October 2012 - Parks & Recreation - 30

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NETWORK BUZZ

NRPA'S Online Community Forums
Address Relations with City Hall

"

W

HAT IS YOUR #1 TIP for improving communication between your agency and your
local elected government? Whether it is the mayor, city council, county executive, county
council, or governor's office, what is the most effective method you've learned to keep
your elected officials informed and onboard?

Good question. In the past I have spent time, long before
budgets are due or being prepared, with elected officials to
" educate " them on the importance of the parks, trails, and
greenways that we have and how important they are to the
community. I've spent time " creating " photo-op opportunities for them to get their " face " in the public. They've enjoyed the PR, and come election time, they'll remember
who helped them.
If you ignore them or don't spend quality time with them,
be prepared for cuts to your budget. Take that first step and
improve the relationship with the government, elected officials, and the community.
-Jeffrey A. Larsen, jefflarsen32@gmail.com
Invite them to your events-as a participant, not just a
speaker-and get them involved. Include them on your eblast
list, sharing announcements about programs and activities.
Share positive comments and reactions from participants
showing that you have the support of the community. Attend
their meetings and work sessions, periodically announcing
a special recognition, supporter, or project. Good luck!
-Denise Lanza, dlanza@morrisparks.net
As already stated, we are in the best position to get the
elected officials valuable and positive " face " time with the
public and local media. In addition to great comments and
suggestions already provided, I found that having parks
and facilities that the community supports and is proud of
provides the best way to get the support of elected officials.
Great parks result in great praise; anything that gives your
community bragging rights over others is music to mayors everywhere.
-Dianne L. Hoover, dhoover@BakersfieldCity.us

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Parks & Recreation

| OCTOBER 2012 | WWW.NRPA.ORG

There is nothing like a surprise or providing insufficient
information. Within a strong mayor form of government,
make sure to fully inform/discuss major policy/political issues before you begin work on them. Periodic milestone
updates are a necessity.
For board/city council-requested action, make sure
that if items have not been fully briefed prior to an action,
be comprehensive in providing overviews. Typically, keep
in mind the " who, what, where, why, and how " questions in
providing summaries. And it is always beneficial to place
oneself in an elected official's shoes and ask questions about
issues that one would want to know about. Make sure they
are researched so that one is in a position of preparedness
if questions are asked. "
-Paul Kaftanski, pkaftanski@ci.everett.wa.us
We have to engage them directly, so they have first-hand
knowledge that we are taking steps to reach our goals and
objectives, which should be aligned with the vision of the
elected body. Throughout this, they have to believe that we
are being efficient and effective with our resources.
-Bradley B. Barnes, bbarnes@aikencountysc.gov

NETWORK BUZZ appears monthly in Parks & Recreation.
Questions are posed to members of NRPA Connect, the interactive, social media section of the association's website.
It's a convenient and effective way for NRPA members to
connect, collaborate, and communicate. For more information and to join one of the site's many groups, visit: www.
nrpa.org/Membership/NRPA-Connect-Online-Community.
Topics are always welcome: email dtaylor@nrpa.org.



October 2012 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of October 2012 - Parks & Recreation

October 2012 - Parks & Recreation - 1
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