By Chris Marchand
A new City of Dryden staffer is setting her sights on improving the way the municipality communicates both internally and with the public.
Strategic Initiatives and Communications Coordinator Stephanie Egelton hails from Southwestern Ontario and holds a Masters in Public Administration as well as a recent background in print journalism.
City Clerk Debra Kincaid says Egelton’s position, currently funded for one year by the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), can hopefully be extended upon re-application in 2018.
“We’ve engaged with the public and internally with our staff since 2016 and listened very clearly to them,” said Kincaid. “We have to improve our communications and how we engage with people both internally and externally with the public. This, along with council approving a new communications policy, starts the implementation of that strategy. Having Stephanie on board is key to us moving that forward.”
Egelton says she plans to make an impact on the communciations culture of the City of Dryden by being a good resource for those around her who may need help in communicating ideas to staff, public or the press in a clear, efficient manner via press releases, social media or other formats. One of her first tasks is major redesign of the City’s website.
“I’m trying to find ways that communication works here,” says Egelton. “There are many staff members here who have never worked in an organization with concrete communications, or a dedicated person in that role, many people who are brilliant at their jobs but don’t come from a municipal background. How to write a media release, how to write a notice, how to speak to the press — it’s not that they don’t understand it, it’s that they were never taught how because the private sector is very different than the municipal environment.”
Kincaid says the next three to six months will see the formation of the city’s communications plan and with it some visible changes in how the city operates in terms of the distribution of information.
In the realm of city council communications, Egelton says the city’s approach will be proactive and transparent.
“It’s that mix of negative and positive — I don’t really see it as those two sides, I see it as reality,” she said. “We want to give the real picture. That’s important.”