Fort Collins, Colo., mayor chats up citizens
- By Daniel Keegan
- Jul 20, 2000
The city of Fort Collins, Colo., will hold its fifth City Talk
today, connecting citizens to the mayor and other government officials through
an online chat site.
The moderated chats were the result of a brainstorm between Mayor Ray
Martinez and his staff. Martinez will chat for an hour today, starting at
"The intent is to have another way to connect with citizens and make
it convenient for them," said Kelly DiMartino, the city's communications
and public involvement coordinator. Though the city holds open houses and
other meetings, they are an inconvenience to citizens because they have
to leave their homes, DiMartino said.
Fort Collins, a city of 116,000 about 45 miles north of Denver, held
three pilot sessions this winter. The official chats began in May. Martinez,
the city manager and the transportation services director have all participated.
DiMartino said the mayor would participate either monthly or bimonthly,
in addition to other officials when necessary, such as during an important
project. During the first few chats, DiMartino said that an average of 12
citizens participated, but she expects the number to grow as the project
Citizens are required to provide their e-mail addresses and a sign-in
name so that they
can remain anonymous if they want, although they are encouraged to use
their own names. They must also adhere to a policy restricting the comments
to the topic.
DiMartino said the chats so far have been a "valuable tool" and that
no chatters have acted inappropriately.
The city spent $4,300 on e-Share Expressions software to set up the