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Thursday, 23 June 2011 13:00

City trying to get the message out, loud and clear

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By John R. Statton — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The City has hired a communications employee to tackle the gap between city hall and the community.

Mayor Jerrod Schafer indicated the City doesn’t have a long-term plan for its communications department.

“Obviously coming through the last couple of elections, there’s been some candidates run on the ticket that communication needs to improve at city hall,” said Schafer.

“One of the things that we’ve found loud and clear, and that we’ve tried to do over this term is to improve communications, and in regards to city hall we do have a communications grant writing person, who is now at city hall looking to attract funds to the City, improve communications going out, and alleviate some for the communication role that was bogging down other positions. We think it’s a good investment for our community, and that person is also working with communication representatives from other organizations in (regard to) some of the developments going on in the community.”

Kim Mack, of Moose Jaw, began working as a temporary communications employee for the City of Swift Current May 6. A public competition was not held for the position, and it was not spoken about at any council meetings.

City council met and discussed its strategic plan June 23. The issue of communications fell within the plan.

“Our council right now has been working for the last few months to develop a strategic plan — really a go forward plan — and really priority setting and making sure that we’re all walking towards the same direction and goals,” said Susan Motkaluk, City CAO.

“With the strategic plan one of the priority themes that has been identified by this council is the concept of communicating and working together.”

Motkaluk noted city hall’s communication has become better, but acknowledged there’s room for improvement.

“I know that this council would like to see it set as a priority, and with it there are some action items that have been identified,” she said.

“One is developing a strategic communications plan, another one is a community feedback strategy, and that could be better utilizing Facebook and Twitter, and even our own website will see some improvements, and the third thing of course is promoting Swift Current and doing some brand enhancement.”

The City would also look to improve community, rural, regional, and provincial relationships.

Motkaluk noted the local rural municipalities would be a focus in the near future.

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