Pontiac, Michigan -- Oakland County, Michigan is working to get the word out to its 62 local municipal governments about its free email subscription and mobile alert service. So far, several communities have jumped on board, and about another dozen are in the process of launching within the next month.
The service is helping local governments improve communication with its residents and businesses, supporting transparency in government, and helping reduce the cost to do so. This first-of-its-kind collaboration effort was announced last February by County Executive L. Brooks Patterson at his 2009 State of the County Address.
"Offering this service to our municipalities is a great way for Oakland County to promote regionalism by providing a valuable shared service that's free and easy for them to use," Patterson said. "We're hoping to reach more communities with the service because it can also help them to eliminate significant printing and mailing costs during these difficult economic times."
Participating local governments place subscribe links on their websites for the public to sign-up free of charge. Residents simply sign up with an email address and/or mobile number to begin receiving messages and alerts related to the topics they choose. The service also increases the speed with which local governments can communicate with residents about important issues, such as emergency alerts, and upcoming events such as local election reminders.
"This is a great example of government collaboration at work. It is an excellent opportunity to provide more services to our residents at no cost to the city," says Brenda Cole, director of Information Technology for Berkley, Michigan, whose service went live in August 2009 at www.berkleymich.org .
As local communities go online with the service, visitors to their websites have the option to sign-up for the community's subscription options, as well as those of other participating communities and the County.
Currently, the Oakland County website offers nearly 160 subscription options at www.oakgov.com/subscribe, with 22 offered as mobile/wireless alerts. Subscription topics cover public safety, special events, parks and recreation activities, flu shots, pet adoptions, and more. The County just rolled out the service to its Sheriff’s Office (www.oaklandsheriff.com) and its 12 community substations, where they're using it to send "most wanted" notices, news updates, emergency alerts, and more.
Offering the service to its local municipalities also allows Oakland County's departments and agencies to cross-promote content from participating community websites.
"Email subscription provides our residents with time-sensitive information in a quick and cost-effective manner," said Phil Bertolini, Oakland County CIO/deputy county executive. "This offering enhances services to residents and businesses throughout the County, enabling government transparency. Information is now easily available to the public with no boundaries."
To provide its municipalities with email and digital subscription services free of charge, the County expanded its partnership in early 2009 with GovDelivery, the world's leading email and digital subscription services provider for the public sector. Oakland County chose GovDelivery to more efficiently manage its digital communications, reach more individuals with information they want, and because it is less expensive than in-house options. Since its partnership with GovDelivery began in June 2008, Oakland County has sent more than 707,000 messages to its approximately 64,000 subscribers.
To see a list of local municipalities using this service, visit www.oakgov.com/subscribe. Contact your local government office if you don't see your city/village/township listed as using this service. To learn more about the free service, Oakland County municipalities can visit www.oakgov.com/egov or call 248-452-9846.
GovDelivery is the leading provider of government-to-citizen communication solutions. GovDelivery's digital subscription management solution provides organizations with a fully-automated, on-demand public communication system. For more information, visit www.govdelivery.com.