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Building Community Trust Through Transparency

Public engagement is an important part of creating thriving communities. It provides a mechanism for government entities to remain transparent by presenting information, collecting feedback and engaging in a two-way conversation with their constituents.  Public Records Requests (also known as FOIA) is an important component to sharing information and ensuring a spirit of transparency in local government.  

What many may not realize, however, is that providing access is not always easy. It often requires substantial human effort to accurately and thoroughly respond to information requests. In addition, volume has increased right as municipalities are experiencing record-level staffing level challenges. But there is hope. Well-designed processes, technology, a solid strategy and appropriate training can make all of the difference.  

Join us on-demand for a conversation between Public Records Expert Cindi Mansell and Smart Cities Researcher, Chelsea Collier, to learn more about the critical role of Public Records/FOIA, how it has evolved over the years and what is required to drive positive change. We will talk about tangible steps municipal leaders can take to introduce efficiency and accuracy and ensure the public has access to information that they need so that every community member can participate in a meaningful way.  

About Chelsea Collier:
Chelsea connects the tech, government and social impact sectors to create smarter cities and more connected communities. She shares information, consults and convenes sectors though her platform Digi.City. She also serves as the Editor-At-Large for Smart Cities Connect and is a Co-Founder of Impact Hub Austin. She is a 2018 Marshall Memorial Fellow and a 2016 Eisenhower Fellow. Her research focuses on smart city policy and global best practices. Her work has also been featured in Inc.com, Venture Beat, the Chicago Tribune and dozens of other publications. She lives in Austin, Texas where she is active in the local tech and social impact community and serves on the boards of Austin CityUP, Austin Forum, and the Austin Tech Alliance. Her masters and bachelor degrees are from the University of Texas at Austin. In the Fall of 2021, she will begin the doctoral program at the University of Texas, School of Information and will serve as a research assistant to the Good Systems Program, which seeks to design AI technologies that benefit society. 

About Cindi Mansell:
Cindi Mansell was employed in Municipal Government for over 30 years in the Planning and City Recorder realms. Until her retirement in the Spring of 2020, she administered the Government Records Access Management Act (GRAMA) Program for Salt Lake City Corporation (approximately 15,000 records requests annually). She served on the Utah State Records Committee from 2015-2019 and remains a Master Municipal Clerk and Certified Records Manager. 

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