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An Official’s View

The continuing conversation about government communication on our website has generated a fair amount of interest, including one phone conversation with a Door County clerk who talked about the challenges government faces in getting the word out.

“I would love to do more, but I don’t know where I’d find the time,” this clerk told me. As citizens have placed more demands on local government, we haven’t eliminated old ones. As a result, towns across the peninsula that once relied on quarter-time clerks to handle the books now employ full-time clerks, and some employ additional administrators or administrative assistants. “It’s hard to keep up on the website, let alone find the time to do Facebook.”

This clerk told me that the state is at least starting to adjust some of its guidelines for local governments, such as allowing a municipal website to count as one of the places to post agendas and public hearing notices. “There are still a lot of regulations handed down by the state that haven’t caught up with the way the real world works right now.”

Then this clerk repeated a line that I’ve heard from many a frustrated official over the years.

“No matter how much you advertise a meeting or send information, somebody who disagrees with a decision is always going to say they didn’t know what was going on.”