GovLove Episode 11: Public Relations Specialist in Macon-Bibb County, GA

This week's episode of GovLove, our podcast on local government, Larry Laconi of SeeClickFix sits down with Denise Mercer, the Public Relations Specialist for Macon-Bibb County, GA. Denise has a tough role managing the concerns of both citizens and various departments in the county -- but she does it all with poise, kindness, and humility.

Throughout the interview, she says a few pretty nice things to say about SeeClickFix (#humblebrag). That's the thing about talking to Denise; it always turned into a compliment battle! The main takeaway, however, is that Macon-Bibb County has found the intersection of citizen empowerment and efficient government services. And they want to tell other counties all about it!

If you're more of a reader, our favorite quotes by Denise are below. Also, are you a call taker? Do you want to build a call center in your town? Have interesting call stories? We want to hear from you! Contribute your thoughts by tweeting at@GovLovePodcast.

"My role is to make sure that the citizen voice is heard, that's the first thing. And second, to make sure we provide the requested services in a timely manner."

"I love SeeClickFix. To me, it's the best thing we've had as far as customer relations management. And because we have it, we're able to do our jobs and enjoy what we do. And that makes a difference too -- to really like your job."

"I have seen over the course of the years I've worked in government an almost complete turnaround in the attitude the people have with government. At one point, we were just 'the government, the enemy'. Now, we're 'the government, and this is the government that I can go and talk with someone."

"Any time a work order is closed, they will say thank you for fixing this -- thank you for keeping my neighborhood free of this, or keeping my neighborhood in such a way that I'm proud to be here or we feel good about living here because potholes are repaired, right-aways trammed, there are lights here. We feel safe."

"We definitely support the use of SeeClickFix in Macon-Bibb County. Every time the mayor has a town hall meeting or forum, or people just come up to him on the street -- he's gotten comments like 'Hey Mayor, I like that SeeClickFix program' or 'Mayor, can we get someone to do a SeeClickFix presentation over here?' It gives us a feeling of accomplishment as employees. Because sometimes...people say 'the government doesn't care" -- but we do. Because we have to live in our own communities. Even though we work for the government, we still live in communities. We care. I care as much about other communities in Macon as I do about my own."

"Prior to SeeClickFix, we had a database access type work-order system and with everyone being in different departments, it was not feasible to access records to request information from one department to another. But with SeeClickFix, we can access that information; even if I send a work order to Public Works, I can access that information at any time -- or facilities management, property maintenance. So when a citizen calls in for follow-up asking 'What's going on with my issue?' if they call customer service they will get an answer; if they call the Public Works Department they will get an answer. And it's a consistent answer. . . [the information] is right there in front of you."

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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 atwww.elgl.organd SeeClickFix