Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Statement to city council February 18, 2014

I'd like to make a statement about communication. I hope it demonstrates to the council, to the administration, and to all citizens that we are a better community when we have an open and inclusive process.
The city has limited resources when it comes to equipment and personnel for the massive (and once in 20 years) snow accumulation. We expect the city to use its resources wisely. Most citizens should understand that and will comply with an effective and efficient snow removal plan - if they know about it.

On January 22, the Mayor called a snow emergency. Those who needed details about the program had to search for maps or significant signage of the snow emergency routes. We all learned together what we needed to do to cooperate with the plan and to share information with neighbors. 

Lessons from this first round were - add links to websites where information can be found. The city website - which we know is being reviewed by the administration - can still be used if linked with other communication measures like press releases, twitter and Facebook.

As the snow emergencies continued the city improved information sharing, utilizing Bethlehem PD Facebook and twitter accounts - which have established and growing networks. Bethlehem PD even included links to the website for full information. Many people responded positively by sharing information.

Aside from embracing linked information, and posting to established networks, I hope lessons learned from the first half of February were the benefits of empowering people to share information. Many citizens of Bethlehem will support any administration that sees their population as a resource.

Today, Mayor Donchez started a Twitter account. Good for the Mayor. I hope council will support his efforts and be continue to be models of effective communication. For instance, Councilman Recchiuti tweeted a link to tonight's agenda. Many members of the council have built effective networks, not just friends. I thank you for being open to having conversations in multiple platforms.
I hope that those advising council and administration on communication strategies will understand that communication is not only posting information, but effective listening and response. Open communication is a treasured asset for positive community building. It is a practice not achieved overnight.  I wish you well in your efforts. There are many citizens in this community ready and willing to support any open and transparent communication efforts.

Thank you.

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