Hoping to engage residents, Norwalk hires communication consultant

NORWALK – Hoping to find new ways to increase civic engagement, Norwalk’s City Council on Tuesday hired a public affairs and communications consultant that will develop a plan on how Norwalk can better communicate with the public. The agreement will pay Tripepi Smith & Associates up to $107,500. The firm will interview residents, city officials and other stakeholders over the next 14 weeks as it develops its plan, which will then be presented to council members.

Norwalk has made community engagement a priority over the past year. A redesigned website was launched in November with mobile capabilities and a streamlined design.

The city also uses its Facebook page and Norwalk Now newsletter to share community news and announcements.

Norwalk employed a public information officer until last October, when Jeff Hobbs resigned from the position. Norwalk is using the money from that position to finance the consulting agreement.

“Tripepi Smith will work with the City staff to review all City communication activities,” Tripepi Smith & Associates wrote in its proposal to Norwalk. “This can include a media audit of coverage the City has received in the last six months, analysis of wins and losses, a review of all media outlets from radio to TV to bloggers to newspapers, an inventory of all community communication touch points in City processes, an analysis of who owns these touch points and a review of the target audience for each. An assessment of electronic communications, including the City website and social media outlets, will be included in this assessment.”

Council members said they were excited to find new ways to communicate with residents.

“I think this is going to really sharpen our game up,” said Mayor Pro Tem Leonard Shryock.

“This is about communicating with all residents, not just those who come to our meetings,” added Mayor Marcel Rodarte.

In other action, the City Council on Tuesday:

  • Approved improvement plans for a 1-mile stretch of alleyway just west of Studebaker Road, between Rosecrans Avenue and Alondra Boulevard.

The alley will be repaved with asphalt instead of concrete to avoid potential conflicts with underground utilities. Concrete swales and drive entrances will also be repaired.

The total project cost is $350,000, with funding from Measure R.

  • Granted use of the civic center lawn to the Norwalk Lions Club for its annual carnival April 29 through May 4.

Council members also waived a $1,000 security deposit and agreed to provide two sheriff’s deputies for the four-day event. Norwalk’s total expense will be $5,414.

Last year, the carnival generated nearly $8,000 for the Lions Club, which it puts back into the community through scholarships and support of local non-profits.

  • Approved the Norwalk Senior Center’s proposed board of directors.

Board members include president Julie Duran; vice president Esperanza Hale; treasurer Pauline Testa; secretary Marlene Hardy; and board member Lorenzo Javier.

Their one-year terms expire Dec. 31.

 

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Published: Jan. 22, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 41