The City of Brookings has been successfully engaging citizens in their Council meetings through live and archived webcasting for the past 10 years. Recently, the City of Brookings has added a new feature to broaden civic involvement in its public meetings online.
Using a simple web-based application, citizens are able to view and submit their opinions on upcoming meeting agenda items from any computer or phone with an Internet connection instead of requiring them to attend the meeting in person to have their voices heard.
“This is a powerful extension of the Council’s desire to make city government, the City Council, and our meetings as accessible as possible for the citizens. Citizens can comment on an agenda item prior and throughout the meeting from the comfort of their home, in order to let the Council Members know how they feel about a particular issue. Government doesn’t get any more responsive and interactive with its citizens than that,” said City Clerk Bonnie Foster.
This new tool, called eComment, is provided by Granicus, Inc., a company that provides industry-leading technologies used by thousands of government staff members across the country and helps them to run more efficient and transparent processes. eComment integrates seamlessly with the City’s meeting webcasting solution on the City’s website. Together this product portfolio will help the City empower online audiences to quickly follow and participate in the latest decisions and actions in government from the convenience of their home.
To utilize these new open government features, citizens can log onto https://cityofbrookings.legistar.com/calendar.aspx prior to a meeting, locate the meeting agenda, and click on the eComment link next to the agenda. This takes them to a page
where they can submit their opinions on legislation up for debate. They can then indicate their position on an item and add any additional comments related to that particular item or leave general comments for City staff. Comments can automatically be routed to staff and elected officials, giving the City Council members time to review and consider citizen input prior to, or even during a meeting. Users will be required to set up an account, and finalize the account through an email verification process.
This new tool will also benefit administrative staff, helping them collect, consolidate, and route citizen feedback through an automated process.
“By providing an electronic way to for citizens to speak at a public meeting, the City will be able to reach a broader segment of their community and hear feedback from more people,” said Michael Ashford, Granicus Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships. “This demonstrates a commitment to strengthening collaboration with citizens and makes the City of Brookings a true leader and innovator with civic technology.”
Granicus provides the industry’s leading cloud-based solutions for government efficiency and transparency, with software that helps nearly 1,200 organizations and 63,000 government staff members streamline their workflows and establish more meaningful connections with citizens — online, over social networks and on mobile devices. Granicus’ solutions include live webcasting of public meetings and video archival, complete agenda and legislative management software, and tools for automating boards and commissions management processes, as well as in-meeting mobile solutions for elected officials and online feedback platforms for citizens.