For Immediate ReleaseSeptember 16, 2019
Organization for municipal government public information honors excellence
San Rafael, CA – The sure-fire way for a government agency to build trust with residents is to openly share information using communication tools the public likes to use. A national association that promotes and evaluates government communications has recognized the County of Marin for the quality of its outreach.
Marin County Parks was honored for the redesign of its website. Its staff captured a Silver Circle Award (second place) in the category of “Digital Interactive – Overall Website” for governments serving populations of 85,000 or more. Recognizing that its old website was 10 years old, Parks dedicated an internal team to focus on the project, led by Media Specialist Rosemary Passantino. The relaunch took place in April 2019 with assistance from the County’s Department of Information Services and Technology. Parks quickly received user feedback that information was clear, easy to find, elegantly styled, and fully responsive on smartphones, tablets and desktop devices. Savvy Award judges noted “awesome use of photography throughout the site,” and “It’s obvious the team put much thought into what the site’s audiences need to know.”
The Marin County Department of Public Works (DPW) captured a Silver Circle Award in the “Social Media – Other” category. DPW was honored for helpful and timely posts on its Facebook and Twitter profiles during winter storms. Over the course of three storms in January and February 2018, DPW posts included news about flooding, road closures, downed trees and power poles, safety resources, sandbag availability, and retweets from partnering agencies. Twitter impressions totaled more than 152,000 and grew by 14% during the time period; Facebook impressions were more than 30,000, up 9%. With Media Specialist Julian Kaelon handling the posts, DPW “did a great job getting the word out about a major event … and is a good example of how social media can be used in emergency situations,” the contest judges wrote.
Passantino and Kaelon are part of the County’s communications network that was created over the past 10 years. Public communication has been an emerging priority for the County since 2009 when a community survey identified it as an area for improvement and the Board of Supervisors responded with a directive to enhance outreach efforts. They are also members of an internal Public Information Team that strives to keep up with communication trends, share best practices between departments, plan and evaluate publicity efforts, and improve responses to media requests for interviews and information.
“We’ve been working hard to provide relevant and timely public communication to our residents,” said County Administrator Matthew Hymel. “It’s nice to know that our efforts are paying off and our employees are receiving well-deserved recognition.”
Since joining and submitting entries for Savvy Awards in 2012, Marin has won six first-place Savvy Awards, four second-place Silver Circle awards and six third-place Awards of Excellence.
Laine HendricksPublic Information OfficerCounty Administrator's Office
3501 Civic Center DriveSuite #325San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-7496Email: Laine HendricksCounty Administrator website