Communication is Key to Jacobson
By John Anderson
In an interview last Thursday, Auburn Town Manager Julie Jacobson welcomed the new Auburn Mass Daily, adding, “People miss that daily news opportunity.” Since the Daily Voice closed down in March, Auburn has lacked the hyper local news to which many of us had become accustomed. Informing the public is very important.
Auburn launched a Social Media Initiative on July 17, and Ms. Jacobson is pleased with the results so far. “Facebook is reaching the 24-36 year olds in town.” Combined with Twitter, the town’s quarterly newsletter and E-subscribe news, communication has never been better between our local government and the citizens of Auburn. She believes that increasing communication reduces citizen anxiety and enhances transparency in government by telling the people, “What you did, and why you did it.”
For more urgent communication, Auburn utilizes the CodeRED emergency notification service. When a citizen or business signs up through the town’s website, they can choose the delivery system. A single method or combined methods can be selected including telephone, cellular phone, text message and email. Currently, CodeRED is reaching different demographics than Facebook, and Jacobson urges all citizens to take advantage of this potentially lifesaving service. It is easily accessed on the Auburn Guide and an FAQ section should clear up any concerns.
Accountability is another priority for our Town Manager. Since her reorganization plan is now fully in place, there is a defined town government structure with clear levels of responsibility. Some of this looks a little odd to the outside observer since in the past some departments were a single person. Related jobs have been combined into departments with a responsible head and a defined chain of command.
Another recent change is the implementation of a CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) Policy for town employees. Although there have been no incidents, Ms. Jacobson stated that criminal background checks for certain employees were in the best interest of the public. People like inspectors, who enter private residences during the course of their daily jobs, need to have passed a CORI check. CORI checks are also a requirement for many citizens from youth coaches to volunteers in our public schools.
We will be hearing a lot from Town Manager Julie Jacobson as she steers Auburn in a positive direction. The Town Charter changes approved by Auburn voters a few years back, including creation of the Town Manager position, are showing great improvements in our community.