By Karen Gadbois, The Lens staff writer |
Looking to address longtime complaints from civically engaged residents, city officials hope their new online calendar will become a one-stop shop for announcing public meetings and other city events.
The new calendar went live Thursday. It offers the options to send people text messages or emails regarding meeting times and places, as well as updating the recipient of any changes such as a cancellation or location change.
Residents can also subscribe to an RSS feed, add the calendar to Outlook or iCal, share the information on Facebook and Twitter, or e-mail the information to others.
The platform is “stable and robust,” said Denice Ross, director of applications in the city’s Information Technology and Innovation Department. She said the new calendar is designed to mitigate the human error that crashed the previous system.
Hosted “in the cloud,” the new calendar is a product of Trumba Connect, a company that provides services to many cities and state governments.
The city has been working on this project since it launched its new website more than a year ago, said Ryan Berni, spokesman for Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
He said that they envision “ a calendar of city sponsored events” as well as serving as a platform for formal public legal notices.
Earlier this week, the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission postponed a meeting because the proper legal notice was never posted, either in City Hall or on the city’s website.
After The Lens raised questions about the propriety of holding the meeting, the chairman said the meeting was delayed a day to ensure the public was properly notified.
Berni and Ross said the city is starting with boards and commissions as well as the “stat” meetings that Landrieu has instituted to track government efficiency. They also are meeting with New Orleans Police Department and other agencies to get them to join the new messaging system.
Ross said they are eager for feedback on the system. She said that user comments, which can be added at the bottom of the page, are not just welcome but an important part of the launch and refining of this new system.