County official to update public via social media

Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese hopes to have constituents following her in droves — and also responding to messages she plans to send in 140 characters or less.

For the uninitiated, Pugliese this week began actively posting to her new Twitter account — you can follow her @MesaCountyRose — as another way to reach out about her schedule and presumably important topics related to her job.

It’s possible subject hashtags like #opengovernment, #transparency or #boccschedule may find their way into Pugliese’s future tweets, as they’re reasons she cites for her recent test-phase turn toward social media.

“People have no concept of what we do every day,” Pugliese said during a recent workshop with county information technology staff. “Changes in (my) schedule are what prompted this, and just letting constituents know about important issues that we’d like feedback on.”

As elected representatives, county commissioners are required by law to post in a public place a schedule of the meetings they have planned for the week. Commissioners have to give 24-hour notice if two or more of them are set to meet to discuss county business and potentially give direction, according to Colorado law.

Each Thursday evening usually, their public schedule for the upcoming week gets posted to a bulletin board on the first floor of the east entrance at 544 Rood Ave.

But by the end of the week, the schedule is often a host of cross-outs and cancellations, and Pugliese hopes it will be easier to keep folks informed of all the changes via Twitter.

“Part of what started this was, how do I get people to see what I’m doing?” Pugliese said. “Things get changed and we don’t have a good way of getting that out to the community.”

In light of some recent decisions made by commissioners, which The Daily Sentinel has raised questions about in regard to meeting the letter of the state’s Open Meetings Law, Pugliese hopes the modern change might be helpful there as well.

“From the media’s standpoint, I want them to know where I am at and what I’m doing — and that we’re being transparent and communicative,” she said.

While she admittedly will need to get up to technological speed, Pugliese hopes to eventually use her Twitter account for more personal information sharing beyond the technicalities of her schedule. She envisions future tweets about upcoming meetings of interest, specific topics in which the public might be interested and insights about county services of which folks might not be aware.

Personal messaging is something she wants to share with people as well, despite her admitted “lack of a filter” sometimes.

That might make her a great follow, though.

“The big thing is learning how to say (what you want) in 140 letters or less. It’ll teach you to be succinct, that’s for sure,” said county IT Director Frank Whidden.

Whidden hopes that what county staff learns from Pugliese’s foray into social media could spread to other departments, perhaps road and bridge or those of other local elected officials.



COMMENTS

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She’ll keep you updated on anything that isn’t being decided in a secret meeting.  Was this really news?

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