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Oakland County Engages Residents Online

Public Date: 2/9/2011 12:00 AM
Contact: Bill Mullan, Media and Communications Officer
Phone Number: 248-858-1048

Pontiac, Michigan -- Oakland County has launched an online public forum to engage residents in local government decision making, thanks to a successful partnership between the county's eGovernment team and Information Technology Management students from Michigan State University.

Oakland County will pose questions about local government priorities, program development, and other topics for public consideration on the county's web site. Residents will be able to respond to questions, make suggestions, post comments, and rank proposals by voting for the ideas they like best. This public input will then be used to shape the future development of Oakland County government programs and services.

"Staying connected to the grassroots is fundamental to the democratic process," said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. "This will be an invaluable tool for measuring the impact our decisions could have on our constituents."

Working under the guidance of Oakland County's eGovernment staff, MSU students developed plans to implement the county's public suggestion and discussion forum using a technique called crowdsourcing.

"We were impressed with the students' professionalism and the quality of their work," said Phil Bertolini, Oakland County CIO and deputy county executive. "The people of Oakland County will be able to experience more transparency, interactivity, and participation in local government because of the students' work on this project."

The members of the student team were Jonathan Brier of Portage, Michigan; Phil Janis of Dewitt, Michigan; Scott Hardy of Southgate, Michigan; and Billy Halbower of Holton, Michigan. Brier continued working to implement the project during an internship with Oakland County eGovernment.

"Projects like this one create a bridge between classroom studies and real-world business operations, giving our students valuable on-the-job experience that will help them move into the job market after graduation," said Dr. Constantinos K. Coursaris, assistant professor at Michigan State University's Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media.

Oakland County was recently ranked one of the most digitally advanced counties in the nation on the Center for Digital Government's 2010 Digital Counties Survey. Learn more about Oakland County's online services and eGovernment programs at

For media inquiries, please contact Phil Bertolini, Deputy County Executive/CIO, at (248) 858-0815.