Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Difficulties and challenges": the city website

At my "Revitalization:let's make it personal" post from last week I received many thoughtful comments and ideas from concerned readers regarding the city website. City Councilor Michael Donovan has provided us with an update from the city council meeting last night where the issue was discussed. Thanks Michael. I have decided to post that here so my readers can be updated:

"Greetings:Tonight at the administration meeting, we received a briefing from the city's information officer about the difficulties and challenges of bringing the website up to full capacity. Much of the problem can be linked to poor decisions in past administrations, but also a lack of resources available to work with and publish content. In particular, within the city, the time and skill necessary to manipulate images, video, and even text rests in only a few people, who also have other responsibilities.Then, there is the need to make sure that all pages are consistent and follow similar themes.This all said, Michael D'Amore and I recommended to the manager that he provide a summary of the needs he has to move forward and get the site fully populated. Issues such as design can wait.As far as getting an improved presentation of our arts community, perhaps some people can get together and consider how the city could link to an arts website (perhaps co-sponsored by the arts commission), or even provided volunteers who can be authorized to update a city based site.I'm going to leave it to each of you to think about what is best. However, please know that I'll support whatever moves us to a point where we present the city's arts and culture in a worldclass way.Best regards,Michael Donovan"

He suggests an arts website. The Arts Commission already has a blog called "Allentown City Arts" which I link to at my sidebar. Maybe that can be updated. I am surprised that there is a lack of resources for the city website. Isn't this why we pay taxes? And there is a 14 million dollar surplus.
Since our local newspaper does not provide the citizens of Allentown with comprehensive coverage of city meetings and other developments, I believe the website should be viewed as an important and useful public service. It's an important resource for finding necessary information. I mean no offense to people who work for the city or in city govt., but if you people can't run a website, then why should I have confidence in your ability to run a city?

If you look at the list of all the city commissions, authorities, boards, corporations, councils, etc, there seem to be a lot of people paid to work for the city. I would think some of those people would "volunteer" to get it together and maintain a website. What do you think? Here's a link to city website: http://www.allentownpa.gov/
(Picture has no deep meaning, just for fun.)