Wallingford Resident Creates New Town Web Site

babyatpcOn October 1st, 2008, a law went into effect mandating that all Connecticut towns post minutes of their town meetings to their we sites within 7 days. Due to budget and staffing constraints, some towns have pulled their web sites rather than comply with the ordinance.The Town of Wallingford has been hesitant to use town funds to update their web site with the minutes of town meetings, but they have not removed their web site, they are simply not complying with the law.

Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands. Wallingford resident Jason Zandri did exactly that.

Zandri spent over 100 hours of his own time to develop a new web site, http://www.wallingford.us.com, to pick up where the official town web site, http://www.town.wallingford.ct.us, leaves off. While his site should not be confused with the official town site, he has loaded it with a lot of information not found on the town site, including the minutes of the town meetings, budget info and a list of state lawmakers’ postal and e-mail addresses.

It’s no secret that Wallingford Mayor William Dickinson has expressed reluctance to expand the use of the internet in the town hall, and questions the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the Internet in facilitating communications between the town’s departments and between the town and its residents. We think that’s a rather parochial attitude and is a disservice to the residents and employees of the town. Town government, in order to keep its citizens well informed, should utilize those services and technologies that are available for that purpose. As Zandri has pointed out, that can be done easily with a minimum of time and expense.

We applaud Jason for his initiative and creativity, and hope the town will follow his example and make necessary changes to properly update and maintain their web site. Until then, web sites like his (and ours) will continue to provide important and valuable information to our fellow residents.

Well done, Jason!

Comments

  1. Pingback: How are those Connecticut town websites doing? « Open Records

  2. Jason Zandri

    Thank you for the blog spot and the kind words.

    I am glad that I have the support of many of the people in Wallingford.

    Since my website has been published in the Record Journal newspaper the expected measure of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) has appeared as well. Allow me to reiterate some facts.

    There’s a state law requiring posting of minutes, agendas and other public documents as part of House Bill No. 6502 which can be viewed online at http://www.cga.ct.gov/2008/ACT/PA/2008PA-00003-R00HB-06502SS2-PA.htm

    We are presently not in compliance with that law. It’s a shame a law is needed for something that we should be doing anyway.

    Wallingford has had plenty of time to comply. In two months I stood up an entirely new website where none existed before. The town has a website – complying with the law would be a simple thing by uploading documents that are already created in some form or measure with word processing programs on computers. Is someone going to argue that we’re still using typewriters? If so there are scanners to port those documents to digital format and this was done for the most recent Planning and Zoning Agenda I received.

    Comments were made that “Official governmental websites are subject to security, legal and document retention requirements” that do not apply to my website. While this is true I’ll bet you my site is more secured than most. Regardless of that, what are we talking about here? We are not talking about “those” type of documents that need securing but rather public ones that could be hung from every telephone pole downtown if they were printed out.

    My cost was $30.00 to register http://www.wallingford.us.com. Other than that is my time and existing space on my web host that I already pay for.

    Wallingford – there is no additional cost. http://www.town.wallingford.ct.us/ is already registered so there is no new cost there. The current website already exists. Don Roe already manages the site as part of his regular duties. No new costs there.

    If anything there is money to be saved leveraging the technology and we should simply abide by the law.

    Of course this is Wallingford and if you’ve been paying attention you’d know that sometimes we do neither.

    Thanks again for the support.

  3. Post
    Author
    The Harriman Team

    You’ll get no argument here, Jason. It’s a shame that our town government chooses to bury its head in the sand regarding the efficient use of technology to keep residents informed. Hiding behind the same tired “cost and manpower” argument is counterproductive and only serves to show how far behind the times they are. The slightest bit of research on their part would show them that leveraging the the power of the Internet in town government can only improve communications and increase confidence in our leaders. Well, maybe some day…

    If we can help in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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