Don’t do things the way they have always been done

Jorge O. Elorza| Providence mayor

All my life, I’ve never accepted the “way things were always done” as a response to age-old problems.

As mayor, a top priority has been ensuring our city is efficient, transparent and accessible for all residents and visitors, and driven by a customer service-based mindset. With that goal in mind, we have charted a new course for Providence.

Through the Department of Innovation, business licensing has been streamlined by condensing the application and renewal process from 44 forms to three, while moving many of our licenses and permits online. The result is that you no longer need to “know a guy” in City Hall to get things done.

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We have hosted hundreds of community conversations across the city to help make our decision-making process around ­major projects [such as] rebuilding our aging schools and infrastructure more transparent. These are conversations that were once held behind closed doors but now include all stakeholders.

In addition to a new user-based website, we launched PVD311 in March 2016 to make our government more transparent and services more accessible. Since then, we’ve fielded more than 65,000 inquiries and requests for support. The PVD311 app has been downloaded [more than] 4,166 times and downloads ­increased in 2017 by 153 percent.

In my inaugural address, I said that I wanted Providence to have a vibrant city government that works for its residents first. By utilizing technology and introducing a customer service-based mindset, we have become one of the most ­innovative and responsive city halls in the country.