MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (July 25, 2016) - The Town of Mount Pleasant received a Municipal Achievement Award for its government outreach strategy. Officials accepted the award during the Municipal Association of South Carolina's Annual Meeting on July 16. The city won in the communications category. Twenty-six cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives.
Mount Pleasant is one of the fastest growing cities in America. Officials knew they needed to find ways to engage residents more and to hear diverse perspectives.
To develop their government outreach initiatives, town officials not only studied best practices from around the country but also asked the public, both in-person and online, how they would like to participate in town affairs.
Local officials created the Government Outreach Office dedicated to civic engagement and developed four innovative, but low cost, programs that can be replicated in all cities regardless of their size.
Coffee with the Mayor takes places at a local business where residents can discuss current events and concerns. Residents feel heard and, as an added benefit, the event supports a local business with the purchase of coffee and breakfast for attendees. Similarly, the town administrator holds mobile office hours at different locations in the community.
The town also schedules community roundtable meetings with community organizations, civic groups and neighborhood associations. These meetings give time for these groups to meet with their elected officials and senior city staff members to discuss community priorities, preferences and opinions. The small-group format allows for more in-depth discussion in an informal setting.
Another program is the town administrator's monthly E-brief. The electronic newsletter is filled with important information about local issues and city services.
"In Mount Pleasant, officials have implemented targeted efforts to transform their relationship with the public from merely customer service into collaborative partnerships," said Miriam Hair, executive director for the Municipal Association.
These winning entries represent innovative projects undertaken by Municipal Association member cities and towns. More information and a video about the project are available on the Association's website www.masc.sc (keyword: Achievement Awards).
The Municipal Association of South Carolina initiated the Achievement Awards in 1987 to recognize and encourage innovations and excellence in local government.