Background

In November 2017, CAWCD Board President Lisa Atkins announced the formation of a Customer Service Task Force, to be co-chaired by Lisa Atkins and Ben Graff and comprised of CAWCD Board Members. The objective of the Task Force is to identify actionable improvements to CAP customer service processes.

Under the direction of Co-Chairs Atkins and Graff, CAP hired a third-party consultant, Jeanne Schulze, to assist the Task Force with their efforts. Ms. Schulze began working in January 2018 and began with a robust Discovery Phase in which Ms. Schulze gathered information and feedback from the CAWCD Board, stakeholders and staff. Following a report on the Discovery Phase, the Task Force identified four main areas of focus through a collaborative group discussion.

  1. Board Committees – find ways to improve empowerment of Board Committees and level of trust in work done by Committees
  2. Behavioral Issues – work on listening skills and development of personal relationships
  3. Board meeting structure – explore ways to make better use of meetings to improve stakeholder relationships and enable more stakeholder input
  4. Create new processes to hear all perspectives

The Task Force then conducted an action planning exercise, which the public was invited to participate in, to identify specific processes within each area of focus. The results of this exercise were then used to identify common themes, which were the basis for the Task Force’s Final Recommendation.

Conclusion

At the final meeting on August 18, 2018, the Task Force adopted a set of recommendations, which were revised and approved by the full Board on September 6, 2018. The final recommendations are:

  1. Create way for stakeholders to provide comments and ask questions online prior to meetings and in real time. (electronic blue cards)
  2. Create more effectiveness and efficiency of committees and task forces in order for the Board to have confidence in and rely on the work done in those committees.
  3. Conduct more discussions with stakeholders before Board meetings, include their perspectives in Board briefs (directed toward staff).
  4. To increase engagement, give more advance notice of issues, which will be considered by the Board and Committees, including timely posting of documents.
  5. Invite stakeholders to participate in roundtable discussions on specific issues as an information-gathering exercise.
  6. Identify opportunities for more efficient, effective and inclusive stakeholder input beyond what is included in other themes, including possible formation of stakeholder advisory groups.

And to:

  • Direct staff to create short-term action plans for these items and bring them back to the Board for consideration. Identify the role the Board and staff will play for each action item.
  • Direct staff to report to the Board quarterly on progress for Customer Service Task Force recommendations, to maintain all ideas and action steps identified in the Discovery Phase


CAP Staff plans to present some initial short-term action plans to the Board in December 2018. While these are the first steps that will be taken, none of the data that was collected throughout the process will be lost.

Members

Co-Chairs: Lisa A. Atkins, Benjamin W. Graff
Members: Alexandra Arboleda, Jennifer Brown, Karen Cesare, Terry Goddard, Jim Hartdegen, Pat Jacobs, Heather Macre, Sharon B. Megdal, Mark Taylor

Meetings

April 19, 2018 – Meeting #1 (video)
May 17, 2018 – Meeting #2 (video)
June 21, 2018 – Meeting #3 (video)
August 18, 2018 – Meeting #4 (video)