Arcata helped us pioneer and define our citizen participation tool. They worked with us to determine the success of this product: What elements worked? What should be improved? What should we eliminate? I was anxious to get Deborah Musick, Executive Assistant to the City Manager, and her team on the phone to hear more about the decision-making process and the challenges that lead them to eComment.
Home to California State University - Humboldt, Arcata has a very civilly active community. Staff members felt overwhelmed by a barrage of phone calls, emails, faxes, and in-person testimonials and wanted an easier way to manage citizen input.
Deborah was tasked with finding a better way to engage audiences. She told me that they weren’t necessarily looking to increase general participation, but rather wanted to encourage more focused and constructive feedback and find an easier way to manage inbound communication. “We wanted a system that took into account council’s desire for organized, condensed, public input on agenda items,” Deborah said.
After implementing our online communication form, Arcata more than doubled their public participation and saved staff from the headaches of attempting to manage all that inbound feedback. Comments can be routed directly to interested parties, and staff can quickly run a response report to better gauge public interest.
For the full case study, please visit our website here: The City of Arcata Uses New Ways to Engage Citizens.