Wednesday, December 13, 2017

7 Emergency Planning Myths, Busted

As our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by natural and man-made emergencies, we also often breathe a sigh of relief that it didn't happen to us. Too often, we think "that can't happen here."

image: FEMA

That's myth #1 in the list of seven that Rachel Engel covers in her article for Efficient Gov.

Engel references a publication from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), "Overcoming Myths about Community Resiliency Planning" that can help local governments break through common roadblocks to effective emergency planning.

Why would you need a resiliency plan? Items 5 and 6 sum it up: Departmental plans are a good start, but there needs to be a comprehensive and holistic approach, and FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Plan is a guideline, not a complete solution.

It's like that spare tire in your trunk: it's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. It can happen in your community.

How ClerkBase can help:
Our agenda and minutes posting and hosting mean that your documents are available online, even if the lights go out in City Hall. Can't upload your documents? You can still send them via email. We take care of formatting and online posting for you.

Emergency meeting agendas are available via mobile devices, as well as live-stream and on-demand video of meetings. You can also post emergency information on ClerkBase.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Bringing Holiday Cheer to your Hometown

courtesy City of Rochester, NY

From weekend markets to light displays to snow (or sand!) sculpture contests, 'tis the season for local holiday activities. These events help build community and encourage tourism. Added to the growing Shop Local trend, they can be a real boost to local businesses.

EfficientGov highlights a few munis with popular events. These cities and towns may give you ideas for your next holiday extravaganza...since it's time to start planning for 2018!

How does your community mark the season? Share your favorite ideas in the comments!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Pew Report: Monitoring Local Government's Fiscal Health

Pew Charitable Trust released an analysis of a fiscal initiative by Ohio. The state is trying to proactively identify local governments that are in danger of struggling financially and offering help before it happens.

The state identifies three categories of distress: fiscal caution, fiscal watch, and fiscal emergency, and ties those categories to the level of state oversight. The intent is to repair financial issues in the cities before an emergency occurs.

According to Pew, 23 states use some form of financial monitoring of local governments. Three states use the same model as Ohio

The report concludes that "that detecting distress early gives states and local governments more flexibility to solve a local government’s fiscal challenges."

img credit: All things clipart

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Volunteer management in local government

It's not always easy to attract volunteers to sit on boards and commissions. At ClerkBase, we see a lot of agendas listing open board positions. It's understandable for a few reasons:

1. People don't know there's a position available. has some useful tips on recruitment and retention (we see a lot of resignation announcements as well). There are examples of vacancy announcements, as well.
They suggest not only taking to social media and newspapers, but also the "personal ask." Encourage current board and commission members to approach people they feel would be a good fit for the board's mission.

2. It's a big commitment.
It can be, but volunteerism is about passion. Also, not all boards and commissions require the same amount of time or energy. Be up front about the commitment, and share stories about how the board has made a difference in the past, and/or upcoming opportunities.
3. People don't know how to apply.
Usually the easiest way to apply is online. The new Applications add-on module for OnBoard helps streamline the process by letting volunteers apply online. Applications and resumes are submitted, evaluated, and distributed to the board coordinator all through the program.

New! Applications add-on module for OnBoard!

Do you have best practices to share? Tell us in the comments!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Facebook for Elected Officials

In an emergency communication is key. By far the most common means of sharing information in the social media landscape is Facebook.

Your residents turn to Facebook for updates on friends and family, and for the latest information.  National League of Cities recently published an article called "The Elected Official's Easy Guide to Facebook." You can share these tips with your department heads and officials, and create a system for sharing emergency information that can extend your reach.

In September, Facebook announced Crisis Response,"a new center on Facebook where people can find more information about recent crises and access our crisis response tools – including Safety Check, Community Help and Fundraisers to support crisis recovery – all in one place."

Below is their infographic.