1. The Open Government Task Force Initiative of SRT will work with City to: 1) Create a Community Engagement Department; 2) Establish a committee to develop and adopt "principles of civic engagement", and create an oversight body to follow implementation; 3) Hire a Community Engagement Director with proper authority; 4) Implement the recommendations from their OGTF committee; 5) Monitor discussions and give feedback to Council and staff; 6) Develop better communication – creating a webpage, fostering public discussion and acknowledgement of public input; and 7) Continue collaboration with key contacts at city.

  2. Comments to City Council on request by City Manager for direction to staff on implementation of Open Government Task Force report recommendations. 3.10 5:30 pm
    Santa Rosa Together stands in endorsement of the enactment of the Open Government TF report recommendations. We feel it will go a long way in developing a culture of community engagement.
    Your City Manager summarizes that the Immediate Actions for the Council to include:
    1. Setting a Council goal of “Open and Transparent Government”;
    2. Hiring a “communications director”;
    3. adopting a sunshine ordinance; and

    4. creating a City mission statement which embraces community engagement including developing a culture that values public engagement, focus on communication and policies that promote openness.

    First we again congratulate and thank the OGTF on a great job and report. As we hope you know already, SRT is a broad non-partisan group of Santa Rosa residents who are committed to getting more citizens engaged and improving the way we work together in the city. Our more than 150 members from all sectors of the city are ready to work with the Council and city staff to help with implementation. This will be a key priority for Santa Rosa Together over the next year.

    We offer the following Ideas for implementation:
    1. Changing the name of proposed new city director: We are pleased to have been asked by the City Manager to assist in development of the job description for this new position. And are pleased to see funding of the position on your agenda tonight.
    Naming is important, so we would like Council to consider a change in the title of the proposed new director from Director of Community Involvement and Communication to Director of Community Engagement . This will better reflect the intent of the report which describes a shift from the city doing things and then informing citizens to partnering with and engaging citizens in the work of the city.
    2. We believe that City’s efforts in the SW to evaluate annexation and create a specific area plan is a wonderful opportunity to have a process that focuses on developing public involvement and partnerships. A broad coalition of community members and organizations is now forming to ensure that the ongoing work in SW Santa Rosa brings the community together and gives them the voice and an organization they need to take the lead in their neighborhood. We believe that Council’s and the city’s support for and participation in this effort will develop into a model for the partnership and engagement we are looking for.

    3. We encourage you to direct the staff to launch a project to revamp city web site as a high priority. A key to citizen involvement in their government is access to easy to find and understand information. And which provides meaningful ways to provide input to the city staff and council.

    4. There are many, many important recommendations in your TF report. We support the Council to identify a committee/or task force to provide ongoing input and oversight to OGTF implementation. We suggest that you consider directing the newly reappointed CAB (Community Advisory Board), or consider the continuation of the OFTF from last year, or establish new task force for this role. We don’t want to loose momentum for this important effort.

    The Report and City Manager both rightfully call out the need for culture change in our workings as a city. Culture change for any organization is a struggle against in-grained and long unexamined beliefs in “how things are done here”. Please keep vigilant and put the implementation of the OGTF Report front and center in your work as a Council.

    Thank you.

  3. Comments to City Council on request by City Manager and Finance Department that the City Council adopt the resolution amending the FY 2014-15 budget and authorized positions (12.2)

    Santa Rosa Together endorses the adoption of the proposed resolution. We feel the actions proposed represent significant steps toward developing a culture of community engagement.
    Two items have been discussed by SRT, and have our full support:
    1. Establishing the position of “Director of Community Engagement”
    2. Website Redesign.
    There are several other items in these recommendations which are consistent with our mission and vision. Supporting city efforts to improve crime prevention, and improving the operation and maintenance of our recreation and park facilities are welcome actions. These are city functions which include broad community volunteers, and demonstrate well that it takes all of us to create a healthy environment for our children and families.
    Lastly, preparing for an “Open Door” Community Service Center is a bold action, hopefully designed to better serve our citizens when they come forward to partner with the City. SRT continues to stand ready to assist you in the implementation of all of these actions, and we thank you for your support.