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Posted on Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Council member launches survey to measure citizen satisfaction in Ann Arbor's 2nd Ward

By Ryan J. Stanton

Do you feel like the city of Ann Arbor acts in your best interests? If you could make one suggestion for your elected officials to focus on during the next six months, what would it be?

Those questions and more are included in a new customer satisfaction survey City Council Member Sally Hart Petersen is using to gauge residents' feelings about city services.

Petersen, D-2nd Ward, has partnered with Ann Arbor-based ForeSee to launch the survey, which she's promoting on a new website at

"This is something that I wanted to do specifically for my constituents to get a sense of how I can best represent them on council," Petersen said.


Sally Hart Petersen

Petersen said she'll probably leave the survey open until the end of the month and then relaunch it quarterly to see how attitudes change.

ForeSee, which specializes in customer experience analytics, said trusted technology and proven methodology will be used to measure and manage feedback from residents.

The 40-question survey gauges feelings about garbage collection, recycling, public safety, transit, parks, condition of city streets and sidewalks, quality of the water system, pedestrian safety, street lighting and signage, friendliness of city employees, responsiveness of the city, return on investment from taxes, and whether residents feel they can trust their city government.

One of the questions asks survey takers if they live in the 2nd Ward. Petersen said residents who live outside her ward are welcome to take the survey, and she'll tell them apart from that question.

Petersen said she looks forward to working with ForeSee to understand the wants and needs of the citizens of Ward 2, and using that knowledge to improve the citizen experience for not only the residents of her ward, but all residents of the city of Ann Arbor.

"The more satisfied Ward 2 constituents are, the more likely they are to spend time and resources in the city of Ann Arbor, participate in civic activities and trust the city government," she said.

Prior to being elected to the City Council in November, Petersen said she specialized in understanding the voice of the customer in her positions at CFI Group and ABN AMRO Mortgage Group.

ForeSee was co-founded in 2001 as a joint venture by Compuware Corp. and CFI Group. Petersen is the former marketing director for CFI Group, where she worked from 1996 to 2001.

Petersen said she's paying for the survey out of her own pocket. Asked how much it will cost, she said only that it will be less than the roughly $16,000 she makes as a council member.

In a news release, ForeSee touted its experience in measuring citizen satisfaction across multiple channels for several agencies, including the U.S. General Services Administration and the U.S. Department of State, as well as Fortune 500 companies like Procter & Gamble and DTE Energy.

ForeSee said its scientific measurement capabilities are based on the methodology of the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:37 p.m.

Keep up the good work, Sally. I believe you and Jane can bring some fresh air into Council proceedings.

Colorado Sun

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 5:42 a.m.

I am wondering why we cannot get a better quality City Attorney in Ann Arbor. We have had non-stop controversy with Stephen Postema on mileage reimbursemnt/car allowances, E-mailgate, and the One Per Cent for Art Ordinance. I am very unhappy with the quality of work we are gettting out of his office.

Elizabeth Jahn

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 6:57 p.m.

I'm thankful to for doing a story on this survey. I am a resident of the 2nd Ward and had no idea there was a survey. I'm not sure how others in Ward 2 are being notified. I will admit that I need to do a better job communicating directly with my elected officials. This is something that I am striving to do more frequently.

Elizabeth Jahn

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 7:34 p.m.

Sally - Thank you for your reply! I provided my email as I submitted the survey, so I look forward to getting the Ward 2 emails.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 7:13 p.m.

Hi there! The survey was sent to all the neighborhood association leaders from Ward 2 for whom I have valid e-mail addresses, and also available on the website I also sent it to all Ward 2 residents for whom I have e-mail addresses. That said, I am also grateful to for helping to get the word out. Please send me your e-mail address and I will make sure you are included on future Ward 2 specific e-mails. Thank you!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

Great Job Ms. Peterson, and at no cost to taxpayers. I believe the priority has to be fiscal stability and finding more tax revenues, going after the U when exemption doesn't apply, uncapping fraternities and sororities many of which pay decades old tax rates, slum lords paying too little in taxes when they should have been reassessed. Our city tax assessor needs to be stronger and actually know and enforce the law. City needs to condemn vacant properties, abolish DDA or get more DDA parking money, and stop buying farm land for development rights.

Ryan J. Stanton

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

Thanks for the early comments. I hope everyone across all five city wards reading this story will take the time to leave a few comments here about their experiences with city government, whether good or bad, and offer some constructive feedback for city leaders to consider. Remember it is budget season. The city administrator should be releasing his budget proposals by April and the council must vote by the end of May to adopt a final budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

When can we expect the Mayor to allow Ann Arbor citizens to express our views on his job performance via a survey?

Ghost of Tom Joad

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

every election day. It also helps to have a non-crazy person run against him.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

The city council's arrogance runs deep. We are NOT customers! We are citizens. And if you MUST resort to private sector terminology (because you're unable to think of people as equals!!) then perhaps you should use the term >> co-owners or stock holders.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

I am all for government thinking of citizens as customers and not the serfs that many of them do. If that's what it takes to break the "we don't care what you think, just shut up and send us more of your money" mentality, I am all for it.

Sandy Castle

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

How awful to ask her constituents what they think...for shame. Do you wake up everyday with that negative attitude?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

A responsible action from Petersen. It feels like the times they are a-changin' on city council. More members are showing concern about the needs of citizens - and the breakdown of basic services which has been allowed to happen over the last 10 years. Excellent summary from a2grateful.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

File under "something that will NEVER happen in the 4th ward".

Frustrated in A2

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 5:49 p.m.

You took the words right out of my mouth Brad. I also voted for Mr. Eaton!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:13 p.m.

I meant "NEVER ... given our current representation". Jack - you already have my vote!

Jack Eaton

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

Brad, I wouldn't say never. I think we will see more responsive representation in the Fourth Ward in the not too distant future. In the last two election cycles, voters in the Second Ward have replaced two incumbents who were deaf to constituent wishes. It could happen in our Ward, too.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

I couldn't agree more, and I cannot understand how she got reelected!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

Thank you for serving and caring, Ms. Petersen. I am a city resident that lives outside your ward. I participated with your survey. Here's my list for improving city government. Please focus on: 1) Providing basic services high in fiduciary responsibility (not folly*). 2) Responsible and caring public safety administration 3) Fixing failed infrastructure of roads and stormwater management 4) Funding pensions These are the four categories that I watch, differing very much from priorities of mayor, entrenched council, and DDA. (*Folly refers to: Diversion of dedicated millage funds to non-related endeavors. Use of parkland for anything other than parks, without voter approval. Amtrak stations not paid for by Amtrak. WALLY paid disproportionately by city residents. Countywide bus services paid disproportionately by city residents. Airport expansion. Conference centers subsidized by city residents. Destruction of established and clear pedestrian law. Choices not to enforce established housing code, traffic laws, and other ordinances. Lack of ethics policies for council, mayor, and DDA. Diversion of DDA tax collections from public schools, libraries, and city general fund. Recycling program that is founded on no-bid contracts, accepts less material than old program, and then sends much collected material to landfills. General prevailing mindset by elected leaders that basic municipal service provision is no longer required in Ann Arbor.)


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:26 a.m.

Dogs without leashes in city parks.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:22 a.m.

Business's without proper sign permits or leaving up banners all year.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:39 a.m.

You mean like the AA Golf & Outing Club's hideous parking signs on public right-of-way?