Opinion- Why did the NYC Comptroller launch a 311 app?

For the last two weeks, I’ve been struggling to understand why NYC’s comptroller launched an app called “NYC 311+, The Big Apple’s best 311 App” that has no direct connection to NYC’s 311 infrastructure. The City’s comptroller claims this app is better because it is “social” and is available in “more” languages. Yet, it misses out on several critical features of NYC’s 311 system – #1, a voice interface – #2, an SMS interface – #3 holistic integration with NYC’s 311 service…

Yesterday, the City’s Comptroller published an Opinion piece in the Brooklyn Eagle

Once a review is submitted, NYC 311 forwards it to the City agency or authority responsible for oversight and maintenance. A subway review gets seen by the MTA; playground reviews are submitted to the Parks Department; and potholes complaints go to the Department of Transportation.

No matter how much of a critique this is of the current 311 system, this app misrepresents itself AND erodes the public trust in government technology. I call on the Comptroller to rename this app and re-think its advocacy. 

Also note, the Comptroller was running for Mayor when this app launched one week before election day at the NY Tech Meetup… 

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