How to participate
To participate, one must have a Facebook account and like the “Liberty County Georgia” page, www.facebook.com/libertycounty.
Liberty County will host its first virtual town-hall meeting from 10-11 a.m. Tuesday.
County department heads will be available for residents to ask questions on the Liberty County’s Facebook page.
Inspired by Fort Stewart’s past Facebook town halls, Assistant County Administrator Bob Sprinkel said he wanted to see if county government could successfully interact with residents online
“It’s something we’re excited about,” he said. “Our department’s heads are excited about it, and we’re all excited because this is something for us to be thinking about that hasn’t been vetted.
“The reason it came about is we don’t feel like the message is getting out there well enough,” Sprinkel continued. “We’ve always been searching for ways to get the information, the story, out there to the citizens.”
The county wants the vehicle of the message to be engaging, unlike its current newsletter, which reaches only 500 people.
“This is a way that the citizens can directly interact with the county … in real time,” said Laura Troutman, the county’s human-resources specialist. “And then we can follow up even if we’re not able to answer something right then and there.”
This town hall won’t take away from county staff’s daily task of answering questions via email or on the phone. But having several department heads in the same room answering questions gives them the ability to all be on the same page with the residents they serve.
Some of the departments that have been invited are public works, roads, animal control and recreation. They will monitor the county’s Facebook page during the hour, answering questions and noting which ones they may need to research further. But in the end, all questions will be answered on the page.
They are trying to get a “sense of the community, what they’re looking for,” Sprinkel said. “We’ll take this information back to the Board of Commissioners.
“We, as the departments in Liberty County — we want to get the sense of where the community is,” he said. “Plus, we want (residents) to ask us questions, but we also want to be able to get the information out to them and clarify things for the people of Liberty County.”
Previous in-person town halls and county meetings have had low turnouts, so county officials hope this will make it easier for the public to reach out to them.
“This is an opportunity to use another methodology of trying to reach people,” Sprinkel said. “I don’t want an uninformed public, and if there’s another way of doing it, I want to try to explore that.”
To participate, one must have a Facebook account and like the “Liberty County Georgia” page, www.facebook.com/libertycounty. The details on how the town hall will be organized on the page are still being decided, such as whether it will be an open forum or “threads” by department, which is how Fort Stewart operates its Facebook town halls. But the county will have rules posted for participant conduct on the page. That includes no profanity or harassment.
One of the main goals from this experiment is to see what works and what doesn’t.
If it works out, Sprinkel said, the county has the goal of holding a virtual town hall at least once per quarter.