The West coast state of California is home to one of the largest populated states in the country, (39,995,077 residents) meaning that local governments have big shoes to fill when it comes to meeting the communication demands of citizens. Local government leaders across the U.S. understand the importance of bridging the gap between constituents and city staff for facilitating citizen engagement and forming meaningful interactions. Still, with the already large plate of tasks local government leaders constantly have on their hands, finding new inventive ways to create and enhance citizen engagement can be difficult. This is why we’ve compiled a list of shining customer stories from the West coast state- along with why it matters- in hopes to prompt inspiration from those who understand you best, your neighbors.
Read below to hear short stories about your peers on how they are facilitating citizen engagement with their constituents to empower both city staff and constituents alike with government solutions.
1. SANTA ANA, CA INCREASES PUBLIC MEETING ACCESS THROUGH THE USE OF SPANISH LANGUAGE TOOLS
The City of Santa Ana, CA - much like other cities in California- is home to a diverse population, which includes 77% of primarily Spanish-speaking constituents. This created a challenge to increase language access to public meetings while pivoting to remote meetings as matters shifted during the pandemic. The city’s prior agenda management system was a labor-extensive and manual process, which kept the team working well past midnight on their “Agenda Publication Days”. The city was then prompted with the need to shift toward a more automated and language-inclusive agenda management solution.
The city upgraded to OneMeeting, an agenda management solution with Google translate integration, and the city’s meeting agendas are now available in 100+ languages with minimal IT support. Spanish translators assist with live interpretations during meetings, and residents can listen to meeting recordings in their choice of English or Spanish. Besides that, the city was able to eliminate the long work hours of Agenda Publication Days with the automated and efficient platform. The cloud-based solution allows city staff to access the platform from anywhere, accommodating shifts in hybrid and remote city staff work.
A similar situation occurred in Ventura County, CA where the IT manager was faced with challenges with a non-intuitive or user-friendly agenda management platform.
2. HOW VENTURA COUNTY ELIMINATED SUPPORT HEADACHES AND IMPROVED THEIR AGENDA MANAGEMENT PROCESSES
John Lin, the IT manager of Ventura County, also faced challenges with his previous agenda management software. The software had limitations and was manual and labor extensive, much like the city of Santa Ana, CA’s legacy agenda management solution. Besides the agenda management issues, the legacy platform’s unstable video streaming platform created the risk of professionalism for the county too.
Ventura County turned to a new solution, OneMeeting, that helped optimize the agenda management process with its single end-to-end cloud-based solution. Additionally, Ventura County eliminated its video streaming headaches and consistent issues with our seamless video streaming module. The new solution focuses on the clerk's office and its personal, proactive customer service and support. With the new solution, the county enhanced its agenda management system and hit all the checkmarks (customer service, streamlined solution, video streaming capabilities) on its wish list for an agenda management system solution.
Next, we’ll dive into how the City of Cupertino increased transparency and efficiency for its 311 operations with a government-focused CRM solution.
3. CUPERTINO, CA CREATES TRANSPARENCY THROUGH DATA
The City of Cupertino was looking for a solution to increase transparency for service requests and track them in aggregate - everything from PCI to tree services, the city had dashboards for all sorts of local government services needing to be answered. Further, the city needed a platform that could integrate seamlessly with its existing solution, Cityworks. Cupertino involved city staff across all departments like Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Code Enforcement, and other departments in the decision-making process to ensure choosing the best possible solution. The city ended up choosing Rock Solid’s OneView CRM, OneLink mobile app, and APIs that integrate directly with Cityworks to create a two-way transfer of information that happens in real-time and brings all service requests into the city’s existing workflow.
With OneLink (the mobile app addition of OneView) the city created a customized Cupertino Connect app, that allows residents to submit 311 requests, see existing requests in their area, track progress, and receive communication from city staff surrounding their requests. To add on, the new platform’s integrations and APIs allowed important 311 engagement data to flow out of the CRM and into data visualization applications like Microsoft Power BI. These dashboards share 311 data with residents on a publicly available webpage to promote transparency. Department leaders and staff use an internal 311 dashboard to track, measure, and improve service delivery. The city now has data to leverage to its constituents regarding public service requests, and they solved the need to create more transparency through data.
Moving forward, we’ll discuss how the city of Escondido, CA leveraged a government solution to solve a greater problem existing in the area.
4. ESCONDIDO ELIMINATES GRAFFITI WITH AN AWARD-WINNING PROGRAM
Escondido, CA had seen a stunning surge in graffiti, with city crews eradicating over 72,000 tags in 2018 and 2019 alone. To take back the community from gangs and tagging crews, the city needed an efficient way to deal with the sheer volume of graffiti but do so affordably. They turned to technology for the answer. Adopting OneView by Rock Solid provided a custom mobile app to crowdsource graffiti reports from the community. The new innovative program enables residents to report graffiti where and when they see it using the mobile app, integrating service requests with its infrastructure management platform to facilitate work orders. Now, graffiti barely lasts a day.
This approach operates in very nearly real-time, according to Jake Nyberg, Deputy Director of Public works, “It gives us the flexibility to dispatch whoever is closest to the graffiti tag or the person who has the right color of paint to cover it or the right tools to do a larger job. The data also allows us to run reports to better plan for staffing needs and accurately budget for materials."
The city’s use of this government-focused CRM and development of the eradication platform resulted in Escondido receiving three prestigious awards for the Graffiti Eradication Program, and helped resolve a greater challenge in the community.
Technology is powerful, and government solutions are actively helping communities across the U.S. bridge the gap between communication for constituents and city staff. The West coast state of California is home to a large population, but big or small, the need for improved citizen engagement persists everywhere, and sometimes learning happens best from our state neighbors. We hope to inspire citizen engagement improvement with these anecdotes from the people who understand best- other local government leaders- whose stories have met challenges and pioneered citizen engagement solutions. For more Golden State shining examples, visit the full Rock Solid California customer success story page.