Starting today, there is a new feature available here on Edina Citizen Engagement. I don’t have a catchy name for it yet so for this month it’s just October Q&A.
(It’s now a page navigation option on the right of all the project navigation bars.)
We’re using a tool called Google Moderator to solicit questions from Edina, MN citizens about the four projects that we’re paying the most attention to here on Edina Citizen Engagement during the month of October, 2011: 1) the 2012 budget; 2) Southdale Economic Development; 3) the Grandview District; and 4) the indoor athletic facility.
The tool helps to address some common citizen engagement problems:
- Many people don’t feel comfortable or have the time to ask questions of local government leaders about important issues, whether it’s using email, the phone, or open mic at City Council meetings.
- Many people are reluctant to engage in online discussions
- City leaders can’t easily gauge which questions are most often on the minds of citizens
- City leaders are often faced with having to answer the same questions over and over
We think that this tool, Google Moderator, provides a simple and inexpensive way to gather and prioritize the questions.
When we’ve collected the prioritized questions, we’ll select a time and method for city leaders to provide answers online, either via:
- a live online event (chat, webinar, teleconference)
- a recorded audio or video session
- a written/text response
We’re learning our way into this and expect to make mistakes and improve. We’re also assuming that it’ll take a while for Edina citizens to find out about this and get comfortable using it.
If you have suggestions on how to improve what we’re doing, I’m eager to hear it. Attach a comment here or Contact me.
In the meantime, head over to October Q&A and chime in with your questions and votes.
Update, Nov. 2: I’ve shut down Google Moderator for now. See my comment attached.