County Comment/County Information Update
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer
As some folks might know, I spend my Tuesdays in the County Commissioners’ meetings, listening to all the issues and action, then writing and disseminating a report on the meeting by days’ end.
The report goes by e-mail to all newspapers, radio and television outlets in the area, including of course, The Picket-News. E-mails are sent to officials of all the municipalities and the local delegation to the General Assembly, educators, County employees and the general public. On Wednesday, the meeting summary is posted to the County website, www.washco-md.net under the Commissioners Page pop-up list, and is sent to a list of direct “subscribers,” people who have asked that the summary be sent to their email addresses. And no, we don’t send it unless you request it.
Once the summary is published on the web, it is available to anyone, anywhere, worldwide. We make readers aware that the summaries are not the official “Minutes” that an elected body must publish, and direct them to those official documents, also located on the website. No computer? Free internet access sites are available at all branches of the Washington County Free Library, and at the information kiosk in Valley Mall. Citizens may access information about all activities and services that the County provides through a simple touch-screen interface.
We think the job we do is a pretty good one. If you want to see a history of an issue you can access archives back to July 9, 2002 when we first posted meeting summaries on the internet.
County Comment consists of a small portion of each week’s summary, usually the most important story of the week, but sometimes serves as a venue for those citizens who the County has honored for various achievements. We include photos of hometown folks that may not get printed elsewhere.
The Board of County Commissioners encourages public participation in meetings and welcomes suggestions for how we can do our jobs better.
Commissioners’ meetings have Citizens’ Participation time each week where you can comment, lodge a complaint, or find out more about an issue. One of the best ways to become better informed is to attend these meetings in their entirety, if you have the time to spare.
We value your opinion. To get your two cents worth in on how we can get information out to the public, email me at email@example.com, write me at 100 West Washington Street, Hagerstown 21740, or call me at 240-313-2077.