Three truths about municipalities

*HeyGov sat down with Government Content Insider Chris Astrella. “Clerk-at-Heart” of the past 16 years and Past President of the WMCA. He shares the three biggest truths he has learned along his way, in local municipal services. Handing over to Chris now.

There are a lot of things that municipalities need to do, week in and week out, to ensure everything runs smoothly within the community. However, with so many tasks to do, sometimes priorities get put to the side or not done as needed. 

Municipalities change as often as the direction of the wind. I can say that the wind in Nevada changes often! Whether you see it or not, municipalities have got to be the place that represents this quote of change, the best: 

“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” -John C. Maxwell

This blog will look at the 3 truths I learned along the way, to stay on top of the changes and ensure that everything is headed in the right direction.

1. Transparency goes a long way

Information is power, no doubt that’s also true in municipalities all over the country. When constituents feel informed and engaged, they trust. Of course, it’s easier said than done as trust is built, not just given. 

We trust a brand because we’ve dealt with them before and the experience was average or great or outstanding. In the local government context the municipal brand is information: put it out there, all the time. 

Whether people read it or acknowledge or even thank you, is not the aim: the aim is to play open cards with your constituents on processes and decisions that guide their everyday life. 

2. Engage the community

As a municipal employee, whether you’re a Clerk, Treasurer, Administrator, Plow Truck Driver, Cop or Firefighter you likely know the community better than they know themselves! You’ll know who always offers help, who reports issues and where to find all the news. Leverage this to your advantage; making the community part of how their environment is run helps them feel heard and gives them a sense of responsibility and taking part. 

It becomes less about an us vs them, but a ‘we’. Listen and respect the opinions of others, but also don't forget to use your own judgment to make that final call.

3. Work smarter, not harder. 

You’ll learn patience in this job, whether you want to or not! Dealing with people sometimes is taxing, however, you have a ton of skills to put to work daily. One of those is making decisions on what’s best for the community. And, let's be honest - what’s best for the community is efficient service delivery. 

Technology can be overwhelming, and the government can move at a slow pace:  I get it. You have the choice here: to just change or to grow. You physically hold a community in your hands. 

Technology can help you, and there’s no shame in asking! Implementing tools, software or help to support you is ok! In fact, it’s completely normal (and I promise you won’t be the only one asking)! If you can find a tool or a program to make your life easier, use it! It will support you in efficiently delivering services to the constituents, make them feel heard and appreciated and will eliminate some of the challenges of the job. A happy community = a happy Clerk. 

Join me for a webinar, to just pop in or take a break and let’s catch up on how things are going back home!  We’re chatting about all things digital governance. 

Would love to see you! Cheers!

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