Public Information & Customer Service Committee Meeting Minutes February 28, 2017

For your consideration, please review the minutes from the Public Information & Customer Service Committee Meeting on February 28, 2017:

Public_Information_&_Customer_Service_Minutes_with_Attach_2-28-17

To read the minutes please open or download the pdf from the link above, or you may see more below:

Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water & Sewer Commission

1703 Gloucester Street, Brunswick, GA 31520

Commission Meeting Room

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 2:00 PM

PUBLIC INFORMATION & CUSTOMER SERVICE COMMITTEE MINUTES

PRESENT:                             

Steve Copeland, Chairman

Cornell Harvey, Commissioner

Donald Elliot, Commissioner

Jimmy Junkin, Executive Director

Jay Sellers, Public Information Officer

ABSENT:                               

Robert Bowen, Commissioner

ALSO PRESENT:                 

John Donaghy, Chief Financial Officer

Chairman Copeland called the meeting to order at 2:06 PM.

 PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD

There being no citizens that wished to address the Committee, Chairman Copeland closed the Public Comment Period.

 DISCUSSION:

  1. Vision for Public Information and Customer Relations of the BGJWSC – J. Sellers /J. Junkin

Jay Sellers advised that the current mission statement was last written in 2005, prior to the formation of the organization of the BGJWSC in 2008.  He noted that we have been operating under that mission statement, but it has not been well publicized within the organization and that we have not been specifically referring to that in our day to day operations and indicating that this is “exactly what we are doing”.  Jay added that Mr. Junkin had held a small meeting to discuss the mission statement and a revision of it.  Mr. Junkin began this discussion with the mission statement specific to the Public Information and Customer Relations Committee and the key message that the committee is trying to communicate to the public in the bigger picture.  One message is that we are the lifeblood in the community with respect to the maintaining of the system.  If it is not maintained, then the quality of life of our community goes down, and economic opportunities go down.  He noted the question of how do we get our message out to the community and make sure that citizens understand the significance of the water utility, its role in the community, and its value to the community.  Mr. Junkin then shared the rough draft of the mission statement for the committee.  “The BGJWSC safely provides quality drinking water and environmentally responsible sanitary sewer service to the residents and businesses of Glynn County and the City of Brunswick at reasonable rates while meeting or exceeding associated regulatory requirements.”  He then followed up with the vision of how we see that mission occurring and being executed. “The vision is to be deemed best in class amongst our peer utilities.”  He explained the term “best in class” as meaning that we cannot be compared to the very large communities such as Atlanta or those that have many more (in magnitude) capabilities and resources to provide greater and more services within their water & sewer utilities.  BGJWSC can only be compared to water utilities in similar sized communities.  The expectations for “best in class” would include the example that when similar sized utilities are resolving issues and problem they might look to BGJWSC to discover what we have done to resolve our issues, and then make contact with our staff as a resource to gain help from to figure out what is going on and solving issues.  Mr. Junkin then discussed 8 core principles to help us achieve the vision and mission.  (1.) Achieve the mission objectives for the utility with the implementation of the BGJWSC business plan which utilizes key attributes effectively managing utilities and incorporates programs designed to improve short and long term utility performance. (2.) Demonstrate leadership in service delivery and customer service. (3.) Develop the benchmarks and metrics to compare peer utilities and measure interim performance while continuously striving for improvement throughout the utility. (4.) Adhere to the regulatory requirements to protect citizens and the environment. (5.) Provide open and honest and timely communication and information impacting BGJWSC stakeholders. (6.) Maintain a safe working situation for all BGJWSC employees. (7.) Achieve a sustainable business financial model to perform the mission and strategic business plan. (8.) Through a comprehensive and systematic asset management program promote and extend infrastructure life cycles with the end result being a stabilization of rates, lower operating costs and efficient reliable service for our customer base.

  1. Standards of Practice – J. Sellers

Jay Sellers moved the discussion to the standards of practice starting with the core values of the Public Information Office and questions the standards should answer.  (1.) How does our message enforce public health transparency, sustainability and resiliency? (2.) What is the least amount of data that can be used to communicate information that can lead to supporting both our decision making and that of our ratepayers? – The goal of this question being to not inundate the public with such a great amount of information that they have to sift through it to discover the important points, and to provide just the exact amount of information to give a clear and concise understanding to the public without overwhelming them. Further discussions concerned the suggested responsibility of this committee providing the infrastructure for effective public information and customer relations with monitoring by the committee; engaging customer relations and measures on how satisfied the customers are that we are doing the right thing and communicating correctly; communicating with a diverse community and being aware of how they stay connected with our communications; and, piecing together a plan on how to get our message out and figuring out how effectively the customers are receiving it.  It was suggested that obtaining an outside resource to assist in developing a program of ways of communicating with the public and being able to measure the effectiveness of our communications with the public. Commissioner Harvey commented that we should figure out which direction JWSC should go in; have outside firms make proposals; focus on how we are going to collect data and measure it as we collect it; and then evaluate it and determine how efficient we are at getting the word out. Mr. Junkin added that key performance indicators should be used internally, and then there should also be those that are strictly customer driven such as system issues and response time of which are examples of things that are a measure of a level of service to the community so that we can determine where we need to continuously improve. Chairman Copeland indicated that he sees a vision as there being one main place for dissemination of information so the community will know where they can go to obtain that information.  Jay Sellers indicated that the BGJWSC website is currently used as our main source of communication, and when our website is updated, that feed automatically goes to Facebook and also Twitter.  Jay commented that there is a link on our website where the public can subscribe to be automatically notified on their e-mail of updates to our website (specific categories of updates to their choosing).

  1. Effective Community Engagement – J. Sellers

Jay Sellers presented and displayed the BGJWSC website and showed the manner of updates and where the public can go to subscribe for notification of updates.  He also showed the Facebook updates associated.  Discussion continued to public use of the website and our using the website and communicating with the community.  It was suggested that the committee needs to define what a program should look like and talk to some other utilities and or other public relations groups who have defined this for other utilities.  Mr. Junkin indicated that Jay had already been in contact with Atlanta and began gathering contacts and having conversations with outside sources. It was commented that we need to become more routine with communicating with the community. Communications during Hurricane Matthew and how many public views there were on Facebook for updates on the storm and our services was discussed.  Jay also added that he watches the public chat rooms on Facebook to check for the public conversation and communications to be aware when there are miscommunications about BGJWSC and the services.

Chairman Copeland asked if there was agreement that two specific work products for the next meeting would be the Standards of Practice and what an effective community engagement program looks like.  Commissioner Elliott also indicated that there could be communication to the national programs.

The final three deliverables for drafting and discussion on the follow-up monthly meeting were: (1.) A statement of (SOP) Standard of Practice for items that the Commission handles (i.e. the boil water advisories, etc.), (2.) an effective community engagement program, and (3.) a presentation to demonstrate the value of the Commission to the county, the value of the water & sewer system to the state, and the value of the water & sewer system to the nation.

Executive Director Update

Mr. Junkin commented that long term, BGJWSC needs to be making an effort to gain community awareness and understanding of our value to the community.

Meeting was adjourned at 3:25 pm.