Fellowship Openings

Reducing Blight through Innovative Waste Management

Project: Reducing Blight through Innovative Waste Management

Agency: Office of City Manager, City of Dallas

Location: Dallas, TX

PROJECT CONTEXT

The City of Dallas performs six strategic priorities, developed by Council and the City Manager, to make the City more prosperous, safe, livable, and well- run. The priorities of public safety, mobility solutions, infrastructure, and sustainability, economic and neighborhood development, human and social needs, quality of life, and government performance and financial management, guide the work of City Staff. The Department of Sanitation Services and the Department of Code Compliance perform work that intersects with each of these priorities, as these departments are critical to improving the quality of life for all residents, businesses, and visitors across every neighborhood in Dallas.

One area these departments are working with the broader city government to address collectively is crime. In 2019, violent crime in the City increased by 3.9%, to which Mayor Johnson introduced a task force to evaluate and formulate crime reduction measures. The Dallas Police Department’s 2020 Violent Crime Reduction Plan identified underlying environmental causes that contribute to crime that can be specifically addressed by the Department of Sanitation Services and the Department of Code Compliance.

Moreover, the Department of Code Compliance handles thousands of code violations and removes 1.7 million pounds of litter and debris annually, while the Department of Sanitation Services must meet the lofty goal of 40% diversion of solid waste by the end of 2020. The processes and systems in place for waste management and sanitation violations need reevaluation for the work of these departments to continue to be highly cost-effective and efficient. As part of the departments’ efforts to protect the health, environment, and safety of all Dallas residents, they are considering a coordinated effort to optimize operations around bulky trash pickup, separating streams for vegetation and composting, and streamlining waste pickup scheduling. These improvements will help to reduce sidewalk debris, streamline processes for residents, and limit illegal dumping.

To support this work, the Department of Sanitation Services and the Department of Code Compliance will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive fellow for one year who will educate, engage, and collaborate with communities and other stakeholders to successfully initiate innovative waste management practices. The fellow will help enhance services, streamlines operations, and implement best practices, ultimately transforming and improving the blighted urban areas in Dallas into public spaces that remain safe, clean, sanitary, and accessible for public use by all individuals.

PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES

The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables that follow will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the FUSE Fellow and the host agency.

Starting in April 2020, it is proposed the FUSE Fellow will begin by engaging in a listening tour. Relying on introductions and guidance from the Directors of the Department of Sanitation Services and the Department of Code Compliance, the fellow will meet stakeholders, open lines of communication, and establish relationships. The fellow will become steeped in the dimensions of the City’s sanitation management, identifying underlying root causes of management issues and crime, gaining an understanding of how neighborhoods interact with these departments. Once broad assessments are made, the Fellow will develop recommendations and begin to implement the new program priorities, as determined by the Directors.

  • Conduct a thorough review of cross-functionality of Sanitation Services and Code Compliance Offices – Review divisions of duties, resource allocation, needs, processes, and mechanisms shared between the departments. Identify challenges and barriers to the successful administration of current procedures for handling illegal dumping, litter, bulk, brush, and graffiti and debris abatement.
  • Develop working relationships with departmental stakeholders and the wider community, analyzing feedback – Meet with a broad range of staff members, including those closest to actual cleanup services and distribution of violations, to identify their concerns. Engage community organizations in blighted areas to better understand their perspectives, priorities, and concerns with regard to current sanitation challenges and areas for improvement.
  • Review best practices and national literature about innovative approaches to sanitation and waste management – Conduct a review of best practice examples of other cities that implement new approaches to dealing with the connection between blight and waste management, primarily through the engagement of unemployed youth (one example being similar programming in Sacramento).
  • Prepare innovative recommendations with marketing strategies and timelines for implementation – Synthesize findings and prepare recommendations for new initiatives and system improvements. Include prioritized deliverables, timelines, budgets, change management approaches, and marketing strategies for original programming that educates and engages the public. Identify and implement the most likely “early wins” that can be accomplished within the year to improve operations and set a path toward sustained improvement.

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Nadia Chandler-Hardy, Assistant City Manager and Chief Resilience Officer, City of Dallas
  • Tim Oliver, Interim Director, Department of Sanitation Services, City of Dallas
  • Carl Simpson, Director, Department of Code Compliance, City of Dallas

QUALIFICATIONS

  • At least 15 years of professional experience in high-level project management in a broad range of business environments. Experience within a political environment and some background in psychology highly preferred.
  • Self-motivated, goal-oriented leader with a strong entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Superior critical thinking and analytical skills.
  • Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations.
  • Ability to relate to a wide variety of diverse audiences with sharp emotional intelligence and empathy.
  • Excellent stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to use facilitative leadership techniques to coordinate stakeholder activities.
  • Persistent in obtaining information and creatively resourceful in identifying solutions to complex problems.
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills.
  • Understands the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity.

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