Help with County Complaint Filing System
Baltimore County provides two different online systems for filing complaints (including a "smart" phone app using CitySourced. (The previous capability through the Accela "Citizens Access" was removed).
These each provide a capability to enter complaints as well as to query the status (of your own complaints). In effect, the CitySourced system provides a different user interface for entry and serves as a front-end to the Accela System. Complaints entered via CitySourced are assigned a numeric "tracking number" (e.g., 42357) which they don't always tell you and the data is then transferred to the Accela system where a regular Code Enforcement case number (e.g., CC1901234) is assigned, which results in you getting an e-mail with this number.
Instructions for web form using CitySourced system #1 (to file complaint)
Link: Request Service or Report a Problem (Opens in new window so you can keep this one opened for guidance.)
1. Choose a Report Type
This form is fairly straight-forward. First you select the category and subcategory of complaint. Here is a complete list, all on one page, of the categories and subcategories provided by the pull-down menus. Unfortunately, it does not include commonly used categories:
This page also provides links or phone numbers for reporting other issues.
Many of these categories do not end up filing a complaint to Code Enforcement, but are handling by other departments. It is not clear that the receiving department passes it on to another to handle when appropriate.
* choices that require entry of your name, e-mail, and phone number.
The location can be entered in one of two ways:
3. Your contact information
Remember that anything you enter is available to anyone. Although it says "we require some basic contact info ..." it seems that you can enter in bogus info and the complaint will still be handled. I enter in a real email so I can get status updates, but one that cannot be traced to me.
This method does not allow for uploading photos or documents.
After you have reported a problem or issue, the system replies with 2 e-mails, but they do not return a tracking number, which is needed to do a look-up. Instead, they contain a case number. Unfortunately, that e-mail does not identify which issues it was (in case you filed multiple). Check each case number using the method described below to find which address or issue it was for.
Note that, while this system appears to provide a way to submit comments/concerns on an assortment of issues, not all of which are Code Enforcement, it seems that Code Enforcement has some part is reviewing all entries. Back in December 2018, I used it to submit comments to the New County Executive regarding my belief that certain management individuals should be replaced. That case is now "closed" but shows in the status "Being reviewed by Code Enforcement" and I got an e-mail from one of the persons I said should be replaced quoting my comment to replace him. It had been submitted as "County Executive Office issue", which no longer appears as a possible category.
Instructions for web form using CitySourced system #2 - BALTCOGO (to file complaint)
Link: BALTCOGO (Opens in new window so you can keep this one opened for guidance.) There is also a "Smart" phone app for this. You're on your own there as I am too dumb to use a smart phone.
This system allows entry of the same information as described above for #1, but it is entered in a very different, and non-intuitive, manner. You are always required to set up an account (the same one as you may have used in #1 above) but there is a choice to "keep confidential".
Categories in this system:
Note: This system has lots of problems. If you want to file a complaint that does not fit within these specific categories, try the #1 approach (detailed at the beginning of this page).* doesn't ask your address
** asks for your address
*** asks for your address and details about the animal. So, to report a dead animal for pickup, you're asked what its sex is. (At least "unknown" is a choice.) Further, if you click on the location (by a road), the system reports it as some nearby address, which may not even be on the same road.
Instructions for looking up the status of an issue on the CitySourced system #1
This is difficult to use, as the process to file a complaint does not return the Tracking Number that is required to use this function. It really doesn't matter, since it provides virtually no useful information. But, if you do somehow find the number, use the following:
Link: Follow-up on Issue
Unfortunately, this does not return information about the complaint - the description entered - so you can only guess what it is about if someone else opened the case. It generally only shows that it has been accepted, the category and subcategory, and if it has been transferred to the Accela system (with case number). This system does not provide any means to search by address. You must use the Accela system for that.
If you enter your e-mail address (thinking reasonably that it will display all of the complaints filed under this e-mail, you get an error message: "We're having trouble looking up this record. Please call 410-887-2450 to verify your tracking number". Don't bother calling this number; it's the County Executive's main number. I doubt that he can help you, but maybe he needs to be informed of the problems with this system.
Instructions for looking up the status of your own issues on the CitySourced system #2
Link: Follow-up on issue
This is the same page as used to file a complaint. After clicking the "menu" icon , under "Service Requests" select "My requests" to see a list of all requests you've filed. (See hints above under how to file a complaint.) It gives the Tracking Number and the CE case number. It is best to then use the legacy Acella system to see the status.
There is no way (as far as I can find), to look up the status of some one else's complaint using this tool.
Note that the list initially shows only "in process" cases. Using Filter, you can show all, including "closed".
Also note that the form seems to provide a blank at the bottom to enter comments. It is unknown where this goes (if anywhere). When you enter a comment, it shows your "citizen's number".
It is unknown what the selection "Nearby requests" means or how it works. For example, putting in a particular address returns a long list of "Traffic" issues (even though the filter is set to "all") that are nowhere near that address.
Instructions for Accela Self Service Portal (to file complaint)
This portion of the Citizen's Access system was removed the evening of October 26, 2018, just one more step in the previous administration's attempt to inhibit citizens from access to government information and services.
Instructions/hints for Accela Self Service Portal (to search for complaint)
Link: Accela - search
Important: Unless you specifically want to see a complete list of all of your own complaints, make sure that you are not logged in when trying to use this system.
You should see a page like this: (instruction/hints on the right)
The page displaying the data for a single case looks like this:
Hint: When a single case is displayed, the Record Info/Processing Status does not show the date filed. To see the date, select any display that shows a list of cases, such as by selecting a range of address that include the desired one.
If you do log-in, the system initially displays a complete list of all cases filed under this user ID since the beginning of 2018. Sometimes this really gets in the way, for example, after requesting a list of all cases for a particular address and displaying a specific one, the browser's "Back" button takes you to the complete list of your own complaints, not back 1 step to a redisplay of the list for the selected address. The only known way around this problem is to log-out and re-request the display.
Updated 10 July 2019