BURLINGTON - Making sure there are clear lines of dialogue within Burlington’s community is a long overdue notion that is finally starting to take shape.

Thanks to a venture by the town to work with The Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management at UMass Boston, a hands-on assessment of how the town can improve its internal and external communication methods is underway.

The Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management is dedicated to improving the effectiveness of public management in government.

The project’s scope prioritizes how the town communicates with its constituents, how town departments communicate with each other, and how town board/committees and staff communicate with each other.

Presented in two phases by representatives from the Collins Center, phase 1 focuses on internal communications and operational access. The project will utilize interviews and documents to review and determine any bottlenecks and provide opportunities to improve internal communication. Ultimately, this will end up with helpful recommendations for improvements in this aspect.

Phase 2 is tied to external communications, where the project will review existing practices and policies, both town-wide and department-specific. The point of this phase is to analyze how residents communicate with the town and way it can be improved.

Residents will be heavily involved in the external communications area, with the Collins Center expected to move forward with focus groups in an effort to find out exact needs of the people of Burlington.

Select Board member Nicholas Priest, who has spearheaded this initiative for the past three years, is ecstatic to see it begin to come to fruition.

“I am most excited to find out what we could be doing better when it comes to external communications between the town and citizens,” remarked Priest, noting the evolution of how information is disseminated these days. “There has to be a better way for the community to stay appraised of what is happening. Creating a more cohesive, unified communications infrastructure will be fantastic.”

Fellow Select Board member Bob Hogan declared this initiative “long overdue” and recognized the importance of the Collins Center’s involvement in this process.

“There are so many great suggestions. I think we needed an outside view, looking in,” stated Hogan.

The rest of the board spoke in support of the project. The two-phased project is expected to be start in the next month or so, and will last over 12 months.

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