Community Engagement and Communication

“Our greatest asset is, and has always been, our people and the talent, wisdom and diverse viewpoints they bring to the table. Critical to ensuring public participation is having a leader who is responsive, solicits and integrates feedback, shares information, and welcomes constructive criticism to deliver better outcomes. I hope to continue being that leader for South Orange.” - Sheena

Through words and actions, Sheena opened a new chapter for public participation in South Orange with the addition of new citizen-led committees and making herself available to meet with any neighbor, on any issue, while regularly responding back to public concerns via email, phone, social media, and other venues. During her first year in office, the new website was launched including various apps to make it easier for residents to submit service requests, sign up for notifications and access public information. When it comes to participation and communication, Sheena believes “more is more” and there is so much more to be done.

Moving forward, Sheena will work to:

  • Produce a town-wide volunteer directory to ensure every resident and stakeholder is aware of the vast opportunities to get involved.
  • Introduce availability of phone and video conferencing to all committees, boards and commissions to allow members to join remotely, increasing participation of those who are limited in mobility or have family responsibilities that make it challenging to attend in person.
  • Revamp the village’s website to expand online payments, automatic bill-pay, and ensure the redesign provides an optimal user experience.
  • Hire a communication lead responsible for timely website updates, press releases, weekly electronic newsletters, social media updates, a redesign of the Gaslight,and achieving a milestone of having 50% of households signed up for electronic communications by 2020.
  • Adopt a 48-hour policy that any entity within the Village subject to the Open Public Meetings Act cannot hold a committee meeting unless their agenda is posted to the Village website no less than 48 hours before their regularly scheduled meeting.
  • Adopt a companion policy to agenda postings that require minutes be posted no less more 10 business days after being approved.
  • Modify policies and procedures to provide easier access for community groups the ability to obtain meeting spaces. We all rise with an engaged and active citizenry.
  • Introduce a South Orange Annual Report to share with the community our goals, outcomes, and expenditures, holding government accountable for what we said we would do and what we did.