Mayor’s Staff Expecting Lively Virtual Town Hall

by Gabe Bullard on August 3, 2011

Mayor Greg Fischer and a team of city officials will be on hand later this month for Metro Government’s first-ever virtual town hall.

The mayor’s “Talk to Greg” community meetings are typically held at schools across the city. But on the 15th, Fischer will invite Louisvillians to submit questions and comments to him on his Facebook and Twitter pages.┬áThe mayor and his staff will read and respond to the comments from 6 pm to 8 pm.

“Our goal is to respond to everything unless we’re totally slammed,” says spokesman Chris Poynter. “He will be there, the police chief, other key directors, the mayor’s senior staff will also be there. There will probably be 15-20 people in this room, but Greg will be answering as many directly and personally as he can.”

Earlier this year, dozens of Fischer’s critics took to Facebook to post negative comments about his decision to reject No Kill Louisville’s bid to take over Metro Animal Services. Fischer has also been criticized for posting overly-optimistic tweets during disasters.

Poynter says criticisms aside, Fischer’s online presence is a sign of the times. He expects more virtual town halls to be held in the future, and Fischer has previously announced plans to put more city information and services online.

“There are many things on many peoples’ minds and if you read the mayor’s Twitter feed or Facebook page it’s everything from concerns about the neighborhoods to concerns about Whiskey row to animal control to potholes. It’s really all over the board,” says Poynter.

Fischer does read and post to Facebook and Twitter himself, but other staff members also manage his accounts.

Poynter says the virtual town hall is an experiment, but it’s something the administration would like to do more of in the future.

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