Friday, February 21, 2020

Everywhere At Once - Communicating and Growing

The Old Way - Say Nothing

I Guess Passing Money Under The Table  To
Is a Form of Communication.  
The last administration took obfuscation and made it an art form. 

I was constantly amazed at their willingness to openly disdain the public requests for information, let alone for any semblance of discussion about important issues. 

Well, of course it turned out they were hiding some pretty nasty stuff so I get it now.

Fun fact though.  Connie Leon Kreps has joined the mayor's Facebook page at #OurNBV and I for one am waiting breathlessly until her first post.  You should join it too.  It's a great resource for North Bay Village.

Now it's not fair to simply compare our current mayor, Brent Latham, to the previous mayor.  That bar is way too low.  What I do want to talk about is how much Latham communicates.

The Mayor Latham Way - Communicate Everything

Typical Scene In  Latham's Office

I've compared Latham (favorably) to atoms that show up in two places at once, which is a real thing that happens and you can read it about it here in Popular Mechanics.

Latham saw very few community events and those that were in place were focused on a theme so he started a Village wide Restaurant of the Month, basically a Happy Hour where anyone in the Village could show up, meet neighbors, see a business and talk to the mayor.

Latham's first big project was the Charette, designed to get as many Villagers into one place to talk about what the Village is and what it realistically can be. #NBV100  is going to form the basis of a coherent strategic plan moving forward. 

Latham has attended as many of the board meetings as he can and made his mobile his constant companion.  He's been featured at meetings on resiliency throughout the region and nationally and even took time to pen an op-ed on the Village efforts in the Sun-Sentinel so when you Google North Bay Village, you see something other than the dire headlines of the past.

Now in the biggest move, he's opened a Facebook Group called #OurNBV so he can directly discuss the plans for the future with a group broader than the usual suspects, the ones who show out up at town meetings.  And by the way, he's taking some heat for it from people who believe government is too complicated for the governed but that's not a core principle with him.

Cool.  So Why Bring This Up?  

We have a Mayor who communicates constantly and acts on new information.  That's a good thing.

We have a new Public Information Officer, Malarie Dauginikas, who has an excellent background in publicity, reporting and social media use.   Her boss, Village Chief of Staff, Mario Diaz, is 100% supportive of getting the information out so we can expect good things there.  I will write about those efforts in a separate post.

Remember though that in our system of government, the mayor is only one among five and for anything to happen, it takes at least three votes from the commission. 

None of the other four, Vice Mayor Wilmoth, Commissioners Strout, Jackson, and the other guy, have made any effort at all to reach out to residents.  This is not great for the residents and it's bad for the commissioners.  They are spoon fed information about the Village and have little first hand knowledge of the issues affecting Villagers or access to the vast amount of institutional and community knowledge their constituents have.

But in the meantime, at long last we have a mayor who talks with us, to us and even sometimes at us and we are much better off for it.

Kevin Vericker
February 23, 2020

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