Residents grade five D.C. agencies with online report card

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder

The District government's report card is in, and the scores of the five city agencies that faced reviews were solidly average.

The city said Tuesday that none of the five agencies participating in the pilot of Grade.DC.gov, a system that harvests feedback about the District government from a website and social media networks, scored above a C-plus for the month of June.

The Department of Public Works was the only agency to notch that mark. Four other departments -- Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Motor Vehicles, Parks and Recreation, and Transportation -- recorded grades of C-minus.

Creeping upward
Four of the five D.C. departments reviewed by the public improved from June to the first half of July.
June Through July 18
Consumer and Regulatory Affairs C-minus C-plus
Motor Vehicles C-minus C-minus
Parks and Recreation C-minus C
Public Works C-plus B
Transportation C-minus C-plus

The grades were based on 1,036 reviews that the District received, with nearly one-third of the evaluations directed toward the Department of Motor Vehicles.

"Although clearly they are not where we want them ultimately to be, they are a good start," Mayor Vincent Gray said of the grades. "Using today's technology will give us an opportunity to continue to improve and not be left behind."

Four agencies bettered their scores in July's opening weeks, with the Department of Public Works, which spearheaded debris pickup after the June 29 derecho, climbing to a B.

"One of the reasons why I think our grade jumped up in July was the storm," said Bill Howland, the department's director. "We did a lot of cleanup, and I think people recognized the value of what we provided."

Gray, who said other governments in the region have inquired about the District's system, predicted grades would continue to rise, even as the system expanded to include 10 other agencies in the fall and, eventually, all D.C. departments.

"The grades have already started to go up," he said. "We won't be satisfied until every agency gets an A."

The city is paying about $167,000 a year to run the system, which is said to be the first of its kind in use by a government anywhere in the United States.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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