Blackboard Connect has a number of visionary clients that are improving leadership through innovative uses of Connect in their communities.
Here we will showcase excellence in leadership as demonstrated by our clients’ ability to initiate and execute programs that use Connect in a non-traditional way – more than just emergency alerts and notifications. See how their leadership has resulted in better communication with constituents, added revenue, and decreased costs.
We hope others are motivated to follow their lead.
We recently asked our clients to submit their best examples of generating revenue or maximizing ROI using Blackboard Connect. We are proud to present our contest’s top three stories of government leaders who found creative ways to not only help save their taxpayers money, but also generate much needed revenue for their communities using Blackboard Connect.
Gene F. McGee
Mayor and CMO
City of Ridgeland, MS
Gene F. McGee has been Mayor of Ridgeland since 1989 and a member of the Mississippi Municipal League since 1985. Mayor McGee has been recognized before, with the Ridgeland Chamber of Commerce – Economic Development Excellence award in 1999 and the Keep Mississippi Beautiful Hall of Fame award in 2004.
One of the most decorated cities in the state of Mississippi, nestled in Madison County, Ridgeland has an award-winning master plan that is being used to guide our community development efforts, incorporating green spaces and smarter developments. The City just received its third consecutive award for Tree City USA, has received the Bicycle Friendly Community Bronze Award and was chosen as a top 100 place to live by MONEY® Magazine in 2007.
The City of Ridgeland Police Department uses Blackboard Connect collect contempt of court warrants for their Court Services Division. Using the automatic notification has helped the Ridgeland Police Department to collect more warrant fines and contempt of court fines with better results and with fewer labor hours. In addition, the court services staff was able to focus on other duties rather than making phone calls. More fines were collected using Blackboard Connect than by direct phone calls from staff alone.
Using Blackboard Connect, a total of 15,751 calls were made from February 27, 2011 through February 26, 2012 for the described purpose. A total of $27,904.50 has been collected. A portion of this money collected may never have been collected if it were not for Blackboard Connect. Labor hours required to collect fines were drastically reduced, thus increasing staff productivity in other areas.
Water Resources Manager
City of Santa Maria, CA
Shannon Sweeney has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and a master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver. She is a registered Civil Engineer in the State of California, and holds operator certification in water treatment, water distribution, and wastewater treatment. She has over seventeen years experience in water system operations, most recently as the Water Resources Manager for the City of Santa Maria.
Nestled in the foothills of Santa Barbara County wine country, the Santa Maria Valley is located in the heart of California’s Central Coast. Like much of the Central Coast, the Santa Maria Valley enjoys a mild climate, beautiful scenery, easy access to beaches, and a rich interplay of culture and history. With a population of 99,553, Santa Maria is the largest city in the county.
We started using Connect to automate notification of overdue bills and pending service shut-offs and we greatly reduced costs and man-hours. We not only lowered our labor, vehicle, and printing costs, but we were also able to take the staff who were dedicated to distributing the door tags and reallocate them to tasks that actually increase revenue.
Using Blackboard Connect freed our staff to focus on other tasks, like shutting off meters, and allowed us to reduce unaccounted water used from 6 percent to just over 2 percent. This was $600,000 worth of revenue gained just by being able to get to a backlog of work we hadn't been able to address.
Dennis E. Hale
Chief of Fire & EMS
Dinwiddie County, VA
Dennis Hale is a 25-year public safety professional, who for the last seven years has overseen all operations of Dinwiddie County's Fire & EMS Dept., Emergency Management program and Emergency Communications Center/PSAP.
Dinwiddie County is located in south side Virginia approximately 25 miles south of Richmond. The County is 507 square miles in size with a population of 28,000.The County has lots of geographic diversity ranging from very rural, farming communities in our south to suburban neighborhoods and business areas in the north. The County has a very historical past and is home to more Civil War battle sites than anywhere else in the Country.
We started using Connect to effectively deliver weather cancellations of all outdoor sporting events. Previously a staff member would have to call up to 25 coaches to notify them of a weather cancellation, each coach would then have to make up to 25 calls to participants to cancel the game. Now, a single staff member makes one activation and notifies everyone instantly. Staff members simply create our team rosters in a format that easily uploads into the system and instantly parents, coaches and players are notified by text, email, and multiple phones that their game is cancelled. No one misses the message!
In addition to the obvious savings in staff and coaching time, our customer satisfaction is greatly increased. Nothing is more frustrating to parents than driving across town to find out you missed the phone call from the coach canceling the game. Also, when it is time to play that game, one call makes the reschedule notification as well!
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