of the theoretical framework, the human relations movement, was founded by Elton W. Mayo, an organizational scientist and consultant.

The human relations movement “emphasized the social conditions existing in organizations--the way employees are treated by management and the relationships they have with each other – influence job performance.” Bureaucracy, the third facet, was initiated by Max Weber, a sociologist. This form of organization is governed by a “set of applied rules that keep higher-ranking organization officials in charge of lower-ranking workers, who fulfill the duties assigned to them.” (Greenberg and Baron, p.12-14)

Today, at least one form of the theoretical framework can be found in any existing organization, and, each form comes with a different type of management leadership style within the organization. So then, what is management? Management, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary as, “the conducting or supervising of something (as a business or people).” Management)

Managers are endowed with the power to lead their organization. They must share that power in conjunction with other leaders in other parts of the organization and wield that power successfully over a designated staff within the organizational hierarchy. Since no one individual is gifted with precise knowledge on every topic, managers must: possess their own particular area of expertise, have an understanding of general organizational psychology, consistently offer creative thinking and innovative views on current issues facing the organization at different levels and guide (supervise) and motivate their team effectively along a predetermined path that will meet their corporate goals in order to insure the success of the entire organization.

But not all managers supervise their staff in the same way. The different management leadership styles are noted in the Every Manager’s Desk Reference by Penguin Group, Inc. Some of the styles include: “dictatorship, the ‘almost’ democracy, the partnership and the transformational leadership.” According to the Every Manager’s Desk Reference

In a dictatorship, managers, tend to keep decision- making powers and most critical knowledge to themselves. In the ‘almost’ democracy, the leader “strives to make sure the group is well informed and participating in the direction of the team as a whole.” In a partnership, the lines between the leader and the members of the group are blurred. The leader “becomes just one of the group.” And, in the case of the transformational leader, the leader “goes beyond trying to keep individuals and team performing at the status quo...he/she is .one who has the power to bring about change in team members and the organization as a whole. (Penguin Group, Inc., p. 309-312)

The theoretical framework and management style employed by an organization determines whether or not it is effectively leading its staff, enhancing and improving the morale and the overall work environment; and, thereby increasing productivity and output quality by employees.

Based on some of the characteristics listed by Greenberg and Baron, which includes, “Formal rules and regulations; Division of Labor; Hierarchical structure; Authority structure, etc…” (Greenberg and Baron, p.14), the theoretical framework employed by the NYCDDC is that of a bureaucracy and a “directive leadership” style of management. Under a directive leadership, the managers “give specific guidance to their subordinates.” However, there are limitations associated with the directive leadership style of management because it can be “redundant, less effective and can reduce a worker’s satisfactions.” (12 Manage Premium, 2009) Additionally, adherence to the agency’s policies and procedures are a strict requirement.

There is also a partnership style that applies within the NYCDDC’s various divisions/units. It is essential for all units of the agency to work cohesively together to ensure the agency’s mission, goals and objective of safe, successful, and expeditious completion of projects are met.

The day to day management of any organization is one of the most essential factors that will either result in the success of that organization or to its eventual demise. In support of the above statement, Chris Lauer, in his book, “The Management Gurus,” states, “Who you are determines what you see and the way you see it…and who you are determines how you see others.” (Lauer, p 8) Although, the agency employs the directive leadership method, the style of management most applicable to my personality is, “the ‘almost’ democracy.” My work ethic parallels the basic characteristics of this style.

I encourage “participation from all team members and welcome their opinions in setting new goals, procedures and direction for the unit.” (Penguin Group, Inc., p.310-311) This form of management creates a trusting environment between management and staff because it welcomes and encourages communication of staff views and ideas. All viable ideas are openly considered. With this style, any given team is motivated to do what is best for the team and for the organization as a whole while displaying adaptability and openness to ideas from peers.

This style of management declares that an open line of communication is imperative to the successful relationship between management and staff, but, notes that management is still the leader and must have the final say on any matter without being necessarily obligated to explain its decisions.

An assessment of my work ethic corroborate that I utilize “the almost democratic” style of management when managing my group. My overall personality characteristics reflect openness. I freely admit to not being knowledgeable in every topic. I welcome, encourage and respect the views of others. I can explain decisions I make without hesitation should they come into question. But, I have no difficultly asserting my role as the manager of my group.

Overall, I believe that a strong work ethic, two-way communications, an innate trust and a shared common goal to succeed are key principles for positive group dynamics. I also strongly acknowledge individual success and outstanding performances as well as the shared success of the group. I believe that when the manager shares his/her success with the whole team the relationship between management and staff is strengthened and enhanced.

The almost democratic style of management has its drawbacks. The line between management and staff can be precarious at times. For example, the staff can develop several creative ideas and suggestions concerning how to improve and increase employee morale. Although some suggestions can and will be taken into consideration and possibly utilized, a contributing member of the team might feel slighted if his or her idea is not adopted. That employee might possibly be offended by the final decision made by management which might result in that employee feeling less motivated.

In conclusion, the theoretical framework of management I have outlined acknowledges the three organizational structures: scientific management or division of labor; human relations movement or people oriented; and, the bureaucratic method where managerial emphasis is placed on policies and procedures to run the organization. Along with these facets an array of management styles have been established and employed by managers throughout time. While the NYCDDC employs the bureaucratic management framework and the directive leadership and partnership styles of management, I follow the same organizational framework, but utilize the “almost democratic” style of management.

However, I also, acknowledge that no manager can agree to use only one style of management at all times. Different situations, different groups of people and different tasks require different management styles at any given time. Deviation from the norm will be necessary for success to be accomplished. But, overall, a manager who tends to stay true to what works best for them and his/her subordinates will be viewed as consistent and reliable. My intentions are, whenever possible, to stay true to myself and my staff.

The Organization

As defined by Jerald Greenberg and Robert Baron in their book, “Behavior in Organizations,” an organization is “a structured social system consisting of groups and individuals working together to meet some agreed-upon objectives.” (Greenberg & Baron, p.5)

However, an organization is much more complex than what this simplistic definition seems to imply. Because it is a society of persons working together, the internal management of the individual steps necessary to attain the overall goals of the organization and the abilities of the managers and specialized workers are intrinsically linked together in order to determine the success or failure of that organization. The essence of any organization lies within its infrastructure.

History

The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) was established in 1996, with the objective of providing “design and construction expertise to over 20 City agencies.” (10th Anniversary Magazine Supplement, DDC, 1996, p.1) When originally established and this practice continues to date, the agency is a cultivated agency with the majority of its employees coming from two sister city agencies: the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. (NYCDEP)

The NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT): City agency responsible for any work related to bridges and roadways, including the rehabilitation and reconstruction of them. The NYC Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP): City agency responsible for any work related to water mains, storm and sanitary sewers, including the rehabilitation and reconstruction of them. The relationship among these three agencies is that the NYCDDC is the managing agency for the NYCDOT and NYCDEP projects dealing with “design and construction related to roadways, sewers, water mains, correctional and court facilities; cultural institutions; libraries; and other public building, facilities and structures…” (DDC, 2006, p.ii)

Management Philosophy/Style

The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) employs over 1,200 employees in numerous professions, including architects, engineers, estimators, project managers, communications and community outreach, auditors and outside consultants. The scope of responsibilities of the 1,200 plus employees is divided into two groups: Design and Construction; the Design Staff covers all five boroughs while the Construction Staff is divided into divisions: Infrastructure and Structure Divisions. The Infrastructure and Structure Divisions’ staff are divided into New York City’s five boroughs: Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan. Although, there is an overall leadership team for the agency, each borough consists of a borough director that administers the day to day operations of his/her respective borough.

Although some materials covered in this paper are reflective on the NYCDDC as a whole entity, but, the primary focus will be on the Infrastructure Division.

The NYCDDC headquarters is located in Queens at 30-30 Thomson Avenue, Long Island City, New York, 11101, where it currently occupies four floors – the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors.

While there is an overall bureaucratic management structure that governs the agency and because of the physical structure of the agency, various management philosophies are employed at the headquarters location and the satellite or borough offices. Yet these different, but cohesive, philosophies are essential for the successful governance of the agency. For example, there is a directive leadership that governs the overall agency structure, but, also evident is a partnership amongst units such as the Design and the Office of Community Outreach and Notification Units.

Directive leadership is the overall management style of the NYCDDC. Direction and management decisions come from the top and trickle down the organizational chart from management to key supervisory staff. This is internally the same for each unit within the agency and is based on the policies and procedures that must be followed.

For example: each borough has a chain of command that is headed by the Borough Director. He/she directs his/her immediate staff (Deputy Borough Director and Borough level staff) on agency philosophy, key initiatives, changes or additions to current policy as well as what to do and how to perform their duties/tasks. These directives are then passed on to the Engineers-In-Charge, then onto the project support staff.

The Borough Director oversees all projects in his/her borough and provides the consent/approval for most day to day operations. In addition, the borough director also has a chain of command that must be followed. Certain decisions/approvals have to be reviewed by subordinates as they travel up his/her chain of command: Assistant Commissioner, Associate Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, and Commissioner. The numbers of approvals that are required from the members of the hierarchy depend on the scope of the issue.

The Office of Community Outreach and Notification’s (OCON) staff are comprised of the Director, Deputy Director, Citywide Construction Liaisons, Community Board and Small Business Service Liaisons, Executive Assistant and Graphic Artist. They work in tandem with each of the Borough Office’s Staff – Director, Deputy Directory, Engineers-In-Charge, Resident Engineers, Project Liaisons, and Office Management. This direct partnership between the two entities facilitates the exchange of information necessary to keep all individual projects moving forward. This partnership also helps to address and eliminate any and all complaints and concerns of the affected communities where the work will be or is being performed.

Mission

The New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) mission, “To Deliver The City’s Construction Project In A Safe, Expeditious, And Cost-Effective Manner While Maintaining The Highest Degree Of Architectural Engineering, And Construction Quality.”(DDC, 2006, p.i)

With such an overreaching and specific mission statement, all of the organization’s personnel must strive on a daily basis to meet the fundamental goals and objectives set forth by the agency.

Goals

A goal is defined define as, “the end toward which effort is directed.” (Goal. 2009) The goals of the NYCDDC are, to build and upgrade the infrastructure and public spaces provided by local government in order to ensure the health, safety as well as the economy of the City of New York.

Objectives

Objectives are defined as, “something that one's efforts or actions are intended to attain or accomplish; purpose; goal; target.” (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1995) The objectives of the NYCDDC are, to continue to achieve and maintain excellence in design and construction while adhering to safety and quality standards.

The NYCDDC achieves its goals and objectives by continually recruiting and employing highly trained and certified professionals of all disciplines including engineering, architecture, construction management and administration. (DDC, 2006, p.ii)

Internal Systems: Strengths and Weaknesses

For any organization to succeed it is equally important to provide excellent goods and services to its clients while reviewing and addressing elements its internal infrastructure-the strength and weaknesses of the organization and its personnel.

Human Resources: Paid and Unpaid

The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) currently staffs approximately 1,200 plus paid employees providing skills needed to execute the daily requirements of projects in the design and construction phases in a timely and efficient manner. In addition to its full-time paid personnel, the agency also offers both paid and unpaid summer internships to students in all areas of the agency’s current working environment.

General consensus among workers is they are underpaid and overworked. Employees of NYC agencies are hired under a particular title that comes with an associated salary range. The same rule of thumb applies when employed by the NYCDDC. An employee’s salary is based on the range to which that title has a minimum and maximum amount; if through an employee’s tenure that he or she max out at the range and still in the position hired then he or she will remain at that salary until their unions get involved.

The City’s employee unions attempt to compensate its members with percentage and cost of living raises as contracts are renegotiated. Merit raises are sometimes awarded, although, they are few and far in-between. There are occasions when employees are asked to perform tasks beyond their normal required duties. In these cases grievances are usually filed in order to be compensated for out of title work. Additionally, employees of NYC agencies enjoy good job security as it is rare that city workers are removed from their positions.

Interns at the NYCDDC experience a cross section of the daily tasks performed at the agency. These internships can often result in promoting the desire of a potential engineer or architect, or changing the focus to a completely different specialty or field.

Committees and/or Boards

The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) perform its duties under a chain-of-command organizational chart that clearly delineates the units, ranking of officials and the required approval process. Figure I illustrate the overall chain of command for the agency’s various units and Figure II illustrates the overall chain-of-command for the NYCDDC Infrastructure Division’s OCON unit. (See Appendix for the NYCDDC’s Organizational Charts).

The NYCDDC’s strength lies in the vested time in developing and maintaining its infrastructure so that the agency could meet its goals and requirements without confusion or question of direct authority. However, the agency’s weakness is noted when at times, even in a structured environment, that things can be overlooked or tasks mistakenly believed to be the responsibilities of another department.

Formal And Informal Groups

Several formal groups exist at the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) which enhances the overall environment of the agency. These groups include Design and Construction Procurement Services or the Agency Chief Contracting Officer (ACCO). This group is responsible for “ensuring that the NYCDDC procures goods, services and construction in conformance with City regulations.” (DDC, 2006. p.31) The Project Review Service Unit consists of the agency’s architects and engineers who provide the creativity and oversight of a project in the design stages. The Office of Sustainable Design unit “identifies and implements cost-effective ways to promote greater environmental responsibility in building design.” (DDC, 2006. p.31)

The Research and Development Unit studies “innovative technologies, construction materials, methodologies and management strategies to improve the design and construction of buildings and infrastructure in New York City.” (DDC, 2006, p.31) The Performance Metrics is when the NYCDDC utilizes the “Key Performance Indicator (KPI) program” to process the

“Inter-related databases that maintain information about the agency’s projects, contracts, payments and support functions, as well as a multi-level reporting system which extracts data on critical processes in the agency’s operating divisions and presents it in an easy-to-read, yet comprehensive format.” (DDC, 2006, p.31)

The Quality Assurance and Construction Safety Unit oversees that safety procedure are adhered to in every aspect of the project for all of the agency’s projects. The Geographical Information Services works with and utilizes the Geographic Information System (GIS). This system allows the agency to clearly oversee the project dimensions of all projects locations on an electronic map and allows the agency to appropriate coordinate their work with other entities. The Technical Supports group works prior to the onset of construction.

They conduct investigations, monitor and provide information on “asbestos, lead, and other environmental contaminants…provide research, analyses and survey preparation for property-line, damage and acquisition, new buildings and all roadway, water and sewer projects.” (DDC, 2006, p.31) The Percent for Art Unit works with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs to integrate arts into a project scope. And, the Peer Review program promotes and enables review and open discussion from the agency’s staff on design issues. (DDC, 2006, p.31)

Informal Groups

Whether at the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) headquarter office or at the borough office level, the agency encourages frequent informal group discussions. Among the groups are the lunch groups who meet on a daily basis to discuss socio-political-economical issues and the ethnic groups that celebrate religious and national milestones, etc.

The strength of the NYCDDC lies both in its employees and in the groups listed above. The presence of both the formal and informal groups enhances, strengthens and excites the overall agency culture. The experience of attending these groups helps to encourage and educate all staff members to address the myriad of concerns the agency faces and promotes cultural diversity; this ensures that each employee feels welcome and accepted as part of his/her work environment. This acceptance helps to alleviate employee stress.

As with any organization with such a varied cross-section of personnel, the weaknesses lies in conflicts of many kinds that can occur especially when employees allow personal issues to overrule their professionalism. Therefore, for that organization to be successful it must rely heavily on each individual staff member pulling his/her weight and performing to the best of his/her ability.

Material Resources

The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) provide an array of free public information materials for the communities they serve and educational materials for its employees.

Prior to the onset and for the duration of most projects, the NYCDDC-Office of Community Outreach and Notification (OCON) releases several public information printed resource materials including: Start-Up Advisory Notice which provides essential project information distributed to all affected parties prior to the onset of any project; Project Brochure is the medium used to provide a detailed overview of the project; Bi-Monthly Newsletters provides an update on the project status Work Operation Notices provides all affected parties with work operations that may affect their daily routines including water shut-offs and so forth; Bus Cards are handouts that provides information to affected bus rides if a bus route will be affected because of a project and so forth.

The education materials are designed to provide NYCDDC employees with essential information. Some materials include: Employees Manual which Provides employees with all the essential rules for being a successful employee of the agency; the Design Consultant Guide provides vital information including the goals and objectives on the design phases for all of the agency structures projects; the Design & Construction Excellence: How the City is Improving its Capital Program is a publication that provides a review and explains the policy changes that were implemented and provides information of design and construction projects.

The NYCDDC is a proactive agency that provides the community and its employees with an array of vital information and assistance. This sensitivity illustrates how important the agency values its image and credibility. A major concern is that the information provided to the user is easily accessible, comprehensive and understood by all. A weakness that applies is a manual should be applicable and understanding to all the agency’s personnel rather than a selected group.

Constraints

Due to its configuration, the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) have both structural and human constraints.

Structural.

The NYCDDC currently occupies by means of rental, four floors at its current location and has five respective borough offices. This is a costly endeavor for the agency because it has occupancy is five borough offices rather than one.

Human (Political, Relationships)

The NYCDDC currently employees over 1,200 employees in its overall structure. There are some noted political affiliations; for example, the agency’s Commissioner is appointed by the Mayor of the City of New York. More of than not, if an employee can assist in any means to find advance the career of a friend, associate, acquaintance, then that employee will assist in what means he or she can.

There are often scheduling conflicts when planning meetings. These conflicts lead to delays in actions that may need to be taken thus inhibiting the progression of an issue. Additionally, because of the locations of most of the borough offices, traffic and parking are major issues. Because of the five borough offices, more often than not, relationships are formed through emails and telephones. Therefore, personal contact with coworkers is being eradicated at a hasty pace.

Relationship To External Systems

Collaborative Agreement with Outside Agencies on City/ Local State and Federal Levels.

The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) has and maintain collaborative relationships with many municipal entities. These collaborations are essential to the daily operation of the agency’s work flow and for the successful completion of projects. The NYCDDC receives funding from these entities based on the client agency’s annual budget allowances and its specific objectives to be achieved. Accurate accounting is kept of how the monies are spent. There are times when an overrun will occur and additional funds are necessary for the completion of a project; an under-run also can occur when funds remain after the completion of a project.

The municipalities, the NYCDDC collaborates which includes: the NYC Comptroller keeps count of all finances and provides oversight to ensure the proper ethical procedures are being adhered to.

The Borough Presidents and the NYC Council are entities that collaborate with the agency’s project management on issues dealing with land and zoning matters or if these entities funded any project within their borough or district.

The Client Agencies include several external agencies that work with the NYCDDC; these external agencies includes the twenty plus NYC agency clients including: Departments of Children’s Services, Environmental Protection, Parks and Recreation, Transportation and so forth; NYS Office of Court Administration; Office of the Chief Medical Examiner; New York, Queens and Brooklyn Public Libraries, and so forth where the NYCDDC manages the projects from the initial steps in design to the final stages in construction for the projects set forth by these agencies.

The Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget provides the NYCDDC with services ensuring all finance related issues dealing with a project are dealt with properly and without conflicts.

The NYCDOB is the city agency that provides the NYCDDC with any/all necessary and applicable permits for some projects to occur.

The Mayor’s Office of Contract Services ensures that any project bidding operation is done in a fair manner with an open competition amongst contractors providing the opportunity for no conflicts of interest to happen.

The NYCDDC collaborates with the fifty-nine NYC Community Boards to hold public meetings with their constituents when a project is being planned for their community. At these meetings, residents’ are given a presentation about the project and its impact on the community. An open forum follows so that concerns and opinions are addressed.

The Utilities companies - gas, electric, cable and telephone services is a very vital relationship. Clear, proactive cooperation ensures the progression of the project and limits the opportunity for problems surrounding limiting/eliminating services to their constituents.

The NYCDDC’s OCON Unit is a proactive unit that reaches out to affected communities, ameliorates problems and concerns and addresses all public inquiries.

The NYDDC collaborates with the NYC Art Commission to bring approved public arts to the appropriate projects. (DDC, 2006, p.29)

The history, management philosophy, mission, internal and external systems all play vital roles in the structure of any organization. These entities must interact, have a directional flow and coexist with each other for the day to day operations of the organization to proceed smoothly. Since there are times when conflicts arise, it is imperative that such issues be dealt with properly and in an appropriate manner. For example, failure to hire the appropriate personnel can and will lead to the decrease in the services the agency aims to provide to its clients; hence, a decrease in the credibility of not only the employees but the reputation of the agency.

The NYCDDC has a proven reputation for providing excellent goods and services to its clients. Its leadership role in implementing new facets of technologies and its innovative thinking when applying new management models into the agency’s overall infrastructure clearly enhance its ability to accomplish its mission statement.

The Target Service Area

For any business or organization to succeed in providing the professional services it offers, it first must assess, analyze and fully understand the service area(s) and the target audience(s) it hopes to provide its services to. The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) services the five boroughs of New York City by “building and upgrading the City’s infrastructure and public spaces.” (DDC, 2006, p.6)

For the NYCDDC to perform any type of project in any area, it is essential that the staff dedicated to that project become familiar with all aspects of the project limits including learning who the elected officials and Community Boards representing the area are; reviewing the various types of land use (industrial or residential) in the area; determining the proximity to the project of hospitals, schools, cemeteries, and public parks that might affect the project, assessing the most heavily used traffic areas, and mapping out the affected public transportation outlets.

To better understand how the NYCDDC serves the patrons of New York City and how the agency fulfills the requirements for the criteria listed below, pertinent information about the City of New York will be provided. Additionally, in order to give a concrete project example for the purposes of this paper I would like to introduce one of the NYCDDC’s current construction projects, “The Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Project.” The purpose of using this project as an example is that it provides supportive information and clear documentation pertinent to the needs of this thesis.

The Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Project (DBTC) is a new capital construction project managed by the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division. The project implementation phase began at the beginning of Winter 2008, and is anticipated to be completed in Summer 2010. The goal of this project is to implement safety measures in several heavily populated neighborhoods of Brooklyn including Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Fort Greene, the Gowanus and Downtown Brooklyn. This project is the result of an intense study of the increased traffic congestion in downtown Brooklyn as a condition of the borough’s extensive revitalization that has occurred during the last two decades.

This project will install sewers, water mains, street/traffic lighting, in addition to an array of traffic calming measures including installing: neckdowns or curb extensions which aid in shortening the distance for pedestrians to cross a street and reduces the vehicular speed for cars/truck turning into a street; high visibility crosswalks which are pavement markings alerting motorists/bicyclists of pedestrian cross walks; new bus pads/stops at designated area which will provide a safer venue for the pick-up/drop off of bus transit users; drainage improvements will add additional catch basins and adjustments of grade to eliminate ponding/flooding at street corners; and, street lighting which will enhance the safety of all roadway users, especially at night. (DDC, DBTC Brochure 2009, p.2)

For this project, the community at-large which includes residents, businesses owners/operators and motorists will be affected due to the need for limiting/restricting public access. Community sections affected will include: student pick-up/drop off areas, sidewalks and street crossings, local street access causing street closures and detours, on-street parking, driveway and loading dock access, and temporarily requiring relocation of bus stops and subway entrances and exits. (DDC, DBTC Brochure, 2009, p.2)

Demographics

The City of New York is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the United States of America. It is made up of five boroughs: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. New York City is divided into fifty-nine very active community boards. (DDC, 2006, Community District Profiles)

Since the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) is committed to “building and upgrading the City’s infrastructure and public spaces,” (DDC, 2006, p.1), it is important to review the land use of each borough to better understand how the work conducted by the agency affects the communities in both positive and negative ways. This review will reinforce the need for the agency to be sensitive to limitations throughout the city because of the various land constraints in particular areas directly affecting how construction work can be performed and the means and methods by which these operations must be performed, such as, day, night or weekend work hours, street closures, etc.. Some situations dictate that an operation, such as jack-hammering or pile driving cannot be conducted in any alternative way.

The borough of the Bronx has a total land use of 27,144.2 acres and measures 42.4 square miles. It consists of 12 community boards representing 1,332,650 people. According to the NYC Department of City Planning website, a 2006 survey illustrate the land usage in percentage below:

“1 - 2 Family Residential -18.2%

Multi-Family Residential - 15.8%

Mixed Residential/Commercial - 2.7%

Commercial / Office - 4.4%

Industrial - 3.9%

Transportation/Utility - 2.8%

Institutions - 9.7%

Open Space/Recreation - 31.4%

Parking Facilities - 2.0%

Vacant Land - 4.6%

Miscellaneous - 4.5%”

(NYCCP, 2007, Borough of the Bronx)

The borough of Brooklyn has a total land use of 45,734.2 in acreage and is 71.5 square miles. There are 18 community boards representing 2,465,326 persons. According to the NYC Department of City Planning website, a 2006 survey illustrate the land usage in percentage below:

“1 - 2 Family Residential- 22.6%

Multi-Family Residential - 16.1%

Mixed Residential/Commercial - 3.4%

Commercial / Office - 3.1%

Industrial - 4.9%

Transportation/Utility - 4.2%

Institutions - 6.0%

Open Space/Recreation - 33.8%

Parking Facilities - 1.8%

Vacant Land - 3.3%

Miscellaneous - 0.9%”

(NYCCP, 2007, Borough of the Brooklyn)

The borough of Manhattan has a total land use of 14,581.0 acreage and is 22.8 square miles. There are 12 community boards in Manhattan representing 1,537,195 persons. According to the NYC Department of City Planning website, a 2006 survey illustrate the land usage in percentage below:

“1 - 2 Family Residential -1.2%

Multi-Family Residential - 23.5%

Mixed Residential/Commercial -12.2%

Commercial / Office -10.1%

Industrial - 2.3%

Transportation / Utility - 6.8%

Institutions -1.7%

Open Space / Recreation - 25.0%

Parking Facilities - 1.8%

Vacant Land - 3.2%

Miscellaneous - 2.1%”

(NYCCP, 2007, Borough of the Manhattan)

The borough of Queens has a total land use of 70,190.2 acreage and measures109.7 square miles. There are 14 community boards in Queens representing 2,229,379 persons. According to the NYC Department of City Planning website, a 2006 survey illustrate the land usage in percentage below:

“1 - 2 Family Residential -35.8%

Multi-Family Residential -10.5%

Mixed Residential/Commercial -1.5%

Commercial / Office - 3.2%

Industrial -3.6%

Transportation/Utility -11.7%

Institutions - 5.2%

Open Space/Recreation -19.5%

Parking Facilities -1.3%

Vacant Land -5.4%

Miscellaneous - 2.3%”

(NYCCP, 2007, Borough of the Queens)

The borough of Staten Island has a total land use of 37,437.2 acreage and is 17.1 square miles. There are three community boards in Staten Island representing 443,728 persons. According to the NYC Department of City Planning website, a 2006 survey illustrate the land usage in percentage below:

“1- 2 Family Residential -33.5%

Multi-Family Residential -3.0%

Mixed Residential/Commercial - 0.5%

Commercial / Office - 3.4%

Industrial - 2.9%

Transportation/ Utility - 7.7%

Institutions - 9.5%

Open Space/ Recreation - 20.6%

Parking Facilities - 0.6%

Vacant Land -17.7%

Miscellaneous - 0.7%”

(NYCCP, 2007, Borough of the Staten Island)

Strengths And Limitations

When the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) was established in 1996, its mission was to build and rebuild the City’s infrastructure – “roadways, sewers, water mains, correctional and court facilities; cultural institutions; libraries; and other public building, facilities and structures…” (DDC, 2006, p.ii)

The strength of the NYCDDC has always been that it employs all necessary types of project personnel armed with the skills, expertise, experience and knowledge to successfully carry the project from its design stage through to its completion. Its 1,200 plus staff are mainly architects, engineers, estimators, project managers, communications and community outreach personnel, auditors and outside consultants. This benefits the communities the agency serves by providing state-of-the-art positive long-term improvements, including better drainage or lighting and so forth in short turnaround times thereby limiting negative effects, such as driveway and parking restrictions.

The agency’s strength also comes from internal innovative groups such as: the Office of Sustainable Design which “identifies and implements cost-effective ways to promote greater environmental responsibility in building design,” and the Office of Research and Development which studies “innovative technologies, construction materials, methodologies and management strategies to improve the design and construction of buildings and infrastructure in New York City.” (DDC, 2006, p.31) This benefits the communities the agency serves because it saves funds for the City which can be utilized in other improvements.

In order to ensure consistency throughout its infrastructure, the agency produces numerous publications, such as, the Design Consultant Guide, which gives vital project design information including defining the goals and objectives of the design phases for all agency structures. and, the Design & Construction Excellence: How the City is Improving its Capital Program, which provides a review of capital improvement projects by the city, explains the policy changes that were implemented and provides additional information on common design and construction projects. These guides and procedures help the communities because they provide across-the-board standards that are consistently followed.

The most evident impediment to NYCDDC projects is occupation of the land. If the land is vacant and can be utilized and reconstructed as needed, the work can be completed at a much faster rate. For example, most projects last approximately two years. That timeline takes into account the limitations faced with occupied lands where the restrictions such as those listed in DBTC Brochure must be observed. If, however, the land is available with few or no restrictions then it is feasible to work within shorter timeines given the ability to use multiple crews that can work simultaneously. In that case coordination with other public entities would not be needed.

The additional limitations the NYCDDC faces include: work hours restrictions which that applies during rush hours periods, when work occurs in the vicinity of schools, the summer/winter/holiday embargo periods, etc.; service interruptions includes water shut-offs which are dependent on when the NYCDEP will approve these shut-off; unforeseen field conditions – more often than not, there is either no documentation or incorrect documentation of field conditions, such as the correct lane where pipes and cables run; and, eminent domain – there are instances where the City of New York has to acquire ownership from an owner to ensure in order to provide proper design and alignment work operations. This can be a tedious task that can take years, with the result that the affected area continues to deteriorate.

Trends

In an effort to cohesively serve the patrons of the City of New York, the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) is routinely and consistently investigating ways to better perform the work that needs to be completed in order to achieve successful completion of projects. In support of this goal, the NYCDDC’s Office of Sustainable Design “identifies and implements cost-effective ways to promote greater environmental responsibility in building design,” and the agency’s Research and Development Unit studies “innovative technologies, construction materials, methodologies and management strategies to improve the design and construction of buildings and infrastructure in New York City.” (DDC, 2006, p.31)

One such innovative method currently being utilized by the agency in its construction of some project is micro-tunneling or “Trenchless Technology.” (DDC, 2006, p.28) Micro-tunneling is an alternative method used when

“Constructing large sewers and water main in congested street, beneath busy highways and railroads or adjacent to sensitive structures. The concept is simple. As the micro-tunneling machine is pushed forward, it only removes an amount of earth equal to the displaced volume of the advancing pipe. It does this while balancing the earth pressure at the cutting face. This maintains the stability of the soil located above the pipe and helps prevent the creation of voids.” (DDC, 2006, p.23).

This method avoids making deep trench cuts to facilitate the replacement of sewers and water mains. This method also helps to facilitate a cleaner work site.

Additional trends include employing multiple crews to complete projects at a faster rate and utilizing incentive/disincentive clauses. These clauses reward the Contractor for completing the project on/before time and penalize the Contractor if the project is not completed on time. Another trend is use of Community Construction Liaisons (CCL) as part of the agency’s OCON Unit in order to more effectively oversee and manage all the necessary community outreach on projects.

Organization’s Position In The Community

“The nature of our work puts DDC in the center of a web of interested parties directly impacted by our projects. Part of our job is to coordinate among these groups to ensure that the City continues to serve its citizens by upgrading and maintaining our infrastructure, while minimizing disruption to individual neighborhoods and individuals. To accomplish this, we work closely with utilities, community representatives, and private industry to inform communities about the impact of our projects and to address any concerns that may arise.” (DDC, 2006, p.6)

The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) is given the key managerial responsibility from its clients, such as the NYCDEP and the NYCDOT to perform the work. The agency is responsible for the design and construction of the project(s) once the agency is provided with design scope and funding of the area to be improved.

The perception of the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division by businesses, residents and the general public in New York City as a whole is mixed. New York City’s infrastructure is deteriorating. It has only been in the immediate past that the city has begun undergoing reconstruction programs to renovate its infrastructure. Improvements require numerous projects designed to upgrade the city’s roadways, water main and drainage systems, as well as other major infrastructure rehabilitations, such as street lighting and neckdowns.

Even though the public as a whole understands that the upgrading of the City’s systems is necessary, the individually affected communities are often unhappy with the number of inconveniences that are unavoidable when performing the types of work required to complete these projects. Therefore, prior to and during the project, the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division is often seen in an unfavorable light by the communities in which a project is occurring.

Often major projects affect the city as a whole as when motorists from one area cannot follow their standard route to another area. For example, street closures often detour traffic and water shut-offs often severely inconvenience blocks of businesses and residents. However, once the project is completed, the NYCDDC Infrastructure Division’s image is seen in a greatly improved light because more often than not the system upgrade will prevent problems for many years to come and sometimes even enhances the look, property value and safety of the neighborhood.

Services Provided

The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC), when established in 1996, was tasked with the mission, “To deliver the City’s construction projects in an expeditious, cost-effective manner, while maintaining the highest degree of architectural, engineering, and construction quality. (DDC. 2006, p.ii)

The target service area chosen by a business to serve must be given immense consideration, along with the staff that would be required to ensure that not only would the business benefit, but, more importantly the target service area. Ethics plays a key role within these two entities so that a standard of conducting business is followed. For example, a laundromat would not be as necessary in a purely residential neighborhood with single family homes, as it would be in areas where there are multi-dwelling homes such as apartment buildings. Now, as a paying client of that laundromat, you will not want to suspect that some of machines are rigged so a customer has to pay more for the services provided by the laundromat. For example, a customer would not want to pay two quarters for what would normally require one quarter drying a set of clothing.

Services And Programs

What services/programs the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) provides and the methods employed to provide those services are intricately linked because of the following agency overall mission: “To Deliver The City’s Construction Project In A Safe, Expeditious, And Cost-Effective Manner While Maintaining The Highest Degree Of Architectural Engineering, And Construction Quality.”(DDC, 2006, p.i)

The agency builds and upgrades the infrastructure and public spaces provided by local government in order to ensure the health, safety, as well as the economy of the City of New York. The objectives of the NYCDDC are, to continue to achieve and maintain excellence in design and construction while adhering to safety and quality standards. The agency continually recruits and employs highly trained and certified professionals of all disciplines including engineering, architecture, construction management and administration. (DDC, 2006, p.1)

Staff Qualifications

To be successful in the services and programs a business provides, the qualification of its staff must equate and rise above what is necessary to ensure the success of what is being provided. The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) is staffed with an exemplary array of professional educated and knowledge in fields essential for the success of the agency to provide the services and programs it does for the City of New York.

The staffing list and qualifications are as follows:

Commissioner: David Burney, AIA, was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the NYCDDC in January 13, 2004. Mr. Burney, an architect by profession, is skilled and learned as a leader of a multi-functional agency such as the NYCDDC. Similar to his fellow counterparts at other City agencies, Mr. Burney possesses a great deal of the overall responsibility of managing the agency. Though, most decisions affecting the agency are made prior to it getting to his level, he is still held accountable for all decisions made by his subordinates, including, but not limited to the agency’s work, finances, etc.

The Chief Of Staff (COS) is the primary advisor to the NYCDDC’s Commissioner. The COS’s has an array of responsibilities that requires the person serving this position to be educated in numerous subjects. Some responsibilities include coordination of the agency’s units; conducts executive functions such as, “strategic planning and initiatives, coordination and preparation of reports to the Mayor and his senior staff and coordination of internal and external communications and reports.” (DDC, 2006, p.35)

The General Counsel (GC) is the NYCDDC’s legal counsel unit, providing knowledge of any/all business transactions with all entities doing business with the agency including fellow NYC agencies, not-for-profit organizations and the private sector. The GC also,

“Negotiates, structures and prepares agreements entered into by the agency…provides legal advice and drafts legislative and regulatory solutions necessary to shape and implement initiatives…and, advises on ethical and conflict of interest issues.” (DDC, 2006, p.35)

Public Affairs (PA): The PA Unit is the public face of the agency. Personnel in this unit are looked upon to address public issues when any/all issue arises through the media whether by television, newspapers, local elected officials, and so forth.

The Technology and Policy Analysis (TPA) Unit is directly linked to the agency’s mission of achieving the technological and re-engineering goals and to support the agency’s design and construction programs.

The Structures Division (SD) staff is responsible for the design and construction of public buildings, such as libraries and fire houses serving all of NYC’s patrons.

The Infrastructure Division (ID) staff is responsible for the design and construction of roadways, sewers, and water mains after the need has been established.

The Administration Unit is responsible to ensure the necessary personnel needed to staff the agency are met for all five borough offices. It also provides “financial oversight including paying contractor invoices and managing the operating and construction budgets.” (DDC, 2006, p.35)

The Architecture and Engineering (A&E) staff is given such specific functions as, “Design and Constructability Review, Office of Sustainable Design, Historic Preservation Office, Art Commission Liaison, Percent for Art Liaison and Post Occupancy Surveys.” (DDC, 2006, p.35)

The Engineering Audit Office (EAO) Unit certifies all payment to contractors and consultants contracted by the agency to ensure the work provided are met to the standards of the contract and that all work are appropriately paid for.

The Agency Chief Contracting Officer (ACCO) Unit is staffed with officers skilled with the knowledge of NYC’s regulations and ensures the agency adhered to them.

The Technical Support (TS) Unit provides all aspect of technical support such as Quality Assurance to all other NYCDDC’s units.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Office (EEO) develops, implements, and is responsible to monitor the agency’s employment policies and practices “to ensure compliance with federal, state and city human rights laws governing discriminatory employment practices.” (DDC, 2006, p.35)

Mandate(s)

Ethical Dilemmas

An agency’s work ethic is defined by the agency’s mission. In addition, its employees also bring their personal work ethics to the offices in which they work. The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) have several mandates by which the agency is guided. These mandates can be found in the Ethics Guide for Public Servants.

However, that is not to say that ethical issues are not prevalent at the agency. For example, nepotism or “favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship” (Nepotism, 2009) is an issue that is present at the agency.

On January 29, 2009, a press release issued by the NYC Department of Investigation (DOI) cited “… a settlement with a former Director at the New York City Department of Design and Construction (“DDC”) who used her City position to help her two adult children obtain jobs with private companies that did businesses with DDC” (DOI, 2009).

The situation stated above clearly violates rules of Charter 63 of the Ethics Guide for Public Servants. One of the rules forbids public servants from using their “City position to gain any private advantage for yourself, a close family member, or anyone with whom you have a financial relationship.” (City of New York, 2006)

Louis Pojman and James Fieser (2008) stated the following: the relationship between laws and ethics “…are instituted in order to promote well-being, resolve conflict of interest, and promote social harmony…” clearly indicates even by societal standards, the laws of ethics were broken with this act. (p.4)

Nepotism, whether it is gained through family relationships, friendships or other associations, is a problem that often occurs at the NYCDDC. It is not so much the fact that it exists, but the worst part is the means and methods that are used to attain positions for outsiders and how these positions are maintained afterwards—sometimes even with promotions.

Other than management staff, all of the agency’s employees belong to a union that represents them in any affairs that are job related including: contract negotiations, a situation concerning an employee possibility of losing his/her employment whether by layoff or being fired, and pay raises.

One of the problems that exist at the NYCDDC is similar to the case noted above. More often than not, employees placed through nepotism are often incapable of fulfilling the tasks and duties of their respective position. They are clearly aware that because the agency is unionized the possibility of being fired is near to impossible. Generally the productivity of these employees is subpar. In such a situation, there is hardly anything a manager of the unit in which the employee is working in can do aside from petitioning for the employee to be transferred to another unit.

In addition, preferential treatment is very often given to an employee who is known to have a personal relationship with someone in a position of power in the agency rather than based on merit, capabilities, skills, experience and education. This is not productive to the agency because more often than not, these persons are not qualified to perform the work they are employed for. They are being paid for being an employee, but, at the same time persons who are qualified and capable are overlooked.

Evaluation Of The Match Between Services And Consumers Needs

Already established is the fact that the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) serves NYC’s five boroughs. The work that the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division provides comes as a result of the constant need to improve the City’s infrastructure in order to continue serving future generations. If the City’s infrastructure does not undergo the rehabilitation it needs, failures in infrastructure occur resulting in situations like ponding at street corners and street flooding due to the inability of the sewer and sanitary mains to adequately handle the needs of environmental situations.

An imbalance of the match between the services and consumers needs may at times be present because whereas some communities may feel that improvements are needed immediately, unless project scopes and funding are provided by the appropriate entity to the NYCDDC to facilitate a project from design to construction, that project will not occur or may occur at a later date in the future.

The Consumers

Consumers are essential commodities for the success of a business; the needs and wants of the customers are important. Focus and attention must be dedicated to ensure that the customer needs are met. It is their monies spent on a product provided by the business that will either make the success or the failure of that company. While the NYCDDC serves the organization that provides the project’s scope and funding, by extension, the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) serve the City of New York citizens.

Targeted And Actually Served

The City of New York is the targeted entity the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) serves. Since the NYCDDC is a city agency, the entire five boroughs: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, New York and Staten Island are the targeted areas.

The NYCDDC has a collaborative relationship with many municipal entities, such as the NYCDOT, NYCDEP, NY Public Libraries, and so forth. These collaborations are essential not only to the daily operation of the agency’s work flow but, also for the successful completion of projects. The agency receives funding from these entities based on the client agency’s annual budget or specific the objectives it needs to achieve. The areas actually served are dependent on the agency’s project lists which are based on its clients’ scope of needed work. These collaborative relationships direct what areas are actually served by the agency.

For example, the scope and funding provided by the NYCDOT for the DBTC Project will benefit several residents in several neighborhoods in Brooklyn including, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Downtown Brooklyn, Park Slope, the Gowanus and Brooklyn Heights.

Vignettes/Profiles Of Consumers

The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) enters into collaborative relationships with many municipal entities such as the NYCDOT, NYCDEP, NYC Department of Park and Recreation (NYCDPR) and so forth to ensure the daily operation of the agency’s work flow and for the successful completion of projects are achieved. The NYCDDC manages the projects from the initial steps in design to the final stages in construction for a variety of projects set forth by these agencies. One such example is the Randall’s Island Fire Training Academy in New York. The agency was responsible for the,

“ Design and construction of approximately 79,000 square feet in three new buildings (a Burn Building, a state-of-the-art Classroom Building with physical fitness center and cafeteria, and a City Streetscape Building) and renovation of the existing Smoke House…complete with four-story buildings, sidewalks, parking meters, manholes, fire hydrants, metal gates, and street signs-all designed to recreate obstacles encountered in real situations.” (DDC, 2006, p.14)

The work performed by the NYCDDC places the agency front and center in all communities within NYC’s five boroughs. Because of this, the agency coordinates its activities with all affected parties including Community Boards, Elected Officials, Civic/Community Organizations, Business Improvement Districts (BID’s), utilities, businesses, special interest groups and residents in order to ensure a smooth progression of the project while striving to minimize the impacts to the communities. (DDC, 2006, p. ii)

Your Experience With The Consumers

Due to the nature of the work performed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC), the agency is recognized as the responsible entity on each project it performs. It is important to note that the NYCDDC is the managing entity for the design and construction of project scopes provided by external entities.

For this section, attention will be given to the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division. The perception of the agency in the community – businesses and residents’ views – and in New York City as a whole is mixed. New York City’s infrastructure is deteriorating and it has only been in the immediate past that the city’s infrastructure has begun undergoing reconstruction and improvement. Improvements require immense upgrading to the city’s roadways, water main and drainage systems among other major rehabilitations.

Even though it is understood that the upgrading of the City’s systems is necessary, the affected communities are often unhappy with the number and type of inconveniences that are unavoidable to complete the project. Therefore, prior to and during the project, the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division is often seen in an unfavorable light by the communities in which a project is occurring.

Often major projects affect the city as a whole when motorists from one area cannot follow their standard route to another area. For example, street closures often detour traffic and water shut-offs often severely inconvenience businesses and residents. However, once the project is completed, the NYCDDC Infrastructure Division’s image is greatly improved because more often than not, the system upgrade will then not be a problem for many years to come and sometimes even enhances the look, property value and safety of the neighborhood.

Ethical Issues

In any organization, there will be ethical issues that will have to be addressed. For the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) ethical issues can vary whether it comes from the people that work for the agency, or the citizens of New York City.

For example, Contractors employed by the agency are hired to perform the multiple tasks of a project. There are rules, regulations, ethical mandates that they must adhered to. Taking the quick way out of things, not adhering to the proper rules and regulations associated with the required work, improvising on safety measures, are just a few means in which the Contractor can be held accountable.

For the residents of NYC, a relative example can be provided using the DBTC Project. Part of this project involves sidewalk reconstruction. If a location was issued a sidewalk violation by the NYCDOT prior to working at a location and the location’s management chose to have the City’s Contractor perform the work to remove the violation, then the City of New York will assess and bill the owner of the location.

Now, for argument sake, let us say that the location is a restaurant which is often visited by the Contractor, then the Contractor must remain objective with regards to the work performed on behalf of the restaurant. The Contractor must not falsify the information so the restaurant will be assess and billed at a lower price.

The Needs Assessment

Description Of The Needs

Awareness Of These Needs

The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) has been in existence for twelve plus years serving the five boroughs of New York City. During the course of improving the City of New York’s infrastructure, daily inquiries from the various affected communities are received and answered. Questioners often inquire about general information on the project, such as its duration, its affect on accessibility to sidewalks, and the need for water service interruptions. In addition to inquiries, many community members complain, sometimes vehemently about the use of heavy machinery, vibration of homes, the need for project housekeeping, increased noise levels, and so forth.

However, there is no centralized database system in existence at the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division to log these inquiries. Manual logging the inquiries is performed by the various departments within the agency. For example, inquiries can be received individually, or simultaneously, by the OCON, the Commissioner’s Office, the Project Field Office, the Engineer-In-Charge, via the web, NYC 311 Hotline, and so forth.

Due to the lack of a dedicated agency unit, such as the OCON, charged with the task of overseeing and analyzing all project related inquiries, reporting is inconsistent. This is due to the fact that all the essential information such as amount, context, content, etc. is located in different sections of the agency. This poses a problem for the agency’s Infrastructure Division because much useful information is lost or is reported differently.

Given a systematic, consistent logging program relevant information could be provided to all departments within the agency giving them the ability to strategically utilize the information. One major benefit of this system would occur during planning stages when the agency could target and possibly proactively alleviate problems based on similar concerns voiced by communities that previously confronted corresponding work.

Ethical Issues Identified

An ethical issue that can be immediately identified is ensuring the proper procedures in reporting the community inquiries are adhered to; to receive all inquiries whether these inquiries are merit based or not and include them into the proposed NYCDDC’s Infrastructure centralized electronic logging system.

More often than not, when a project is occurring at a location over a period of time, several callers are known to be consistent in their “complaints,” whether it is housekeeping, water shut-offs, noise and so forth. The ethical issues here is though these residents can be unnerving to receive a call from on a daily basis and logging their inquiries might seems inconsequential, it is still imperative and essential because the agency is still serving them in improving the City’s infrastructure. These inquiries are essential to evaluating how the agency can better serve the same communities in the future.

Description Of The Specific Needs To Be Addressed

Relevance To The Organization’s Mission

Reiterating the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) mission, “To Deliver The City’s Construction Projects In A Safe, Expeditious, And Cost-Effective Manner While Maintaining The Highest Degree Of Architectural Engineering And Construction Quality,” (DDC, 2006, p.i), the apparent need is directly linked to the agency’s mission of providing the best services available.

Developing, implementing and managing a centralized electronic logging system for the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division to handle all community inquiries would enhance the agency’s capability to understand the nature of the problems that are associated with the agency’s many projects. It would help to provide necessary information as to what affected parties are routinely most concerned about. This information can provide a better understanding of what types of problems certain areas face.

For example, if an area heavily relies on street parking, then while a project is in the design phase, consideration can be given to possibly having the project done in phases or working with the appropriate entities such as the NYC Department of Sanitation (NYCDOS) to eliminate parking regulations in/around the vicinity of the project area to provide for the parking space temporarily eliminated because of the project.

Another example would be water service interruptions. Agreements can be made with building owners to provide water to business via an alternative route but at no cost to the agency should a problem arise internally.

These are just two examples that could save the agency time and money when information is provided based on past major concerns are for a specific area including, how hot button issues such as the ones mentioned above have been addresses which allowed the agency to perform its tasks appropriately and correctly.

Initial Plan For Assessing, Documenting And Addressing The Need

Resource Analysis

An analysis of the resources needed and their availability indicates that the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division is capable of developing, implementing, and managing the proposed pilot project of a centralized electronic logging system for all community inquiries during active construction projects.

The agency’s Infrastructure Division maintains an array of skilled, learned, experienced, educated and seasoned professionals in various units as mentioned before. The NYCDDC already have in existence the OCON Unit which is a dedicated unit dealing with and handling all community outreach for construction projects that are staffed with Community Constructions Liaisons (CCLs). Within this unit are three Citywide Liaisons (CWLs), who supervised approximately 33 CCLs on approximately 35 active construction projects in NYC’s five boroughs.

Currently, one of the OCON’s procedure is at the end of every month, all CCLs have to submit their respective project(s) community inquiry logs, upon implementation of the proposed pilot project, the same procedure would apply with the exception that all the information gathered would be included in a centralized system.

The only change in this setting consists of the construction projects that are not CCLs staffed. In this setting, a representative from the Project Field Office, most likely the Office Engineer, the Resident Engineer or the Engineer-In-Charge would have to account for the community inquiries that are received during to the project. However, the same procedures would be expected where monthly submissions of the community inquiries would be submitted to the OCON.

Another resource necessary for the proposed pilot project is an office program such as Microsoft Access. The NYCDDC already have this program implemented into the agency’s computers’ hardware. This program will afford the opportunity to be as detailed with the layout as needed to facilitate the purpose of the proposed pilot project through linkages.

Anticipated Level Of Commitment

The anticipated level of commitment is essential from the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC)Infrastructure Division, but, more so from the OCON, Construction, Administration and Technical Support Units. Working in tandem, these units can implement and manage the proposed pilot project. For example, the Construction Unit would provide the OCON staff with the necessary monthly community inquiries. Technical Support is important because they can query any lacking factors in ensuring the success of the proposed pilot project. Administration is essential because this unit can provide the necessary tools such as additional programs that will be necessary for the success of the proposed pilot project.

Support

The proposed pilot project is an endeavor that will require the support from the overall New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division. Each unit is important because their input will be essential in how the program is ultimately laid out to provide the best possible method to successfully achieve the purpose of the centralized electronic logging system.

Resistance / Constraints

The proposed pilot project is a new endeavor for the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division. That being said, it means additional work to ensure the proper information is logged under the proper inquiry heading whether it be housekeeping, noise, etc., for every entity involved with the management of the project. It will take more precise time management from the OCON and Construction Units because updating the community logging system will need to be a routine task. No worker wants additional work added to their already daily tasks, but, that will be the case until routines are established and time management is better handled.

Relationship Building Needed/Required To Follow Through On The Proposal

The relationship building needed to follow through on the proposed pilot project has begun. In the course of ensuring that the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division would support the project, many conversations regarding the usefulness of the proposed pilot project occurred with the several divisions the Design and Program Management Units; several conversations about the implementation and overall need of the proposed pilot project were held with the Associate and Deputy Commissioners of the Infrastructure Divisions; several discussions about the format of the proposed pilot project were held with the staff of OCON. Additionally, several conversations were held with the Brooklyn Borough Director, the Engineer-In-Charge and the CCL of the DBTC Project.

Literature Review

Essential to stating, testing and subsequently implementing and managing a hypothesis, is finding sustainable data to analyze and support the hypothesis. Below are six articles that provide necessary information on several levels regarding the development, implementation and managing of the proposed pilot project.

KaDo: An Advanced Enterprise Modeling, Database Design, Database Implementation, and Information Retrieval Case for the Accounting Information Systems Class.

While this article was based on an accounting information system, the authors, Guido L. Geerts and Kinsun Tam provide helpful and practical information along with several objectives which are key steps necessary for the development and implementation of the proposed pilot project According to Geerts and Tam, the following objectives are essential for the success of an centralized electronic logging system to be applied for the best results: Enterprise Modeling focused on constructing subtypes, recursive relationships, ternary relationships, weak entities, and types specifications…; Relational Database Design is mapping advance modeling from subtypes and recursive relationships into relational database structures; Integration of Legacy Systems (Database Implementation) describes using database such as Microsoft Access to import data from databases, spreadsheets, and text files; and, Information Retrieval deals with translating information requirements into executable queries. (Geerts & Tam, p.141-142)

This article provides a visual layout of the table used to record data by means of the Microsoft Excel program. If the proper objectives for the accounting information system are developed and followed precisely then proper accounting steps will result in fewer errors, and shorter preparation time for invoices. (Geerts & Tam, 2008) The type of data gathered is the easing of storing information under the appropriate fields without duplication or error on the person imputing the information.

The findings include an improved database system. This article was helpful because it provided objectives that would have to be considered when developing and implementing the electronic database system. It emphasized the need to set up efficient ways to import date from many resources and showed how to analyze what the results needs are as part of the questionnaire design stage. Additionally, it provided a visual layout of Microsoft Excel files which helps to understand how to proceed with the developing of the centralized electronic logging system.

Economic Data Base Systems: Some Reflections on the State of the Art

Charles G. Renfro provides the theoretical framework of economic data base systems whose development began in the 1960’s. Relevant information about the economic data base systems, the positive and negative connotations and what is needed for the successful implementation of the system are also included in this article.

The hypothesis of this article is if the development of intercommunication capabilities is performed earlier rather than later in its developmental stage then the system will be effective and efficient providers of data. The type of data and findings are supportive of the hypothesis and vice versa. Renfro indicates that the cost effectiveness of ironing out the deficiencies, the ability to provide users with correct and detailed information and the avoidance of duplication of information are issues that must be dealt with fully and initially rather than at the end stage. (Renfro, 1980)

This article touches of several factors that will be under consideration when developing, implementing and managing the centralized electronic logging system. For example, “the database should contain data that are objectively recognizable…and the software should allow the suitable manipulation of these data…” (Renfro, p.124) Although this article deals with economic tendencies, a lot of parallels can be drawn from the article with regard to the proposed electronic database logging system to be developed, implemented and managed by the NYCDDC’s OCON Unit. An example of this is the need for easily understood categories to delineate the findings of my questionnaires. It also speaks to the need for subgroups of information under some categories and how to cull them out during the data analysis stage.

Using Logic Programming to Facilitate Qualitative Data Analysis.

This article deals with qualitative research and how best for a researcher to organize pertinent information into manageable units by means of organizing such data within dedicated search terminologies.

Anne Shelly and Ernest Silbert list three key characteristics of qualitative methodology: analysis is an inductive thought process which begins with concrete observational data and moves to abstract representations of the phenomena described by that data; record-keeping involves documenting an evolving process; i.e., an analysis process that is rigorous and systematic, but, unspecified in terms of predetermined, sequential procedures; and, documentation of the methodology as it is used to develop substantive conclusions is integral to the analysis process; it should describe methodological procedures that are detailed , identifiable, and tied to the evolving abstraction at all stages of analysis.” (Shelly & Silbert, p.145-146)

If the most efficient system is developed then factors of qualitative research, such as, analyzing and storing data can be properly recorded for future use by the appropriate entities. (Shelly & Silbert, 1986) The type of data and the findings includes that while the objective above are based on mechanized deductive reasoning, the author of the information still retains control of the information that is input. That is because although the input is labeled with code words which makes it easier when retrieving information, the author still can manipulate the information on where to place it and how many times and places to put the information.

This article will be helpful because it depicts ways on how to code the information that will be input. This will make easy accessible information readily available without having to search through the entire database for a particular inquiry. It will be necessary when designing the questionnaire to determine and include what follow-up questions might be necessary in some interviews in order to get information what fits into the predetermined inquiry /complaint categories.

Production, Distribution and Use of Data: an Editorial.

This article deals with providing and interpreting the data stored as a journal to the end users. It also touches on specific categories such as data production – “acquiring observation for statistical purposes,” data distribution –deals with the “point of view of the data producer, the distributor, or the final user…” and data use – “… as the basis for policy decisions.” (Renfro, p.298-300)

The hypothesis is that if journals are implemented as a form of information database collection system, then it will reflect the interests and needs of regular readers and contributors. The data collected and the findings of this article are closely related to subheading by which future journals will be evaluated. (Renfro, 1980) This article provides details on how to proceed in storing information. Although it notes that the persons who are interested in the data are separated into different roles such as producers, distributors and users, the CWLs can be all of the above entities and can best utilized show this at the NYCDDC’s quarterly meetings.

On The Development Of A Comprehensive Public Data Base For Aggregate State And Local Economic Data.

This article deals with problems encountered by users: the maintenance involved in safekeeping data collected and storing the logging systems with regards to them being kept in an up-to-date system. It deals with developing banks and how to go about labeling them by codes, how to separate them and how they can further be manipulated to better suit the end users. It focuses on large scale data bases and describes the structural characteristics, such as the size that must be resolved so that it is useful for the end users.

The hypothesis of the paper is if the creation of data base is more than gathering and storing information then a several design issues must be resolved first before implementation. The type of data and finding of this article relates to the fundamental aspects of organization. A number of information can be gathered and stored, but, for the user, although, he/she may be aware of area of interest, the amount of information available may not be known. Partitioning the information into various groups is essential for a uniform manner of storing the available information. (Renfro, 1979)

Renfro stated that “in order to encourage maximum use of the system. It has to be designed for people who may not have had prior computer experience and who technical background could range from little or none to considerable.” (Renfro, p.3) With that in mind, this article helps to guide me in developing a system that will not be difficult to understand by anyone and can subsequently be utilized by anyone. It also points toward the need for this to be an ion-going analysis so date must be stored in a fashion that it can be retrieved in future formats useful to expanded research.

Qualitative Computing: Approaches and Issues

This article speaks of the three approaches when using computers for qualitative analysis. According to Brent, the first approach, “represent data as words or texts…the second approach, “represent data as things using data base management programs.” The third approach “represent knowledge as concepts and uses techniques developed in artificial intelligence research on knowledge-based systems.” (Edwards, p.34) It also lists the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.

The hypothesis of this article is if computer applications are used in qualitative analysis then the information gathered and provided will be practical and useful for all users. The type of data collected and the findings have to do with the advantages and disadvantages of the abovementioned three approached. (Edwards, 1984) For example, in the first approach – the non-computerized processes are cost effective, and require no computer skills because it is manual logging of information. The disadvantage for this is this process is time consuming and does not stored easily or well, among other such factors.

This article will assist with the drafting of the logging system and how the categories fall under the three approaches. Using the categories: Recording, Storage, Concept Formation and Typology Construction, Classification, Query/Retrieval and Summarization will better enhance what information should be placed where. With the advantages and disadvantages listed I will be able to compile them and ensure that all are addressed when developing the questionnaire and implementing the data into the centralized electronic logging system.

The six articles utilized for the literature review offer an array of key insights which will provide essential guidance when incorporating the steps in developing, implementing and analyzing the proposed pilot project. For example, although there are several programs that can be utilized regarding this hypothesis, emphasis must be given on a program that is uncomplicated to use by all parties. Categories is another essential factor in this scenario and from the articles utilized in the literature review, it is noted that clear and concise categories must be labeled for expediency in retrieval of information among other uses.

Another important characteristic is the need for maintenance of the centralized electronic logging system and ensure that the information logged into the system cannot be manipulated by anyone. If changes are to be made, it must be done by the appropriate parties. These are just a few factors that will be employed when developing, implementing and assessing the hypothesis of the centralized electronic logging system.

Methodology: Research Plan To Document The Need

There are many factors that are into consideration when a stated hypothesis is to be tested. Aside from the hypothesis statement itself, the researcher must ensure the independent and dependent variables are intricately linked to support each other, thereby developing a workable research design. The reason for this is to facilitate the gathering of the empirical data necessary to justify a chosen testing methodology that is both comprehensive and efficient and that will ensure measurable results.

Description Of The Plan

The description of the plan is to gather the type of information required to support the need of this hypothesis. This process begins by selecting a test pilot area. In this case the area is the Borough of Brooklyn. A consensus among the agency units, such as the Design, Program Management Bridge and Retaining Wall, etc. concerning the ways in which they all would benefit from having readily accessible information on community inquiries by means of a centralized electronic logging system.

The selected personnel will be contacted via telephone first to request their participation in partaking in a structured survey. Each respondent will be read the following information: this structured survey is in regards to the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division’s efforts to effectively log community inquiries during construction projects. This structured survey requests your input for a proposed centralized electronic logging system developed, implemented and managed by the NYCDDC’s Office of Community Outreach and Notification Unit (NYCDDC-OCON) for the Infrastructure Division.

The proposed system will be designed to generate a consistently updated report of easily accessible information regarding community inquires concerning different types of projects and project affects, such as noise, water shutoffs, housekeeping, and so forth, on past and current projects. The report will supply a host of background information to proposed projects with the intended result of either significantly lessening or alleviating a host of common complaints or supplying information so that the public is thoroughly informed of the possibility of unavoidable negative impacts.

If the respondent chose to partake in the survey, he/she will personally be given a survey form containing the survey statements by the proponent of the proposed pilot project. Respondents will be given a week to complete the survey. They will be asked to return the survey by placing it face side down in a specified area of the proponent’s desk. Each survey will be returned with no indication of the name of the survey taker. This process provides for unbiased reporting of the data.

Research Questions And Hypothesis

The research statements for a research paper must reflect the subject to be researched using empirical data. Also, the gathering of such empirical data must validate the hypothesis. Figure 3-The Survey Form lists the nine statements used to support the need of the hypothesis. (See Appendix for full listing of statements).

These statements include:

1) The New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division currently possesses a uniform logging system for community inquiries for construction projects;

2) Developing, implementing, and managing a centralized electronic logging system of all community inquiries during current construction projects managed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division will result in better projections of community impacts in those same or similar communities in the future when other construction projects need to be performed in the area;

3) A centralized electronic logging system of all community inquiries for construction projects managed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division would best be managed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s Office of Community Outreach and Notification Unit (NYCDDC-OCON) in order to provide an unbiased and accurate accounting and analysis of such inquiries; and,

4) A centralized electronic logging system of all community inquiries of construction projects managed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division will substantially increase the ability of the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) to successfully meet the needs and concerns –proactively and reactively—of affected communities during construction projects, and so forth.

The purpose of each statement chosen is to demonstrate whether or not there is a consistent process in place for logging community inquiries; if it will be beneficial to have a centralized electronic logging system of community inquiries that are received by construction projects managed by the NYCDDC Infrastructure Division; the negative effects of not having the proposed logging system; and, the positive effects of having the proposed logging system implemented into the agency’s infrastructure.

The purpose of having the nine statements in the order they are, is to indicate the present or current status of the community inquiry logging system, the implementation of a centralized electronic logging system of community inquiries and the future benefits of possessing such a project within the agency’s infrastructure. In short, the past, present and future combined.

The hypothesis is, “If a centralized electronic logging system for the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division is developed, implemented, and managed through the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Office of Community Outreach and Notification Unit (NYCDDC-OCON), then the results will be a consistently updated, categorized report of easily accessible information regarding community inquires commonly called into all of the different types of projects concerning a cross section of project affects, such as noise, water shutoffs, housekeeping, and so forth, on previous and current projects. The resulting report will supply background information to proposed projects in the planning stages with the possible outcome of significantly lessening or alleviating a host of common complaints.”

Research Design

The research design I will use is a cross-sectional design. The characteristics of this design: collecting data over a finite period of time from a specified group of people is essential to confirming the hypothesis and delineating why it is necessary. Empirical data will be gathered from the agency personnel first by telephone calls informing and confirming their participation in the survey and then in person with the distribution of the survey form. This will ensure that the information gathered is unbiased and consistent.

The research design is also a structured survey of nine statements pertaining to the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division’s current logging system, the benefits of having a centralized electronic logging system of the community inquiries which will be developed and distributed to 12 agency personnel of different units, such as Design, Construction, and OCON. Respondents will have a choice of a rating system with five choices: strongly agree; agree; neutral, disagree; and, strongly disagree. A table consisting of two main columns with the heading of “Survey” and “Rating” and nine rows will make up the format. Under the “Rating” column, each row is divided with five additional columns to facilitate the rating choice. Each of the nine rows contains one statement and the five rating choices.

The respondents in the sample will be chosen based on their professional position within the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC). All respondents provide services within one of several units of the Infrastructure Division: Management, Community Outreach and Notification, Design, Construction, Program Management, and Bridge and Retaining Wall Units. There were two females and 10 males.

The following is a breakdown of the respondents and the positions the respondents currently hold and what unit they work with. Two respondents were from Middle Management: one respondent is the Deputy Commissioner and one respondent is the Assistant Commissioner; four respondents from the OCON: one respondent is the Director, one respondent is the Deputy Director, and two respondents are City Wide Liaisons. One respondent is an Engineer-In-Charge in the Design Unit; Program Management had one respondent and is the Deputy Director; The Construction Unit had three respondents: one respondent is an Assistant Commissioner, one respondent is a Deputy Borough Director and one respondent is an Engineer-In-Charge. Lastly, one respondent is a Director in the Bridge and Retaining Wall Unit.

Data Analysis: Findings

Presentation, Discussion Of Data Gathered

Below is an analysis of the survey questions with respect to the respondents’ answers about the current New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division’s community inquiry logging system. Quantitative analyses are also provided for each question which provides support for the need for the proposed pilot project. (See Appendix for quantitative data analyses of Tables 1 thru 9).

Statement 1- The New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division currently possesses a uniform logging system for community inquiries for construction projects.

According to Table 1, one respondent strongly agreed that the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division currently possesses a uniform logging system for community inquiries for construction projects. However, 11 respondents: six disagreed and five strongly disagreed shared a different view.

An analysis of the quantitative data gathered, while only eight percent strongly agreed that there is currently a uniform logging system in existence, ninety-nine percent either disagreed or strongly disagreed: fifty percent and forty-two percent respectively. With the majority of respondents in agreement that a uniform logging system does not currently exist clearly indicates a need for the creation of a uniform system.

Statement 2 - The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division’s current logging system of community inquiries provides useful information about construction issues affecting communities during construction projects.

According to Table 2, two respondents were in agreement, two were neutral, four disagreed and four strongly disagreed that the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division current logging system of community inquiries provides useful information about construction issues affecting communities during construction projects.

An analysis of the quantitative data gathered indicates disagreement in how respondents felt about this issue. According to the quantitative analysis, seventeen percent agreed that the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division current logging system of community inquiries provides useful information about construction issues affecting communities during construction projects, seventeen percent respondents were neutral, and an equal amount of respondents, sixty percent either disagreed (thirty-three percent) or strongly disagreed (thirty-three percent).

While there is a difference of opinion from the respondents, it is obvious that with sixty-six percent either in disagreement or strongly disagreeing with the statement, it supports the need to have a centralized electronic logging system implemented at the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division to ensure that the disagreement in the respondents’ opinion are resolved.

Statement 3 - The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division’s various units are fully aware of a wide range of common community inquiries during construction projects.

According to Table 3, one respondent was neutral while the majority of respondents either disagreed or strongly disagreed that the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division’s various units are aware of common community inquiries during construction projects.

Analysis of the data gathered indicates that the several respondents are in agreement that general knowledge is not shared within the various units in the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division. Almost ninety-two percent either disagreed (forty-two percent) or strongly disagreed (fifty percent) about common knowledge of common community inquiries. While only eight percent of respondent was neutral, these quantitative analyses indicate that with the implementation of the pilot project, the various units will have the ability to reach agreement about common community inquiries during construction projects.

Statement 4 - Developing, implementing, and managing a centralized electronic logging system of all community inquiries during current construction projects managed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division will result in better projections of community impacts in those same or similar communities in the future when other construction projects need to be performed in the area.

According to Table 4, the need for the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division possessing a centralized electronic logging system for community inquiries with nine respondents strongly agreeing and three respondents agreeing as a highly regarded and needed improvement for the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division.

An analysis of the data gathered indicates a one hundred percent of respondents either strongly agreeing (seventy-five percent) or agreeing (twenty-five percent). This is a clear indication of the perception that there is a definite need for the system for the NYCDDC.

Statement 5 – The implementation of a centralized electronic logging system will add a readily accessible and significant statistical dimension to the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division’s various units resulting in better project planning modalities during the design phase based on a better understanding of common community concerns during construction projects.

According to Table 5, all respondents are in agreement, nine strongly agreeing and three agreeing that the benefit of having readily accessible information is a positive one. Respondents seem to agree that the system will provide a basis for in better planning by providing a better understanding of common community concerns during construction projects clearly supported by qualitative and quantitative data.

An analysis of the quantitative data gathered, illustrates one hundred percent of respondents either strongly agreeing (seventy-five percent) or agreeing (t percent). This is a clear indication of the proposed pilot project being a welcome commodity that will be utilized by the units of the NYCDDC.

Statement 6 – A centralized electronic logging system of all community inquiries for construction projects managed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division would best be managed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s Office of Community Outreach and Notification Unit (NYCDDC-OCON) in order to provide an unbiased and accurate accounting and analysis of such inquiries.

According to Table 6, all respondents eight strongly agree and four agreeing that the NYCDDC – Infrastructure Division’s OCON Unit is a capable and able unit to carry out the task of managing the proposed pilot project.

An analysis of the data gathered, illustrates one hundred percent of respondents either strongly agreeing (sixty-seven percent) or agreeing (thirty-three percent). This is a clear indication of the respondents’ views that unbiased and accurate information will be complied and available from the NYCDDC – Infrastructure Division’s OCON Unit.

Statement 7 – A centralized electronic logging system of all community inquiries received as a result of construction projects managed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division will result in a measurable positive public image of the New York City Department of Design and Construction once community inquiries (from knowledge gained through analysis of past concerns from the system) are taken into consideration prior to construction commencing.

According to Table 7, five respondents strongly agree, six respondents agree and one respondent stated neutral in regards to the image NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division being measureable.

This analysis of the quantitative data indicates that forty-two percent as strongly agreeing, fifty percent agrees and eight percent is neutral. This clearly shows that almost all respondents expect that the agency’s image will be measureable improved when common issues are addressed prior to the commencement of construction projects.

Statement 8 – A centralized electronic logging system of all community inquiries of construction projects managed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division will substantially increase the ability of the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) to successfully meet the needs and concerns–proactively and reactively—of affected communities during construction projects.

According to Table 8, six respondents strongly agree, five respondents agree and one respondent stayed neutral in regards to the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division’s ability to utilize the data when gathered more efficiently to address common inquiries of construction projects.

This analysis of the quantitative data illustrates fifty percent as strongly agreeing, forty-two percent agreeing and eight percent being neutral indicates that almost all respondents are certain that the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division will meet the needs and concerns of the affected communities during construction projects in advance of any inquiries received by the Project Field Office because of the proposed logging system.

Statement 9 – A centralized electronic logging system of community inquiries of construction projects managed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division will become a helpful multi-use tool for municipal planners when studying potential construction projects and their anticipated impact on different types of communities (residential, commercial, industrial).

According to Figure 9, seven respondents strongly agree, four respondents agree and one respondent stated neutral in regards to the proposed pilot project being used in additional capacities.

Since the NYCDDC is a city agency and collaborates with several entities, this analysis of the quantitative data illustrates fifty-nine percent as strongly agreeing, thirty-three percent agreeing and eight percent being neutral indicates a consensus that the proposed pilot project will be useful for DDC when collaborating with outside organizations with which the NYCDDC works.

Preliminary Conclusions and Implications

It is evident from the responses to the survey of 12 of New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure personnel from various units, including, OCON, Management, Design and Program Management, that the proposed log is an essential and needed commodity; a commodity that will benefit the agency.

Responding to Statement 1 of the Survey which states that, ‘The New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division currently possesses a uniform logging system for community inquiries for construction projects, almost all respondents, 11 out of 12 or ninety-two percent of respondents indicated that a uniform system of logging community inquiries does not exist at the agency.

Strong support for the proposed pilot project is indicated by the results of Statement 5 that suggests that the implementation of a centralized electronic logging system will add a readily accessible and significant statistical dimension to the agency’s Infrastructure Division’s various units resulting in better project planning modalities during the design phase based on a better understanding of common community concerns during construction projects. All the respondents were in agreement of this statement with fifty percent strongly agreeing and forty-two percent agreeing.

Statement 8 which suggests that a centralized electronic logging system of all community inquiries of construction projects managed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division will substantially increase the ability of the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) to successfully meet the needs and concerns–proactively and reactively—of affected communities during construction projects, was met will a response by the majority of respondents, 11 of 12 respondents or ninety-two percent saying it will benefit the agency.

It is evident that there needs to be accountability and a proactive general response built into the way the community inquiries that are received and addressed from active construction projects so that the same issues are not constantly being dealt with all the time. The results of the survey seem to clearly indicate that if the proposed pilot project of a centralized electronic logging system for the agency’s Infrastructure Division is developed, implemented, and managed through the NYCDDC’s Office of Community Outreach and Notification Unit (NYCDDC-OCON), then the results will be a consistently updated report of easily accessible information detailing and classifying the myriad of past and current community inquires based on the type of construction project and the various project affects, such as noise, water shutoffs, housekeeping, and parking issues and how they were successfully addressed.

The report will supply useful, reliable and clear background information conveniently available for construction planners to review when mapping out proposed projects with the probable result of significantly lessening or alleviating a host of common complaints even before the project begins.

Conclusion

To reiterate, the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) has been in existence for twelve plus years serving the five boroughs of New York City. And, within the term of its life, the agency’s mission remained as it was from the beginning. While improving the infrastructure of the City of New York, the agency receives a long list of common community questions and complaints such as what is the project’s proposed duration, how will it affect accessibility to sidewalk and curbside parking, and will there be the need for water service interruptions.

Although these and many other questions almost always come as a result of certain types of construction projects in certain areas, there has never been a central repository of those questions much less a centralized database system as a part of NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division to log these inquiries. Manual logging the inquiries are performed by various departments within the agency; and when occurring at the field office level, these inquiries get archived with the project files. This does not benefit the agency as a whole and sets up no mechanism for comprehensive analysis.

In addition, there is a lack of a dedicated agency unit that can be tasked with this matter. However, since the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division OCON Unit is already responsible for the management of CCLs’ assigned to major projects, fulfillment of this task already has many of the necessary components in place in order to act as a model for the proposed pilot project. This proposed pilot project will focus on providing unbiased reporting and updating of the database, accountability through active oversight, and the ability to detail what are commonly the questions, complaints and the needs of the patrons of the City of New York who are undergoing construction in their area.

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!” (Unknown)

Planning

The success of any organization is based on the combination of several key factors contributing their unique characteristics and elements. Key factors include - good management, inspirational leadership, proper service-orientation and economic stability. Each factor has contributing key elements, for example, in management they are adequate detailed planning, strategic organization, appropriate staffing, good leadership skills, and consistent oversight and control.

This section of the paper will present a brief overview on the subject of management. It will look at available information on one of the elements of management - planning and its characteristics. It will also provide an assessment of the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) planning style. In addition, my personal planning preference will also be discussed.

Management is defined by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary as, “the conducting or supervising of something (as a business or people).” (Management) Management is not a new phenomenon; rather, according to Greenberg and Baron, the theoretical framework of management includes: scientific management, which sought ways to change the ineptitudes of employees; the human relations movement “emphasized the social conditions existing in organizations-the way employees are treated by management and the relationships they have with each other – influence job performance;” and, bureaucracy, which is governed by a “set of applied rules that keep higher-ranking organization officials in charge of lower-ranking workers, who fulfill the duties assigned to them.” (Greenberg and Baron, 2008. p.12-14). These three facets, in their infrastructure consist of elements that are then utilized in the structure of an organization to conduct the daily operations. This is considered planning.

Management is one of the essential keys to an organization’s success. In addition, the elements of management -- planning, organizing, leading, staffing, controlling and the execution of these elements that determine the success or failure of the daily operation of an organization and of the organization in itself. Planning, as defined by Petrick and Quinn (1997) is “the intended, coordinated, emergent, and realized pattern of integrated, multidimensional decision process and actions that provide organizational direction and prioritize objectives.” (p.129) In addition, in the article, Three Types of Management Planning: Making Organizations Work, Archie B. Carroll states that planning within an organization is a process that involves, “an assessment of the organization, its resources, and its environment, and encompasses the setting of objectives. Using assessment and evaluation as instruments, comprehensive planning entails objectively looking at the past and the present to develop and implement an overall the focus for the future. (Carroll, 1993)

Carroll proceeds to note why planning is so necessary, “

“There is abundant evidence that planning is the most prominent and pervasive of the management functions or processes. Planning is prominent because of the evidence of failure in organizations traceable to poor planning or preparation for the future on management's part. Planning is pervasive in that it cuts through all management functions and is a function that is applicable to all managerial levels. It cuts through the other management functions of organizing, controlling, staffing, directing, and decision making in the sense that it is a vital and necessary component of each of these processes. That is, managers must plan for each of the other functions. Planning is applicable to every managerial level because managerial action and decision making, whether at the chief executive's level or at the first-line supervisor's level, should ideally be predicated upon preliminary thought and anticipation of problems, or details that invariably come into play in the process of making organizations work.” (Carroll, 1993)

Supporting Carroll’s statements on planning, Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC., defines planning as, “…identifying where you want to go, why you want to go there, how you will get there, what you need in order to get there and how you will know if you're there or not.” (McNamara, 2008 Adapted from the Field Guide to Nonprofit Strategic Planning and Facilitation and Field Guide to Nonprofit Program Design, Marketing and Evaluation).

There are three common types of planning includes: strategic planning, marketing planning and operational planning. Strategic Planning encompasses:

“bringing the entire community together working toward the same future vision of success in the context of its core values. A Strategic Plan is a framework for strategic thinking that helps a school [organization] stay competitive, live into its core values, ward off threats and take advantage of opportunities. It involves inclusivity, accountability, shared responsibility, evaluation and institutionalization.” (Center for Strategic Planning, 2001)

Marketing Planning can be defined as:

“a management tool to create a system that will help the school [organization] analyze, plan and deliver products and services that meet the needs of its various target markets; lead with its strengths; and create an identity that differentiates it from competitors. Marketing planning is a framework for a way of thinking that focuses on creating desired exchanges with target audiences order to obtain for the school [organization] its desired outcomes. It involves organic, flexible, short planning horizons; in schools [organizations], marketing plans are best implemented “by the project” and managed by project teams.” (Center for Strategic Planning, 2001)

Operational planning involves incorporating “the vision and mission of the school [organization] through specific work plans that lead to shared responsibility and accountability and fulfillment of specific planning goals. It is the teeth of strategic plans.” (Center for Strategic Planning, 2001)

The analysis of the three types of planning provides a varying degree of how an organization can with careful utilization of this operation achieve success.

Managers are endowed with many responsibilities in order to effectively lead their staffs. These include enhancing and improving the employee morale, managing staff without biases, ensuring that staff members work according to their tasks and standards so that the result is increased productivity, efficiency and quality output. However, in order for an individual to become a good manager he/she must include careful planning.

After reviewing the characteristics of strategic, marketing and operational planning, I believe the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) employs a combination of the three types of planning. For example, strategic planning involves the inclusiveness of the labor force working to achieve the mission of the NYCDDC. Taking the Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming (DBTC) Project as an example, several units within the agency – design/ program management/ the OCON, etc., work cohesively to ensure that the project is progressing without problems.

Marketing planning involves advertising, selling, or projecting the services of the agency in a favorable light so that the clients and customers are pleased; this element is evident in the public outreach the agency does prior to the commencement and during the course of the project. Such outreach activities involve project meetings with affected stakeholders – elected officials, community boards, residents, businesses and community leaders and the distribution of public information materials including project brochures, newsletters, advisories and so forth. Operational planning involves strict accountability, shared responsibility and a common goal of realizing the agency’s mission; this facet correlates with strategic planning and its characteristics. (Center for Strategic Planning, 2001)

There are limitations associated with the three types of planning. One such limitation, according to the analysis, is the time period often associated with the types of planning. Strategic planning typically has a time period of three to five years; marketing planning, a period of three months to one year; and operational planning, a period of one year. (Center for Strategic Planning, 2001) Once again, using the DBTC Project, although the usual time period of a project is approximately two years, that time period only reflects the time during the construction phase, and does not include the design, acquisition (if needed), bidding phases and post construction (work activity) periods.

For example, the DBTC Project design phase began in April 2001, construction phase began in January 2009 and post construction period can usually last for upwards to a year in some cases.. So realistically, the time period associated with the various planning styles will not be effective, efficient and feasible for an agency such as the NYCDDC since its work is performed in longer periods. The NYCDDC would have to bypass the time periods associated with the three types of planning and proceed with whatever time period is needed to complete a project from commencement to completion.

An assessment of the tasks and standards associated with my professional title of Citywide Liaison (CWL), indicate the need to utilize a mixture of the three types of planning. For the most part, the services provided by OCON are required when a project is nearing the bidding project, which is when potential project contractors bid to perform the work operations associated with the project. Regarding strategic planning - most construction projects last for approximately two years, so the public outreach program begins planning prior to the commencement of the project and continue until its conclusion. Marketing planning is essential because the public information materials, such as project brochures, notices, newsletters produced - OCON must reach the largest portion of affected parties. Additionally, operational planning must be included since it sets forth the agency’s missions, objectives and goals as the focus of the organization and the staff is held accountable for their tasks and the standards associated with each professional title.

The drawbacks associated with planning which affects the daily operations of the NYCDDC are similar to the drawbacks that can affect my ability to strategically utilize planning. A main concern is time periods which are long term. Another concern is the basic characteristic of a particular project can create and contribute to unnecessary disarray. One such characteristic is receiving several inquiries from the same caller without allowing a feasible time period to first deal with the issue.

Although timing is essential, implementation of a public outreach program can in many cases require more involvement by members including the Director, the Deputy Director and so forth from the OCON unit than was anticipated. The designated time period associated with strategic planning is approximately three to five years (Center for Strategic Planning, 2001) and most projects usually last for approximately two years. Therefore, the coordination necessary among the various members assigned to the project team requires strategic planning.

Next, marketing planning is essential because public information materials, such as project brochures, notices, and newsletters produced by the NYCDDC’s OCON Unit to inform the affected community need to be timely, relevant and proactive throughout the project. Therefore, the development of only general project materials can fall into the time period of three years. All others are developed on an “as needed” basis. Operational planning’s time period of one year is not feasible since most projects last at least two years during the construction phase.

In conclusion, good management is essential for the day-to-day operation of an agency. Good planning is the key element that ensures management is effective and efficient. I have provided information on management, the three organizational structures: scientific management or division of labor; human relations movement; and, the bureaucratic method. Further analysis looked at the concept of management and the associated three types of planning. It was noted how the positive and negative attributes of the three types of planning can be found both with the NYCDDC in general and my job responsibilities specifically. In my position I realize that there are times when one style of planning may be more effective than another depending on the specifics of a particular project.

Review/Restatement of the Need

When an organization realizes it is not meeting its goals, it often discovers that various needs are not being met. It is not always easy to backtrack from the unmet goal to the source of the problems and then determine how to approach them. The best method to determine the source of the problems is to perform a need assessment. After all pertinent unmet needs have been identified it is necessary to follow up with a second phase that entails the review and restatement of the needs in order to develop a clear, concise plan which will act as the pathway to satisfying that need(s) with appropriate actions.

The first phase is the needs assessment. This phase pinpoints what needs are unmet based on an in-depth analysis of the organization in question. This analysis is broken down into separate sections including: a review of the organization’s history and management philosophy and mission; an analysis of the interaction of its internal and external systems and its target service area; the identification of all of the services provided; an audit of the materials used to represent the organization, survey of its served and unserved market.

This is followed by the development of a prioritized listing of unmet needs based on input from representatives of all areas of the organization (sometimes including past and present employees) as well as those currently served by the organization. Once this listing has been developed, overlaps can be identified. The organization leaders can then determine which needs and in what order should be addressed.

At this point a literature review often helps to point out previously explored directions and methodologies used to address similar needs. Now a cogent, detailed draft plan should be written and reviewed by representatives of the key areas of the organization. This input will help search out problems during the planning stage as well as give each department a sense of ownership in the final plan.

The second stage further delineates the particulars of the need(s) and sets up a plan to address them. In this part of the Constructive Action Paper, a restatement will be issued based on the findings of the needs assessment’s data analysis along with a brief overview of the pilot project in which a description of the 1) rationale, 2) goals, 3) expected outcomes and, 4) projected long term implications will be provided.

Review Of Need For Construction Action

“If a centralized electronic logging system for the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division is developed, implemented, and managed through the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC)Office of Community Outreach and Notification Unit (NYCDDC-OCON), then the results will be a consistently updated, categorized report of easily accessible information regarding community inquires commonly called into all of the different types of projects concerning a cross section of project affects, such as noise, water shutoffs, housekeeping, and so forth, on previous and current projects. The resulting report will supply background information to proposed projects in the planning stages with the possible outcome of significantly lessening or alleviating a host of common complaints.”

Rational

It is apparent from the responses to a survey questionnaire by 12 respondents from a cross section of the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure personnel that the proposed centralized electronic logging system would be an essential and beneficial addition to the planning process. The proposed reporting system would benefit the agency because it will provide a consistently updated, categorized report of easily accessible pertinent information providing any proposed project in any particular area of the city with an advanced forecast of how the community will most likely react to the project.

Evidence to support this claim can be found in the analysis of the nine statements of the survey. The analysis clearly shows that respondents (surveyed from the various units such as the Office of Community Outreach and Notification (OCON), Management, Design and Program Management) acknowledge the need and the benefit of the implementation of the hypothesis. In Statement One, 11 out of 12 respondents or ninety-two percent attested that a uniform logging system does not currently exist and clearly recognized the need for the creation of a uniform system. An analysis of Statement 4:

“Developing, implementing, and managing a centralized electronic logging system of all community inquiries during current construction projects managed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division will result in better projections of community impacts in those same or similar communities in the future when other construction projects need to be performed in the area” shows one hundred percent of respondents either strongly agreeing or agreeing. This further supports the hypothesis that there is a definite need for the system in the NYCDDC. Statement 5: “The implementation of a centralized electronic logging system will add a readily accessible and significant statistical dimension to the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division’s various units resulting in better project planning modalities during the design phase based on a better understanding of common community concerns during construction projects” resulted in all respondents agreeing that the benefit of having readily accessible information is a positive one. An overall analysis of the quantitative data gathered provides a strong indication that the proposed pilot project will be a welcome addition to the planning process and will be utilized by all the units of the NYCDDC.

An analysis of the three statements above indicate that the affects of the communities during a construction project, such as, noise, water shutoffs, poor housekeeping, dirt, rodent infestations, loss of parking and street/sidewalk access among other things provides such units as design and construction better knowledge on how to plan around the effects. When the report is generated prior to a project commencing, it will supply background information to proposed projects in the planning stages. This will significantly lessen or alleviate the source of a host of common complaints.

Goals

Some of the objectives intended and dedicated to the need (goal) are: 1) to uniformly log all community inquiries during active construction projects; 2) to ultimately provide and enhance the agency’s capability to understand the nature of the problems associated with the agency’s many projects; 3) to provide necessary information on what the affected parties are routinely most concerned about; and, 4) to gather information that can provide a better understanding of what types of problems certain individual areas encounter.

For example, if the residents of an area are primarily retirees and elders who live in a retirement village and rely on “Access-A-Ride” for transportation, that fact must be taken into consideration while a project is in the design phase. If a street has to be temporarily closed to vehicular traffic to facilitate certain work operations such as the replacement of water main, distribution and sewer lines, consideration must be given to the possibly of only closing the street in sections in order to prevent the elderly residents of the block from having to walk a good distance to get to their transportation.

Expected Outcome

The expected outcome of the analysis is to provide the agency with a long term, essential tool that will enable it to categorize and log all inquiries during active construction projects within the five NYC boroughs, to utilize that information to provide better planning for upcoming projects and to minimize the construction effects on the communities the agency serves.

Projected Long Term Implication

The long term implication of the need is directly associated and intricately linked with the rationale, goal and expected outcome. The long term implication can be summed up by the responses to Statement 5: “The implementation of a centralized electronic logging system will add a readily accessible and significant statistical dimension to the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division’s various units resulting in better project planning modalities during the design phase based on a better understanding of common community concerns during construction projects.”

Analysis of the reactions to this survey statement indicates that all respondents are in agreement that the benefit of having readily accessible, uniform and pertinent forecasting information is a positive one. Respondents unequivocally agree that the system will provide a solid basis for better planning by providing a comprehensive picture of common community concerns during different types of construction projects. This premise is clearly supported by qualitative and quantitative data.

Feasibility To Meet Need Based On Internal/External Resources/Constraints

An analysis of the quantitative data gathered from Statement 5: “The implementation of a centralized electronic logging system will add a readily accessible and significant statistical dimension to the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division’s various units resulting in better project planning modalities during the design phase based on a better understanding of common community concerns during construction projects,” illustrates a clear acceptance of the proposed project’s benefits and indicate it will be utilized by the units of the NYCDDC and therefore, meets a serious agency need..

In addition, input to this new “community concerns” report can be easily accessed from any number of internal resources including an array of skilled, learned, experienced, educated and seasoned professionals in various units as mentioned before. The NYCDDC already has in existence a dedicated unit (OCON) dealing with and handling all community outreach for construction projects that is staffed with borough wide Community Constructions Liaisons (CCLs). Another internal resource is the office computer program, Microsoft Access. The NYCDDC already has this program implemented into the agency’s computers’ hardware.

This program will provide the opportunity for the desired report to be as detailed in layout as needed and will facilitate the purpose of the proposed project through linkages. Some of the most important resources for sources of information and input will come from community residents, local elected officials, businesses, motorists, civic and community organizations and others. They will provide their reactions to construction situations directly to appropriate agency personnel – Engineers-In-Charge (EIC), Resident Engineers (RE), Citywide Liaisons (CWL), and Construction Community Liaisons (CCL).

Although the positive aspects, both internal and external, are evident, there are also internal and external restraints associated with the proposed pilot project. The proposed project will be a new endeavor for the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division and that means additional work will be required in oversight to ensure the proper information is logged under the proper inquiry heading for every entity involved with the management of the project.

It will also require additional time management by agency staff including the OCON and Construction Units, since receiving and updating the community logging system is critical and will need to be a routine task. Although the respondents of the survey indicate the need for the proposed pilot project, there is no telling if that would be the consensus of the additional 1,200 plus workers employed by the agency.

Another restraint involves the necessity for training the agency personnel on how to gather the information correctly, document and report it, and utilize the system so that all planning projects can benefit from the information provided. This will involve staff time and across the board cooperation in order to train the current and incoming employees about the use and updating of this additional resource provided by the agency for its personnel. Management will also have to determine which of the agency personnel will require this training and how often.

New commitments must be established with personnel on projects not staffed by CCLs since the Office Engineer (OE), RE and/or EIC will be responsible for correctly noting the inquiries and forwarding them in an appropriate timeframe and format to the OCON which will be responsible for the upkeep of the program. One major external restraint is the need for active participation by community residents, local elected officials, businesses, motorists, civic and community organizations. It will imperative that these constituents provide the correct information so it can be logged correctly under the appropriate categories.

This point in the Constructive Action provides a good analysis of whether the need to have the hypothesis in effect exists. What determines if the hypothesis and thesis come to fruition is based on the all the factors that have been discussed in the proposal thus far, including, the organization’s history, mission, goals and objectives, external and internal relationships, the survey that was performed and the analysis of the respondents answers.

In addition, restatement of the need will also help to determine if the hypothesis needs to be altered to better suit the needs of the organization’s mission. If at this point, all factors work in tandem and the hypothesis and thesis does not have to be altered, then the proposer can proceed with the plan of action and the additional steps needed to bring the hypothesis to fruition.

Plan of Action

The Plan of Action (POA) is a critical step in the implementation process of a proposed new project because the plan’s purpose is to detail how the proposal intends to fulfill the needs of the thesis. It also speaks of the mission, goals, objectives, strategies and rationale.

The goals of the proposed project are directly linked to the independent and dependent variables along with statements from the survey provided from feedback of several New York City Department of Design and Construction’s Infrastructure personnel.

The hypothesis of the proposed project is “If a centralized electronic logging system for the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division is developed, implemented, and managed through the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC)Office of Community Outreach and Notification Unit (NYCDDC-OCON), then the results will be a consistently updated, categorized report of easily accessible information regarding community inquires commonly called into all of the different types of projects concerning a cross section of project affects, such as noise, water shutoffs, housekeeping, and so forth, on previous and current projects. The resulting report will supply background information to proposed projects in the planning stages with the possible outcome of significantly lessening or alleviating a host of common complaints.”

At this point it is also important to restate the independent and dependent variable because they are imperative to the goals proposed project. The independent variable is the ‘centralized electronic logging system,’ and, the dependent variable is the ability to gather ‘readily accessible information regarding community inquiries on current projects from all inquiry units.’

There is one long term goal and several short term and long term objectives associated with the proposed project; and, with the establishment of the goal, other factors such as objective, strategies and completion dates have to analyzed and reported. Within each of the factors there are also additional facets that must be considered; for example, in the strategy analysis, elements such as personnel involved also have to be considered.

The plan of action module utilized is

Goal

The goal of this proposed project is to develop, implement and manage a centralized electronic logging system for the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Division for all community inquiries from different types of projects in different areas of New York City to better provide background information to future proposed projects in the design and planning phase with the possible result of proactively significantly lessening or alleviating a host of common complaints.

Objective

Objective I is to develop a centralized electronic logging system reflecting construction

Personnel

This objective involves several key personnel including: the Community Construction Liaison (CCL) for the project, the Citywide Liaisons (CWLs), the Deputy Director (DD) and Director of the OCON unit.

Strategies

The strategy for achieving this objective includes:

  1. The CWL, DD and Director of the OCON unit to determine how to designate, categorize and label the inquiries that are received at the field office.
  2. Many factors must be considered as a part of this process. Initial development of the centralized electronic logging system will continue as is – log the community inquiries utilizing MS Excel; however, the CCL will, under the direction of the CWL will begin to label the inquiries received by the project field office. For example, inquiries relating to housekeeping will be labeled ‘HK;’ inquiries relating to noise will be labeled ‘N;’ and so forth.
  3. The CWL will develop the electronic database utilizing MS Access.
  1. The first layer will be designated by the Borough of Brooklyn’s 18 Community Boards.
  2. The subsequent layers will be created to include: business, residents, and industrial;
  3. Further subsequent layers will be labeling the inquiries relating to the inquiries received by the project field office; Water will be ‘W,’ Housekeeping will be ‘HK,’ Noise will be ‘N,’ and so forth.

NOTE: The Borough of Brooklyn is the pilot test area and the Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Project (DBTC) is the pilot test project for which data on community inquiries will be collected. The DBTC project area has two Community Boards (2 & 6).

Completion Date

The completion date for this objective is approximately two weeks from conception. The short term anticipated completion date is July 18, 2009. However, since this is a new and evolving project adding data to the current operating system within and for the NYCDDC’s Infrastructure Unit, time is needed to implement whatever changes may be necessary to make this goal fully capable of being utilized by its users such as personnel within the design and program management units.

Objective II

Objective II is to ensure that the NYC Design and Construction (NYCDDC) Infrastructure Division’s various units are fully aware of a wide range of common community inquiries during construction projects.

Personnel

This objective involves several key personnel including: the Community Construction Liaison (CCL) for the project, the Citywide Liaisons (CWLs), and the various units of the agency including Construction, Program Management, etc.

Strategies

The strategy for achieving this objective requires the CCL to:

  1. Verbally inform the CWL of the inquiries received by the field office.

  2. CCL to log inquiries based on a uniform listing of possible issues from the various constituents based on a uniform listing (previously established in Objective I) of possible issues.

  3. CCL to verify with the CWL that the inquiries are logged correctly under the appropriate categories.

  4. CCL to provide CWL with logs for review and screening at least twice a month to ensure that inquiries are logged correctly and under the appropriate categories.

NOTE: The resulting compilation of data gathered will then be provided at the agency’s quarterly meetings or at least twice a year. This will enable the appropriate agency personnel from the Construction, OCON, Design and Management to reassess how best to implement construction activities for future projects whether within the same neighborhood in the future or within a neighborhood with similar characteristics, such as one that is heavily dependent on street parking.

Completion Date

The completion date to measure this objective is more long term rather than short term. However, preliminary information regarding the layout and number of community inquiries will be provided to the borough dedicated CWL, who will, in turn, provide this information to the OCON Unit’s Deputy Director and Director for presentation at the agency’s upcoming Brooklyn borough commitment plan meeting in September 2009. The purpose for this objective is to ensure that the data collected will assist the agency’s designers to avoid as many typical construction impacts as possible when developing new construction plans before a community receives upgrades to its infrastructure. Also, this will facilitate upper management with information regarding the consensus of affects that impact the communities currently undergoing improvements to properly understand why the design of future projects may be altered to accommodate the communities if feasible.

Objective III

Objective III is to ensure construction impacts are planned for and kept to a minimal during construction projects after typical community inquiries (from knowledge gained through analysis of past concerns from the system) are taken into consideration during and the planning stage and prior to construction commencing.

Personnel

This objective involves segments of the entire agency, from dedicated project personnel to upper management, more especially the OCON and Construction and Design units.

Strategies

The strategy for achieving this objective involves the OCON unit be responsible for ensuring the information is properly layered out, reported, categorized, managed, formatted and disseminated. Following through from Objectives I and II,

  1. The Project Designer will acquire the archived information and utilize it in conjunction with the design elements to best suit the Community Board in which a proposed construction project will occur.

  2. When a project is in construction, the project team, including the Resident Engineer, the Engineer-in-Charge ensures the impacts are kept to a minimum.

NOTE: Overall, going off the assumption that all aspects of a project from design to construction works in tandem and the concerns of the communities from prior projects are taken into consideration for current projects, then it is feasible to estimate the foresight of the agency to address community inquiries prior to construction will provide a positive image for the agency.

Completion Date

The completion date for this objective is long term, and ongoing because the NYCDDC will be managing several projects, all of a different nature, in the foreseeable future within the same Community Boards. Therefore, this information will need to be continually be updated.

Objective IV

Objective IV is to provide a helpful multi-use tool for municipal planners when studying potential construction projects and their anticipated impacts on different types of communities (residential, commercial, industrial).

Personnel

This objective involves the Community Construction Liaison (CCL) for the project, the Citywide Liaisons, the Deputy Director and Director of the OCON unit.

Strategies

The strategy for achieving this objective is attained from the strategies from Objectives I and II:

a) The CWL, DD and Director of the OCON unit to determine how to designate, categorize and label the inquiries that are received at the field office.

b) Many factors must be considered as a part of this process. Initial development of the centralized electronic logging system will continue as is – log the community inquiries utilizing MS Excel; however, the CCL will, under the direction of the CWL will begin to label the inquiries received by the project field office. For example, inquiries relating to housekeeping will be labeled ‘HK;’ inquiries relating to noise will be labeled ‘N;’ and so forth. c) The CWL will develop the electronic database utilizing MS Access.

a) The first layer will be designated by the Borough of Brooklyn’s 18 Community Boards.

b) The subsequent layers will be created to include: business, residents, and industrial;

c) Further subsequent layers will be labeling the inquiries relating to the inquiries received by the project field office; Water will be ‘W,’ Housekeeping will be ‘HK,’ Noise will be ‘N,’ and so forth.

NOTE: By having this information in a consistent format, it can more effectively be used when working with such agencies as the NYC Small Business Services to better provide outreach and programs to assist both large and small businesses in retaining their customers when affected by construction projects.

Completion Date

The completion date for this objective is long term, because the agency works with a multitude of outside and additional agencies and organizations. By taking a proactive stance rather than a reactive, wait and see, one, issues such as loss of finances, can be measured in terms of agency effectiveness when dealing with communities at large.

These are just four objectives noted as part of the proposed pilot project. The realistic time lines for the overall goal and its objectives are projected long term rather than short term because a construction project from commencement to completion takes years to reach fruition. Many projects must be incorporated in the data base to give a full picture of possible affects and outcomes to any given proposed project. The point of these goals is to help alleviate recurring community issues both on a personal or business level as much as possible.

Plan of Evaluation

Critical Logs

Every step in achieving implementation of a proposed project is important. One such step is the notation of how proponents of the proposed project documents his/her actions in bringing to fruition his/her proposed project. These documentation or critical logs offer unbiased reporting in the sense of that it provides a view into how the proponent goes about organizing or planning the steps to proceed with the project.

Constructive Action Log # 1

Date: Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Time: 12:00 P.M. -1:30 P.M.

Place: New York City Department of Design and Construction / Director of the Office of Community Outreach and Notification Office.

Participants: Student Researcher (SR) and Director of the NYCDDC’s OCON Unit.

Purpose: To discuss the overall planning and implementation stages of the proposed project: centralized electronic logging system.

Content Narrative: 

On the above-mentioned day, the SR informed the Director of the OCON unit that a meeting is necessary to discuss the overall planning and implementation stages of the proposed project: centralized electronic logging system.

The SR informed the Director that this discussion is to apprise the Director of the current status of the SR school status. It is also a follow-up to several informal conversations throughout the year. The SR noted that the first semester was over. He stated that the semester focused on preliminary research of the agency to discover a need which will benefit the overall agency. After an intensive analysis of the agency, it was determined that the SR chooses to proceed with the original concept of developing, implementing and managing a centralized electronic logging system from this point onward.

The purpose of the centralized electronic logging system has preliminarily began with the current construction project – the Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Project occurring in the Borough of Brooklyn. This project began in Fall 2008 and has a duration of approximately two years with an anticipated completion date of the summer of 2010. The purpose of the proposed project is to provide the agency’s various units with vital information by means of a constantly updated report of easily accessible and categorized information regarding community inquires from different types of construction projects and enumerating a number of project affects, such as noise, water shutoffs, housekeeping, and parking access. This information will be based on the inquiries received from previous and current projects and will supply background information to proposed projects in the design and planning phase with the projected result of proactively significantly lessening or alleviating a host of common complaints.

The SR informed the Director that this is the planning stage in the cycle of the proposed project. The SR informed the Director that she intends to speak with the Field Supervisor, the CCL and Engineer-In-Charge of the DBTC Project, and other pertinent agency staff to discuss the planning stage of the proposed project.

The SR informed the Director that their conversation today will be based on how to best proceed with the implementation delineation of the proposed pilot program. The SR informed the Director that much thought has been gone into the overall layout of the community logging inquiry database and changes will be occurring because this is a new program. The SR stated that since the Borough of Brooklyn is the test pilot area, the initial category should be divided into the 18 Community Boards that represents Brooklyn.

Subsequent categories should be added based on whether the inquiries received at the field office are residential, industrial or commercial and then further revised to show whether they come from direct impacts on the DBTC Project. The option of whether the project needs to record inquiries not related to the project has to be determined. It has been often noted that when people become aware of new construction, they tend to bring up unrelated community issues that cannot be directly linked to the project.

Analysis:

The Director of the OCON unit indicated her approval of the proposed plan offered by the SR not only because it complimented the SR’s educational goals, but, also it’s outcome could easily provide a positive result for the agency.. The Director stated that the project will be a informative learning process and will be ongoing since the agency has been in existence for 12 plus years without any consistency in the recording of what the typical community inquires were and without any consistency in how they were logged. The Director noted that the first achievement was in observing this major lack of resource in the agency’s infrastructure.

The Director noted that implementation of this project will be a major achievement for the agency overall because it will: (1) offer an enormous amount of pertinent information on how best to provide community outreach in the future, and (2) facilitate better planning of projects based on what the communities deem are issues affecting them when a construction project occurs. Also noted was that this will be a constant learning process as the project progresses since changes will need to be made in order to provide the most efficient way of effective. efficient reporting.

Assessment:

The initial step of discussing the plan with the Director of the OCON unit indicated a high degree of cooperation and justification to continue with the plan to speak with the other entities needed to ensure the project is handled correctly. The Director’s approval validates the need for the proposed project.

Next Step:

SR will follow through with speaking with and updating the pertinent agency personnel about the planning phase of the proposed project, and continue to meet and update the Director on an as needed basis.

Constructive Action Log # 2

Date: Friday, May 15, 2009

Time: 12:30 P.M. -1:30 P.M.

Place: New York City Department of Design and Construction / Office of Community Outreach and Notification Office - Cubicles of Citywide Liaisons.

Participants: Student Researcher (SR) and fellow Citywide Liaisons / a total of three participants

Purpose: To discuss the planning stage of implementing the proposed project: centralized electronic logging system.

Content Narrative: 

On the above-mentioned day, the SR conversed with the two fellow CWLs and informed them of her previous conversation with the Director of the OCON unit on Wednesday, May 13, 2009. SR requested that the CWLs add their assistance to ensure the proper categorizing of the inquiry logging program.

The SR noted that initial steps had been discussed with the Director on how to categorize inquiries and the idea of utilizing the Borough of Brooklyn as the test pilot area, and the DBTC Project in particular to collect initial data. Initial categorizing will be layered with the borough’s 18 Community Boards as the leading layer then broken down into whether the inquiries received at the field office are residential, industrial or commercial and then further whether an individual inquiry has anything to do with the DBTC Project. The option of whether to record inquiries not related to the project will remain open. Often people aware of new construction use that opportunity to complain about other community issues not directly linked to the project. The CWLs indicated that further categorizing is needed to distinguish between multiple categories such as housekeeping, noise, parking, water shut-off, and so forth. CWLs stated that their assistance is available throughout entire process to ensure all areas are covered.

Analysis:

All parties involved in this meeting agreed that further brainstorming sessions will be need to ensure appropriate categorizing is performed which will in turn provide the most essential information to the appropriate agency units for future projects. Teamwork is an essential factor in this entire process.

Assessment:

Discussing the planning process with the CWLs indicates the need for further meetings in the future to ensure all categories are accounted for and that the inquiries are properly categorized.

Next Step:

The SR will:

  • meet with CWLs to continually keep them informed of the development of the program.
  • will speak with the project CCL to discuss and follow based on previous conversations about the proposed project, the logging of the community inquiries and the initials categories.
  • continue to develop the categories for the proposed database program.

Constructive Action Log # 3

Date: Tuesday, May 27, 2009

Time: 12:00 P.M. -1:00 P.M.

Place: New York City Department of Design and Construction / Conference Room 305A.

Participants: Student Researcher (SR) and Field Supervisor (FS)

Purpose: To update and provide actions taken to implement the proposed project: centralized electronic logging system.

Content Narrative: 

On the above-mentioned day, the SR met with FS to update FS of current status of school course work, status of proposed project and actions taken and needed to continue progression of the thesis. The SR provided quick updates to FS regarding conversation held with the Director and CWLs of the OCON unit. In short – the SR noted the Borough of Brooklyn is the designated test pilot area, and the DBTC Project will be the project used to collect data.

The proposed data base will be categorized in several layers starting with the 18 Community Boards in order to delineate where inquiries were received from (residential, industrial and commercial), and the type of inquiries (housekeeping, noise, parking, water shut-off, and so forth). The SR noted that a meeting with the project liaison is necessary to discuss further how to proceed.

The FS indicated that the commitment must be made by all essential parties to ensure proper documentation of not only the inquiries, but, also some sort of boundaries must be established so as to not go off on tangents (UNCLEAR). Perspective is an important asset; it will assist in providing foresight and enable better planning of the proposed project. The FS indicated that the project’s Engineer-In-Charge should be informed of this progression of the project, in the event that he/she wants initial input on how to categorize the layers.

The FS also noted that the CCL should also follow through with the proper Chain-of Command in informing both the EIC and dedicated CWL of any inquiries received by the field office pertaining to the project. Discussions will be needed amongst the CCL, EIC and CWL to ensure proper documentation of inquiries received. Food for thought includes will there be duplications of a call, for example, water service interruption as a result of excavation operations. Double notation of an inquiry such as the scenario mentioned above may be overkill. (UNCLEAR)

Analysis:

Meeting with FS was productive; the FS provided further direction on how to proceed with the proposed project and how important to the process it will be to adhere to the Chain-Of-Command by all essential parties. The FS noted that he would like to review the layout when available for operational purposes.

Assessment:

The SR will continue to assess best way to develop and implement the proposed project so as to not to overlap issues based on the many feedbacks received from various agency personnel.

Next Step:

The SR to meet with the Project EIC and CCL to discuss the implementation of the proposed project. With directions / assistance provided by the OCON personnel and the FS, the SR will begin to formulate and draft on paper the layout of the MS Access database.

Constructive Action Log # 4

Date: Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Time: 1:00 P.M. -2:00 P.M.

Place: New York City Department of Design and Construction’s Brooklyn Borough Office

Participants: Student Researcher (SR) and Engineer-In-Charge of Project (EIC)

Purpose: To inform EIC of status of implementing proposed project and inquire if he/she would prefer input into planning process.

Content Narrative: 

On the above-mentioned day, the SR met with the DBTC Project’s Engineer-In-Charge to update him based on previous informal conversations (Semester I) where the proposed project was mentioned. The SR informed the EIS that she had gained approval to proceed with utilizing the DBTC as the test pilot project to collect data. The SR updated the EIC regarding the content of the several meetings held with other pertinent agency representatives regarding the proposed project. The EIC was provided information about the initial layout of the program and how it will proceed with logging the community inquiries for the project.

The EIC was informed that several meetings will be held with the project CCL to address how best to develop the categories for the proposed project. Additionally, several conversations will be held with the project CCL, more likely beginning on a daily basis and then proceeding to a weekly and bi-weekly basis. Frequent discussions will be necessary in order to ensure the community inquires are properly addressed with respect to applying them to the proper category.

The EIC stated that cooperation will be provided on any/all levels to ensure proper procedures are followed. The EIC asked which parties will participate in the decision-making process concerning the layout of the database. The CWL noted the parties who will participate in this process were the OCON unit with insights from other agency personnel including the EIC, FS, upper management. Also other agency units including program management will participate as the program develops further.

Analysis:

Meeting with FS was productive; given further direction on how to proceed with proposed project. Have to discuss with essential parties such as Director and CWLs on how finite the categories should be layered.

Assessment:

Continue to assess best way to develop and implement proposed project so as to prevent the overlap of issues.

Next Step:

The SR to meet with the Project CCL to discuss how the CCL should transcribe the inquiries received by the field office. Directions will be given to continue logging the community inquiries manually by way of the already established method of a MS Excel spreadsheet. After review of the spreadsheet, the CWL will either agree with the categorization of the inquiries and proceed to upload the information on the MS Access database or disagree with the way an inquiry is logged if after review seemed to fit into another category. Project CCL will be directed to provide the community log in a weekly manner. If/when deem necessary to change the submission schedule, the CWL will inform the CCL. Begin to formulate the MS Access database.

Constructive Action Log # 5

Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Time: 8:00 A.M. -9:00 A.M.

Place: Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Project Field Office

Participants: Student Researcher (SR) and Community Construction Liaison (CCL)

Purpose: To provide follow-up information to Project CCL and provide directions to CCL on how to log the community inquiries received by the Project Field Office.

Content Narrative: 

On the above-mentioned day, the SR met with the DBTC Project’s Community Construction Liaison (CCL). The SR provided him with the status of the implementation of the proposed pilot project previously discussed with him during Semester I. The CWL noted that all approvals needed for the implementation of the proposed project were received. The CCL was advised that all perceptual biases/prejudices must be put aside and although a person may call more than once, possibly about the same issue, the caller’s information and inquiry should be documented. The CCL noted that he has been noting all community inquiries received at the field office and logged all inquiries in accordance to previous conversation with the CWL.

The CCL noted that on some occasions some calls caused him confusion about how to initially categorize the inquiry. The CWL noted that constant communication will be needed between the two parties to ensure that such occurrences do not happen often. When confusion occurs a long period of time should not elapse so that all issues may be dealt with in a timely manner. The CCL was advised to continue logging the community inquiries manually by way of the already established method of a MS Excel spreadsheet. After review of the spreadsheet, the CWL will either agree with the categorization of the inquiries and proceed to upload the information on the MS Access database or disagree with the way an inquiry is logged after review and change them to fit into another category.

Analysis:

Meeting with CCL indicates that possible review of community inquiries received by the field office may need review on a daily basis initially rather than weekly to alleviate possible confusion of how to categorize the inquiries.

Assessment:

Redistribution of the way community inquiries are reviewed is needed. Continue to assess best way to develop and implement proposed project so as to not overlap of issues.

Next Step:

The SR to begin layout with regards to the categories of the MS Access for the proposed project. The SR to continue to meet with appropriate agency personnel to provide updates on how the development is going and with the information provided by the DBTC Project CCL on a daily manner to continue to access and analyze the information to ensure appropriate categorization. Meet with the Project CCL to discuss how the CCL should transcribe the inquiries received by the field office. Directions will be given to continue logging the community inquiries manually by way of the already established method of a MS Excel spreadsheet. After review of the spreadsheet, the CWL will either agree with the categorization of the inquiries and proceed to upload the information on the MS Access database or disagree with the way an inquiry is logged if after review seemed to fit into another category. Project CCL will be directed to provide the community log in a weekly manner. If/when deem necessary to change the submission schedule, the CWL will inform the CCL. Begin to formulate the MS Access database.

Constructive Action Log # 6

Constructive Action Log # 7

Constructive Action Log # 8

Program Evaluation

APPENDIX

Figure 1

The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) Organizational Chart – Overall Agency Overview (DDC, 2006, p.36)

Figure 2

The New York City Department of Design and Construction/ – Infrastructure Division/Office of Community Outreach and Notification – Organization Chart (DDC, 2008, p 3)

Figure 3 – The Survey Form

This survey is in response to the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (NYCDDC) efforts to log community inquiries during construction projects. This survey requests your input for a proposed centralized electronic logging system developed, implemented and managed by the NYCDDC’s Office of Community Outreach and Notification Unit (NYCDDC-OCON) for the Infrastructure Division.

The proposed system will be able to generate a consistently updated report of easily accessible information regarding community inquires concerning different types of projects and project affects, such as noise, water shutoffs, housekeeping, and so forth, on past and current projects. The report will supply a host of background information to proposed projects with the intended result of either significantly lessening or alleviating a host of common complaints or supplying information so that the public is thoroughly informed of the possibility of negative impacts.

A five point evaluation system: Strongly Agree (SA), Agree (A), Neutral (N), Disagree (D) and Strongly Disagree (SD) is provided for your rating.

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