New program looks to inform citizens and increase the transparency of city government
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — For those that feel that city government is hard to understand, boring, or does not impact their day-to-day life, Marshfield Community Television (MCTV) is offering a show that makes local bureaucracy entertaining and user friendly.
“Inside City Hall” is the television station’s effort to interview members of every local city department to get a brief but informative look at what they do each day. In the program, which airs Tuesday and reruns on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, city department heads are posed questions about the nature and purpose of their department, challenges they face, projects they are working on, their annual budget, and more.
City Administrator Steve Barg said that “Inside City Hall” is a valuable program because it helps increase the level of communication between city government and citizens.
“As city administrator, I place a high value on communicating with our residents, and the (common) council has identified communicating and partnering with other groups and our citizens as one of its six key focus areas in the current strategic planning process,” Barg said.
Barg added that many people may be unfamiliar with what certain city departments do, saying, “This is a wonderful opportunity to inform and educate our taxpayers and to help them understand where they can address questions and concerns.”
Breanna Speth, an assistant coordinator/production manager with MCTV, came up with the concept for “Inside City Hall” and said the program has a couple main objectives.
“One would be to provide the citizens of Marshfield with more information about the city and then, vice-versa, to provide the city departments an opportunity to get the word out to citizens about what they do and how they’re funded, and I think it makes them more accessible,” Speth said.
Speth added that she hopes the show will encourage future participation from the city in MCTV programs. She said that MCTV has gotten positive feedback from the city about the show.
“I think a lot of people in the city take pride in what they do, so I think it’s fun for them to go on camera and … share their passion.”
Speth said that the host of the program, Carrie Lippert, does an excellent job of making the guests feel comfortable.
“The goal isn’t to put them on the spot. … It’s to let them talk about what they do,” Speth said.
MCTV production assistant Brett Butler covers all of the government meetings for MCTV and came up with the interview questions for “Inside City Hall.” He described MCTV as a community resource.
“We’re a tool that the community can use,” Butler said. “It’s local people. It’s local programming.”
Thus far, MCTV has interviewed nine of what they hope will be 20 department heads.
New “Inside City Hall” episodes air each Tuesday at noon and will rerun at the following times: Tuesday at 8 p.m., Thursday at noon and 8 p.m., Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and 3 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. For Charter Communications subscribers, the program can be seen on channels 989 and 991. The program can also be seen online at marshfieldtv.com/inside-city-hall.