The Town of Watertown’s first ever Chief Information Officer, or CIO, came on board on Oct. 19, and has a slew of changes he would to make so Town officials can communicate more effectively with residents and make the government more transparent.
Christopher McClure comes to Watertown from North Andover, where he was the information technology (IT) director. He plans some big changes for the Town’s social media accounts, the website and other technology.
Town Manger Michael Driscoll welcomed McClure to Town Hall.
“Mr. McClure is a recognized leader and innovator in government and public safety technology visioning and has focused his entire career on using technology to make government better,” Driscoll said. “He has built a legacy of supporting education and public safety along with general government along with building strong collaborative relationships that connect the entire community.”
McClure said he is excited to be joining a Town government that thinks of improving technology as not just updating hardware and its internal network, but one that is interested in improving communication and outreach to the community.
“Outwardly, the big piece is we are really committed to increasing communication and engagement with the community,” McClure said.
He added, “We will increase the information we put out there, really build some trust with people that they can go to different platforms and keep up with what’s going on with the Town.”
Not all municipal governments have someone at the leadership level in technology, including Watertown before hiring McClure.
“I think the exciting thing, for me, often times in government it’s the will to do something that is the challenge,” McClure said. “Here, I see a community that decided they wanted to put an emphasis on technology and leadership at the CIO level,”
The Town’s website has been something that residents have complained about and Town officials have sought to improve. McClure plans to make more documents available online, including meeting agendas a minutes for Watertown’s boards and committees, and make it easier for people find them. He also plans to institute new web services, such as mapping and GIS.
The Town will also be hiring a Social Media Coordinator, who will work with the CIO to build the audience for the Town of Watertown’s Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as expanding into other areas.
The Town’s social media accounts will be a place for people to find for informational posts, and McClure also envisions using other tools. For instance, the Town could put up polls about hot button issues to get feedback from residents on the topic.
“There’s a lot more coming, a lot more particularly on the Town’s Facebook and Twitter accounts,” McClure said. “… I encourage people to sign up and wait for things to come.”
The Town of Watertown’s Twitter page can be found at twitter.com/watertowngov, the Town’s Facebook page can be found by at facebook.com/watertowngov, and the Town’s Instagram account is instagram.com/watertownmagov.