Digital Public Meetings? This City Has It Figured Out
Anywhere between hundreds to a few thousand citizens are tuning in to San Francisco’s virtual public meetings and webinars. Across the U.S., government leaders have noticed a similar rise in attendance, according to StateScoop. As people turn to community leaders for support during a time of uncertainty, governments have turned to technology to support civic engagement.
“It’s very important that our public retain the ability to know what government is doing,” said Linda Gerull, Chief Information Officer for San Francisco.
Before the pandemic, San Francisco had already implemented Granicus govMeetings. The software enables the City to stream and host public meetings online.
How Remote Public Meetings Work
After Mayor London Breed announced a stay-at-home order on March 16, staff were able to incorporate Cisco Webex, a web-conferencing software, so councilmembers and citizens could join public meetings from their homes. It only took a week before all the City’s public meetings were held in this format.
“Residents are able to watch the virtual meetings and also residents are able to give input and comments on individual agenda items just as if they were in person,” said Gerull.
Check out How to Use govMeetings With Video Conferencing Software for tips to run public meetings like San Francisco.
Aside from live virtual meetings, govMeetings Legistar also gives citizens and interested parties digital access to meeting agendas and minutes in a central, searchable portal. If a citizen is watching a meeting they could not attend live, they can select a topic from the meeting’s agenda, and the recording will skip to that topic, playing that portion of the meeting.
Bringing It All Together
“We are seeing an increase in civic engagement. We’re seeing more people participate in meetings,” said Gerull, Chief Information Officer for San Francisco. Coast to coast, citizens are relying on government transparency and leadership. Leading cities have supported civic engagement with agenda and meeting management solutions that support thousands to gather — virtually — for public meetings.
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