Inter-Departmental Correspondence

County Manager’s Office



June 28, 2010


July 13, 2010







Honorable Board of Supervisors


Mary McMillan

Deputy County Manager (650) 363-4129


Communications Program Report



Accept this report.



In March 2007, your Board approved strategies to improve communications as recommended in the 2006 County Reorganization. The overall mission reflected your Board’s direction supporting the recommendations of internal and external work groups: effective external communications must reflect the County’s mission, vision, values, beliefs and goals through a consistent message to enhance the identity of the organization; information needs to be accessible, current and complete; and effective internal communications needs to come from the top, be consistent, provide opportunities for a dialogue and provide key information.


The priority recommendations included:


    Shift the County’s Internet focus from department-based to customer-driven with easy access, common language and identifiable icons;

    Establish a County Webmaster to improve web presence and e-government opportunities;

    Build capacity on the web;

    Create online service and employee directories;

    Conduct periodic surveys of community members and employees;

    Create an online County and community event calendar;

    Translation of important County documents;

    Develop communication policy and style guide and news release templates;

    Purchase and install informational kiosks;

    Redesign new employee welcome materials;

    Coordinate the County Communications Committee for ongoing improvements and plan implementation;

    Provide regular communication training opportunities; and

    Establish a countywide public affairs association.



Over the past year the County Manager’s Office of Intergovernmental and Public Affairs has:


    Created an online County and community event calendar;

    Established on the Internet and Intranet Spreading the News: A Resource Guide to Reach the Public, with extensive lists of media contacts, community organizations and elected officials and advice for reaching the press and public;

    Drafted the San Mateo County Style Guide to provide accurate and consistent place names, grammar, spelling, usage, terms and facts;

    Trained employees in how to use plain language to improve communication in a course in the Learning Management System, Writing for the Public and provided speech writing seminar for senior managers;

    Completed the departmental phase-in of Access San Mateo, which provides easy access to online service and program questions and answers;

    Evaluated Peak Democracy, an online citizen “town hall” SMC Forum to engage residents in community issues;

    Produced and hosted numerous shows on Peninsula Television to highlight County events and services;

    Launched GovDelivery, to deliver targeted communications to subscribers;

    Promoted the work of Boards & Commissions by hosting an appreciation event; member training; and complete redesign of the board and commission website;

    Facilitated the design of a logo for the Youth Commission and redesign of the website with input from youth;

    Partnered with ISD and the Commission on Aging’s ADA compliance committee to make the website more accessible;

    Hired County Webmaster to improve web presence and e-government opportunities; including creating SMC Budget Ideas, a site for employees and the public to submit ideas and comment on proposals to solve the budget challenge;

    Assisted departments in achieving communications objectives;

    Partnered with ISD to provide timely and easily accessible news and information on the County’s website;

    Organized with ISD and Peninsula Television the first live broadcast from the Board chambers.


Priorities in FY 2010-11 include working with local cable channels to create a consistent presence, strengthening countywide public affairs association, promoting the organization in a variety of means and using technology (video, podcasts, social media and web-based tools) to improve outreach.


Acceptance of this report contributes to the 2025 Shared Vision of a Collaborative Community by informing and engaging residents of our community.



Funding for the ongoing Communication Program and improvements was approved in the FY 2008-09/10 County Budget.