How can counties and municipalities work together to improve citizen services?

Episode 9 of GovLove, our podcast on local government, was a little bit special. Last Wednesday, here at SeeClickFix, we did a webinar with two of our partners: St. Petersburg, FL and Pinellas County, FL.

We weren't planning on turning the webinar audio into a podcast but it turned out to be not only a densely informative and interesting conversation, but also an crucially important one.

The theme was "How counties and municipalities can work together to improve citizen services" -- and more than that it was really at its core about a county and city who are standing side by side to strive for open, public, and accessible government for their citizens.

Here's the episode (and below is digest of our top favorite quotes from the conversation):

"Ideally, what we'd like to see in St. Pete is all of our neighbors being on the same technological platform. If we're all under that umbrella of SeeClickFix then that process of getting things fixed would be seamless to the citizen. We can communicate to our neighboring municipalities and let them know when it's their issue to address and get work done very smoothly."

-David Flintom, St. Petersburg

"And the real key is getting [other municipalities] to understand the underlying intelligence of the backend of [SeeClickFix]. It's not like "well, you're doing an app and they're doing an app and they're doing an app" but they don't show the same backend intelligence. The goal is to get everyone on the same platform with the same categories, ownership, routing, etc. Everyone can have their own autonomy while collectively leveraging the same backend intelligence."

-Michael Roiland, Pinellas County

"Being the eyes of our community, [citizens] can see things we can't see and they can send it to us so quick...and somebody is going to make sure it gets to the right department, municipality, agency, etc."

-Stella Mansfield, Pinellas County

"Initially, we were looking to improve of service to our citizens. The system that we were using a year ago was a little antiquated, clunky, and not very intuitive for citizens. Plus it was very one-way communication. Citizens would ask us for assistance for services and we would behold that request and move onto the next project, but there was never any communication back to that citizen. And that's one of things we like about SeeClickFix: the two-way communication between citizen and city, so when the work is done we can communicate back to them that the works been done. Citizens can also communicate with each other through SeeClickFix. We also have the added benefit of being able to step back and see the data that SeeClickFix provides us. And see how we're performing as city down to the departmental level."

-David Flintom, St. Petersburg

"The way that it used to work was that a citizen within the St. Petersburg city limits would submit an issue and it would go directly to the county. This worked, but it added a lot of time ot the process. Then, in June 2014 of last year, we became stand-alone partners with SeeClickFix and we took administrative control of those issues within city limits. I don't think anybody could have been happier than Pinellas County because the lion's share of the work that was coming to them was coming back to us anyway. So we not only could take a lot of time out the equation, but citizens could contact us and we could respond to them with how we would handle their issues in a more timely manner. And now we have a relationship with Pinellas County -- we're actually an administrator on Pinellas County's SeeClickFix application. If one or two issues do slip through from a citizen that has to come to us but goes to Pinellas County first, they just use the assign tool to send it back to us and we take it from there. The citizen doesn't really need to know who's fixing their issues as long as it gets fixed and with SeeClickFix that process is very seamless."

-David Flintom, St. Petersburg

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GovLove is hosted and produced by SeeClickFix and Emerging Local Government Leaders. ELGL is a network of local government folks with a passion for connecting, communicating and educating. Learn more about ELGL at www.elgl.org and SeeClickFix at gov.seeclickfix.com.