In May 2018, Town Meeting passed Warrant Article 33, urging “the Select Board to undertake a review of the Town’s non-electronic communications…”. The Warrant Article identified two goals:
to recommend how electronic communication systems could be used to realize [cost] savings
to use electronic communication systems to improve communication with residents, particularly in emergency situations
The legislative history of Warrant Article 33 indicates that the article was filed out of a belief that:
the Town could move away from print and mail communication and toward electronic communication for, at least, some notices and communications
increased utilization of electronic communication tools would yield a cost savings (through the reduction of print and postage costs)
electronic communication provide more effective notification to interested parties than print and mailed notices
the Town lacks a geographically targeted system for timely emergency communication with residents
The Select Board hereby establishes the Electronic Communication Review Committee (ECRC) to:
review Brookline’s print and mail communications to determine whether it is practical, suitable, and advisable to transition some, or all, paper communications to an electronic medium
assess Brookline’s existing electronic emergency communication tools, with particular focus on the Town’s ability to target communications to particular streets and neighborhoods
propose any bylaw or policy changes which may be necessary to effect the recommendations of the ECRC
In completing its work, the ECRC shall build upon the work of prior citizen and staff committees and shall work with staff from the Select Board Office, the Office of Town Counsel, the Information Technology Department, the School Department, and other relevant staff and departments.
The ECRC shall be a temporary committee consisting of not more than 5 voting members appointed by the Select Board. The voting members shall include one member of the Select Board who will serve as the committee’s chair. The remaining four members shall be Brookline residents, and may include the petitioners of Article 33, Town Meeting Members, and others who frequently receive communication from the Town and with relevant experience and expertise.
The ECRC shall submit a written report of its analysis, findings, and recommendations in order to allow for the submission of any Warrant Articles to the 2020 Annual Town Meeting.