8.3.4 Other Groups and Agencies

The setting of an intervention program goes beyond the user, the analyst, and the user's institution. It includes other groups and agencies likely to be affected by any proposed change. An early understanding and appreciation of this broader environment can markedly increase the chance of successful, widely supported implementation. The individuals who will be affected by a change include citizens who are consumers of the agency's services, agency workers, agency managers, and perhaps other individuals in related agencies. the reassignment of schoolchildren to another school will affect the children's friendship networks and their parents' time investment in the previous school; even the rescheduling of school buses can upset daily life patterns. These are legitimate concerns that all too often have been ignored by narrowly focused operations research analysts trying to solve the problem by implementing the test "transportation" or "assignment problem" computer code. The closing down of a police station, library, or "little city hall" can generate similar concerns.

Agency workers have designed their lives around current operations; any change will upset these patterns. Thus, a rescheduling of personnel or a spatial reassignment will affect a worker's temporal routine and/or commuting patterns.

Sometimes the investment in the status quo runs deep, as in a case concerning fire department personnel in New York City. Here, the New York City Rand Institute recommended an adaptive response strategy that would have resulted in relatively underutilized fire companies responding more frequently into high-alarm districts. This attempt to balance workloads, alIthough quite rational from the point of view of the models of this book, et with stiff opposition from the firefighters' de facto union. They argued, effect, that assignment to a light-alarm-load fire company had become a seniority right, and to change this pattern would upset the long-sought-for seniority privileges of the firefighters. Thus, the status quo had the younger, less-experienced firefighters in the high-alarm-rate districts.

Related outside agencies and groups should also be incorporated into an intervention program. For instance, a new public ambulance system should interface with private ambulance companies. A revised or initial implementation of 911 as a city's emergency number requires cooperative interaction among police, fire, and emergency medical personnel. The elimination ("consolidation") of a police precinct or a local post office will concern citizens' groups, who should be consulted prior to such a move. Development of a geographically oriented data base, perhaps reflecting partitioning into small cells or geographical atoms, should be done in concert with other city agencies that have already completed or that contemplate such a task. Lack of concern for such interaction can create opponents to a new program, much the same manner as opponents can surface from within a user's agency.