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On May 14, CivicPlus hosted eleven fourth graders from Flint Hills Christian School in Manhattan, and their teacher Mrs. Warren for an interactive classroom visit as part of their Career Sponsorship class. Over the past several months CivicPlus staff visited Flint Hills Christian School to help the students create and design their own CivicEngage® website about the class’ pet tarantula, Tobias. During Tuesday’s on-site visit, the class celebrated their hard work and success with a website launch party.
Congratulations to the latest in a long list of lauded communities that are leveraging technology to connect to citizens in meaningful and impactful ways.
At CivicPlus®, we are committed to supporting community leaders across the nation with products and solutions that help governments work better and better engage their citizens. We understand that ensuring all citizens are treated with equality and share equitable access to digital content is integral to that commitment, which is why we take pride in designing solutions and local governments websites that meet WCAG 2.0 A and AA standards.
A municipality’s citizen engagement strategy is only as strong as its data and insights. Local leaders can not pursue initiatives and champion the needs of their citizens without knowing what their citizens want and need. For this reason, the worst phrase an elected official can hear from its administrative leaders is, “we have that information, but we can’t get to it.”
Nothing turns neighbors into friends faster than powerful moments of shared community engagement. Our local parks and recreation departments are continually inspiring us to build solutions that keep pace with their innovative programs, activities, facilities, and inclusive community offerings. To help parks and recreation departments across the nation benefit from the innovative spirit of some of our most creative and influential parks and recreation #CPfamily members, we have created this list of four inspiring examples of innovative parks and recreation programs. From senior leisure activities to random acts of kindness, to evening exercise, these four communities are leading the nation in taking their parks and rec efforts from expected to exceptional.
Your citizens may naturally think to take advantage of your parks and recreation aquatics offerings during the heat of summer, but as a community that offers indoor aquatics facilities, you want your citizens to be motivated to dive in year round. These tips to market your aquatics classes and facilities will help ensure your citizens—of all ages—benefit from the fitness and social benefits of indoor water sports.
Marathon road races offer valuable opportunities for citizens and tourists to see and experience your entire community (or most of it, after all, 26.2 is many miles!). Marathons also offer valuable economic benefits, with visitors and fitness-related businesses flocking to race communities for days at a time. If you have ever thought about establishing an annual marathon, half marathon, 10k, 5k, 3k, or kids’ fun run in your community, know that with some strategic planning you can make year one a huge success and pave the way for annual enjoyment.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Snapchat, but don’t fully understand the benefits of this powerhouse social platform that is battling Facebook and Twitter for ultimate user supremacy. You know teens and tweens use it to stay in touch with one another, sharing the minutia of their lives while leaving no trace of past correspondence behind. Perhaps you’ve caught a look at its innovative interface over the shoulder of your son or daughter or heard about celebrities sharing news via “snaps” heard around the world. You must be thinking that any social platform with such a young audience could not possibly be relevant to the public sector.
A rapidly increasing number of local governments are becoming the subjects of lawsuits from members of the public alleging that the municipality’s digital content is not compliant with Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Two of the most commonly cited grievances include local government websites using PDFs that are incompatible with screen reader technology and videos that fail to offer closed captioning. For municipal clerks responsible for managing public records, agendas, meeting minutes and documentation, and public meeting videos and audio recordings, the potential for a lawsuit is causing compliance-related alarm.
2019 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Municipal Clerks week. The International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC), a professional non-profit association with 14,500 members comprised of City, Town, Township, Village, Borough, Deputy and County Clerks throughout the United States, Canada and 15 other countries has designated this year's week of recognition to take place May 5 through May 11. At CivicClerk®, we are thrilled to embrace a week’s worth of events, education, and appreciation for the role that municipal clerks play in helping our local governments run efficiently and with the transparency and inclusion needed for success. This year, we want to give something back to all clerks across the country. Something they never seem to have enough of; time. Read on to learn why we’re celebrating Municipal Clerks Week, and how we’re giving you the gift of time.
There is a shift taking place in local government administration buildings across the nation. The change is in response to a much more powerful force—a tsunami in fact. The Silver Tsunami, or the mass retirement of Baby Boomers, is impacting local governments across the nation. As a result, local governments are seeing a demographic shift in public leadership from experienced and established Baby Boomers to Millennial employees. With more Millennials running for office, the composition of municipal councils is reconstructing from mostly retired community members to younger, more tech-savvy citizens. The expectations of these younger council members are for greater access to technology, more standard transparency, and higher levels of administrative efficiency. To achieve these expectations and adapt to the demographic shift in local government leadership, communities must be prepared to equip the next generation of leadership with the tools and resources they want and need to be productive leaders.
Have you ever watched a recording of one of your public meetings? The whole video from start to finish? Was it engaging? Was it easy to hear all of the speakers? If not, did your footage include captions? Was it well-lit? Most importantly, did it hold your attention, or did you find yourself scrolling through your Facebook feed on your phone instead of watching the broadcast?
For a technology that is as vital a component to public safety strategy as the mass notification system, it is critical to set the record straight on the myths and facts that surround the efficacy of such solutions. With the level of publicity that some mass communication miscommunications such as the Hawaii missile crisis recently received, public safety officers considering adopting a mass notification system owe it to themselves and their citizens to understand the critical differences between system limitations and process errors.
When an emergency impacts your community, you can’t let any barriers stand in the way of getting every citizen the information they need to take immediate action. To help you better serve the diverse needs of your community, CivicReady® is pleased to announce additional available languages as part of its multilingual translation functionality. Now, whenever you share emergency or routine email, text, or voice notifications with your citizens, your messages can be automatically translated into one of over 60 languages based on the subscriber’s pre-set preference. This functionality within the CivicReady mass notification system helps to ensure that all citizens can quickly receive and act on urgent information, with no confusion or delays.
When an earthquake hits, it can be unexpected, terrifying, and devastating. While many believe that earthquake hazards are limited to the state of California, earthquake hazard maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) show that there are earthquake hazards in nearly every U.S. state, and both Oklahoma and Alaska experience more earthquakes per year than California. While most earthquakes in states like California an Alaska are so small that citizens do not feel them, the threat of massive loss of life and destruction looms heavily over local leaders in high-risk regions. Over 143,000,000 Americans live in areas of significant seismic risk across 39 states, and experts predict that in the next 30 years, California has a 99.7% chance of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake. While the risk of lives lost is of paramount concern, local leaders can also not risk ignoring the financial implications of earthquake damage, as FEMA estimates average nationwide annual financial earthquake-related losses to be $5.3 billion.
2018 brought the deadliest wildfire in California history, the worst hurricane to hit the Atlantic Coast since 1969, the loss of 21 lives during the Montecito mudslides, and flash flooding in Ellicott City, Maryland that turned streets into rivers. Public safety officers in local governments across the nation have realized that it’s not a matter of if a disaster will strike, but when. In times of crisis, citizens will turn to their local government for guidance, resources, and instructions. One of the best ways to serve your citizens is to help them prepare for the inevitability of an emergency. A critical component of citizen emergency preparedness should involve the creation of a family emergency communication plan. By encouraging all families to develop a quickly actionable plan, when a disaster strikes, they will be one step ahead of the chaos of uncertainty and best able to minimize their risk of injury and loss.
Be honest. How many citizen requests have taken the tactile form of a post-it-note stuck to the bottom of your computer screen over the past month? Have you ever taken notes from a citizen who walked in to report a problem, and then lost track of where you wrote your notes? Do you ever dread your ringing telephone because you know it’s a citizen following up on a service request you forgot to send to your department of public works?
Civic service exists in many forms for local government. From election coordination to funding allocation to public works, successful governing means listening, responding, and reacting. In an era where citizens expect the convenience of on-demand, any device connectivity to brands, public entities, and resources, the number, and variety of channels citizens want to use to reach their local leaders to issue requests, inquiries, and suggestions have never been greater. While local leaders used to resort to time-consuming manual documentation and follow up processes to manage and respond to requests, modern 311 and citizen request management solutions are helping to automate critical aspects of citizen service—one Tweet at a time.
CivicPlus®, the nation’s leader in integrated technology for local government, has announced it has launched the newest addition to its integrated solution suite. The CP Connect™ 311 citizen request management (CRM) solution offers municipalities robust citizen communication, service request, and issue management capabilities and will help local governments manage their citizen-facing workflows more easily by centralizing communications and streamlining service delivery and reporting associated with citizen issues and opinions.
Today’s local governments across the country are under increasing pressure to cut costs, stretch budgets, find efficiencies, and essentially do more with less. Now more than ever, local governments are in need of tools and solutions that can enable them to more efficiently meet their civic engagement goals using every available communication channel. The key for local governments, however, is to choose solutions that are just as easy for citizens to engage with, as they are for administrators to manage.
Who said the public sector can’t maintain a fun, approachable digital presence? Employee recruitment is a serious and critical component of your talent management strategy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use modern tools and dynamic approaches to identify and engage top talent. Instagram is a valuable social media platform for more than sharing post-workout meals and vacation photos of flip-flop clad feet in front of oceans of blue waves (trust us). It is a tool that should be used by all private and public sector recruiters to engage the next generation of local government employees (read: Millennials). Follow our tips to get started and make Instagram a key component of your recruitment strategy.
It’s another typical day at the office. Or at least it should be. You stand at the watercooler with coworkers you’ve known for years, warm cups of coffee in your hands, sharing stories from your weekends about your families, your hobbies, and your children. Then the unthinkable happens. Deafening, rapid fire popping noises, like nothing you will be able to describe later to emergency responders, incapacitates your hearing. You see coworkers running through the halls and have a sense that someone around you is screaming. Until you realize that you’re the one screaming.
How to Incorporate Diversity into Your Hiring and Retention Strategies
In Part I of this blog series, we discussed the importance of your local government’s human resources department establishing a diversity and inclusion (D&I) program. Not only do such programs foster a culture of inclusion and acceptance among employees, they build administrations that are reflective of the communities they serve. In Part II of this blog series, we provided step-by-step instructions for how to define the goals of your D&I program, implement a successful initiative, and measure its success. Part III of this series focuses on ensuring you continually maintain a diverse and accepting workforce through strategic hiring initiatives.
How to Implement a D&I Program in Your Local Government.
If you are reading this, you have hopefully read Part I in this blog series on the importance of establishing a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) program in your community. The creation of any wide-spread administrative initiative will take planning, commitment, and collaboration to be successful. When it comes to topics as crucial as diversity and inclusion, you must be thorough in your planning and implementation process to best serve the needs of your community and your employees. Follow these best practices when implementing your D&I program.
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