Board of Selectmen

Posted on: May 8, 2017

Citizen Engagement Initiative Task Force

At the meeting held on May 2, 2017, the Board of Selectmen formed a Citizen Engagement Initiative task force.  It will be comprised of a member of the Board of Selectmen, the Town Administrator, the Information Systems Manager, the Town Planner and three citizens at large.  The task force, working in conjunction with a consultant and alongside municipal departments, will be charged with developing ideas to increase citizen engagement with local government. 

The goal of the Canton Citizen Engagement project is to produce the best, lowest cost, most up to date publicly available services through technology and design.  Similar to an initiative recently undertaken in the city of Worcester, we see three increasingly involved levels of engagement in the community.

The first level involves increased communication with the community through social media and the press.  This would include a review of our existing social media policies for use by staff and board members.  The town has begun using Facebook and Twitter, to a greater extent, as a broadcast tool, but has not explored two way communications.  There is a concern about how much staff time the two way communication will take. The scope of work for this project includes an analysis of whether two way communications should be part of a Social Media policy and if so how would this impact employee’s workload. 

The second level of engagement involves how the town can improve its interactions with residents through the transactions they make with the town.  These transactions include, but are not limited to: 

online bill payments

parking ticket appeals

permitting

service requests

public records requests

The town does have a request (concern) reporting system but it is lightly used and responses are not tracked .  Part of this effort will be to publicize the system and assign responsibility for tracking responses.   Moreover, this task should look at improving the existing technology and expanding its use. including but not limited to bidding, excise payments, tax abatements and parking tickets.  Our overall goal is to make as many transactions available on line as possible. 

Canton’s next initiative is to achieve a state where residents are “heavily and regularly engaged” in the town’s governance.  Moreover, it is the town’s desire that resident become engaged early in issues affecting the town.   

The engagement scope of work should include the development of an implementation plan for the project.  The plan must look at what collaboration can be accomplished between the town and school department/police department/ and fire department’s existing social media platforms.  The scope of work should identify whether the town should have separate platforms or one unified platform.  The scope of work should identify whether the use of social media should be coordinated through a centralized department or spread out amongst various departments.  The implementation plan must also include a professional development plan for the use of social media by staff and boards.   The scope of work should also contain procedures for compliance with the Public Records Law. 

The scope of work should include recommendations for social media effectiveness including:

Style and tone

Frequency and Dialogue

Tools for listening and managing incoming streams

Project Scope Review of existing social media policies

Review of existing Town of Canton social media sites utilized by all departments

Review of communication options available thru the Town’s website

E-mail

Payments

Permits

Tickets

Bids

Review of online request system

Recommendations on any changes to the social media policy

Recommendations on any changes to our social media sites

Recommendations to communication options

Recommendations to expansion of request system

Overall compliance or adoption of generally recognized standards for social media programs

The Board of Selectmen is seeking candidates who would be interested in serving on this task force.  Please submit an application to the Board of Selectmen, 801 Washington Street, Canton, MA 02021 or via email to bos@town.canton.ma.us 

For an application follow this link:  http://town.canton.ma.us/DocumentCenter/View/2025













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