Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sounding Off: C3 is more than just a Web site

This letter originally appeared on the October 8, 2008 edition of the Twin-Boro News, Sounding Off section.

Dear Editor:

Last week Mr. Joseph Hakim and Ms. Kai Chen submitted letters regarding Dumont’s newly implemented Citizens Communication Center (C3). I thank them for their concerns and questions.

As the Democratic mayor of Dumont, the free exchange of ideas and opinions is a priority of my administration. Along with my fellow colleagues on the Council, we have worked tirelessly to engage our constituents in the hopes of reaffirming and practicing our collective democratic principles.

Regardless, I appreciate the opportunity to respond to any controversies or implied controversies regarding C3 and the Borough of Dumont.

C3 is more than just a Web site as Mr. Hakim and Ms. Chen have intimated. Dumont’s C3 system is completely administered by the Borough of Dumont, which allows Dumont residents to receive e-mails, text messages, calls to their home and cell phones, updates on borough news, process municipal service requests, register their emergency contacts, refer friends, and provide special needs information, as well as a host of other services solely for and about Dumont.

Dumont’s C3 system is further complemented on the administrative side by managing this information for residents with full GIS capabilities and other important functionality like surveys, polls, content management, frequently asked questions, and by centralizing municipal services requests.

Upon signing up, registrants are geo-coded for targeting purposes via GIS mapping technology so in the event of an emergency, power outage or evacuation, the Borough of Dumont can identify affected individuals.

However, this technology is also helpful for non-emergencies and for the administration of borough services. For example, the recent notification that overnight parking would be extended from Oct. 1 to Nov. 1.

Other important mapping tools further allow the Borough of Dumont to zone alerts to particular sections of town, streets, or for that matter, target an individual property.

This feature is not covered under the County of Bergen’s contract with C3. The County of Bergen’s contract with C3 allows every municipality, so long as the municipality pays for usage, to administer voice messaging only.

The Borough of Dumont has full access to the previously described services, and not just the voice messaging.

The ability to communicate over various types of communicative devices affords the Borough of Dumont and its residents the possibility of better and improved municipal services.

The centralization of advance technological communications provides Dumont’s taxpayers with a value which would have had to been contracted with over five different vendors resulting in a lack of integration and higher cost. We have achieved this service at a monthly rate of $1,500 over a two-year period.

I am most dismayed by both Mr. Hakim and Ms. Chen’s lack of information and am happy to be able to explain further.

Having served as Dumont’s mayor for almost three years, I have made it a point to be available to all constituents, regardless of forum, whether it be meeting in person, answering questions at council meetings, or returning phone or e-mail inquiries, However, neither Mr. Hakim nor Ms. Chen have attempted to contact me.

Their inactions have led me to question their underlying motivations. Both individuals falsely imply facts and furthermore, as in the case of Mr. Hakim, make accusations regarding my and the council’s intent, as well as who owns C3.

As a candidate for council, Mr. Hakim especially should perform his public service by uncovering the facts before making such statements.

To date almost 1,000 household have signed up with the borough for this important and worthwhile service, C3.

I am happy to have an open forum and engage more residents on not only the benefits and attributes but also the new innovative ways and approaches of how the Borough of Dumont can better serve its residents.

I encourage all residents to visit and sign up for this groundbreaking initiative.


Matt McHale