Photo by Grant Meeks

Meet Mick McCord. For 21 years, he has worked for the city of Dallas in code compliance, auditing, housing and, for the past six, as our neighborhood’s service area coordinator. So what exactly is a service area coordinator? McCord would be the first to explain that the position does not have a traditional job description. “We take on projects that don’t have simple, one-department answers. We can cut through a lot of red tape to bring things into play,” McCord says. The job is essentially that of a liaison, both between neighbors and the city, and between different departments within the city. According to McCord, the position was created as the result of an effort by City Hall to improve customer service. Seven service area coordinators, budget permitting, serve the city’s seven divisions that align with police and code compliance. Our neighborhood falls into the North Central division, and thus under McCord’s care. In his time as service coordinator, McCord has worked on implementing community programs such as the “Loving My Community” grant program introduced by former Mayor Tom Leppert. He also works closely with homeowners and neighborhood associations to listen and attend to their concerns as well as to relay information to them from the city. But his duties are far from predictable. “A lady once called me in hysterics about a vacant lot that was going to be mowed. She said she was from an association relating to monarch butterflies, and thought that there were millions of butterfly larvae in this field,” McCord says. He intervened, contacted the department responsible for the mowing and worked with them to adjust their schedule until after the larvae hatched. “It turns out she was right,” McCord says. His other tasks have ranged from helping to organize Reunion Arena as a shelter for Hurricane Katrina victims to assisting with the planning for the Mavericks’ victory parade. McCord welcomes contact from neighbors, but says “the 311 system should be the first point of entry for non-complicated city problems.” “With the budget being what it is, we’re all trying to do more with less,” says McCord. “One thing that doesn’t cost extra is the quality of customer service — that’s an attitude. It doesn’t cost any more do it right than to do it wrong. In fact, it costs less.”