But in the last year, Redlands made significant strides in informing and engaging their residents with newly developed technologies.
The success that Baker credits to having great people to work with has none the less made Redlands a leader, and made the decision of the PublicCEO Editorial Board easy. We are proud to name Carl Baker as Public Information Officer of the year, as part of our Second Annual PublicCEO Local Government Awards.
Have an iPhone? Now you can use it to file police reports. Police can use it to solve crimes.
Facebook? Yep. The Police department has someone who staffs the city’s Facebook page and uses it to answer questions for the city. In fact, if a resident is wondering why the helicopter is over their neighborhood, they’d be able to hear back from Redlands Facebook page in near-real time.
“The overarching message for us,” said Baker, “is wanting to create a way that the community feels they aren’t just being told things, but we’re listing to them too”
In fact, as the city pursued that dialogue, they sought the input from the community on staffing issues. Even before the search for a new Police Chief began, Baker used every technology the city has, and all its traditional outlets to the community, to drive out interested residents to a forum on what qualities they wanted in a new top cop.
“The people that we got to come out were really engaged,” said Baker.
Engagement has been his motto since he left the private sector in 2004 to join the City. Originally hired only as the PIO for the Police Department, he soon offered his services to the rest of the city’s departments. In 2007, a new city manager decided to take him up on the offer, moved him into the City Manager’s office, and he assumed responsibility of being Public Information Officer for the entire city.
That engagement is what he’s most proud of.
“What I’m most proud of isn’t the Facebook page or Redlands 3-1-1, it’s a philosophy that I’ve brought to the community as a whole of being more communicative and providing more information about what we are doing.”
It was the approach of providing more that helped the city when faced with challenges.
“I don’t think any city in the state or even the country wasn’t affected by the Bell Scandal,” said Baker. “That’s another area that I can say proudly that even before the state demanded [salary information], we were already putting it up on the website, and we put more up than anyone demanded.”
The site includes pay, benefits, how much of a budget each position oversees, how many other positions report to them, and the highest level of education attained.
“My philosophy has always been that we’ve got nothing to hide. If the residents know what we are doing, they’ll be supportive. And if they aren’t t supportive then we need to look at what it is we are doing.”
PublicCEO is as proud to present this award to Carl Baker as he is to defer the credit to others.
“Its not just me, its been the city manager, the city council have been supportive. And they have made it easier for me to do my job.”
Join us in congratulating Carl Baker from Redlands, California on this award in local government.
Other Winners Already Announced:
PublicCEO Service to the State Award
PublicCEO Ordinance of the Year Award
PublicCEO Blunder of the Year Award
Stay tuned this week for more Local Government Awards from PublicCEO.com. For more information, please contact the editor, Dan Oney at Dan@PublicCEO.com.