I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Matt Mueller, City Manager for the Town of Guthrie, Oklahoma. Matt has been in the role for only six months but has brought major changes to the town in terms of his approach to government 2.0, or, more specifically, in terms of his approach to The Social Ecosystem.
Guthrie, OK, is not a large town. The town’s population is around 10,000 and is on the older side, but a recent influx of young professionals is putting the town in a position where the mix of ages is becoming more and more balanced. Generations Y -> Z are well represented.
Guthrie is not a town in love with new technologies and cool buzzwords. They are a small town that believes in sharing information, helping the local citizens, and keeping their cost low. In other words, your average town.
The town is using the CivicPlus Government Content Management System and appears to love it. This CMS system provides a lot of flexibility and a lot of functionality, functionality they are not yet fully leveraging. However, the web site is getting 19,000 hits a day, pretty good for a town web site.
A key push for the town is to make all public documents available on the web site. This effort is resulting in lowering operational costs (as citizens can avoid coming in and making requests for information) and helping to build the trust level in the town. I asked Matt if he considered a town-wide satisfaction survey and this is something that is in the budget for this year. Organizations of all types must understand how their customers perceive their efforts and local governments are no different.
Guthrie has a local access television station where town meetings and other local information is made available. They are working to post all the programming, in video format, and it clearly needed. 25 hours of video a month is being viewed. This is an increase over 6 months ago and is opening up the information to a wider viewing audience.
You’ll note, so far I haven’t said much about Twitter and Facebook… While they do have a presence in these channels it is not an area they have yet put much investment in. Why? This is not a major information stream for their citizens today, their is added costs to these channels, and there is more work to be accomplished in their core channels.. The civicPlus CMS tool allows them to easily publish content out to each of these channels but the planning for the best ways to publish this information to best serve the citizens will take time. Frankly, they are getting large payback from their web, video, and TV efforts and need to do more work there first.
Guthrie is getting it right. They are leveraging the concepts of The Social Ecosystem to maximize their efforts, providing strong value to their citizens. Keep up the great work Matt! You and your team are definitely on the right path.