Transparent and Accessible Government in Woodstock
Mayor Michael Caldwell
Making government more accessible and information available to citizens has been a core value for me during the time you’ve allowed me to serve in both the House of Representatives and now as your Mayor. During my time in the legislature, our campaign pioneered transparency measures in campaign finance by sharing daily, down-to-the-penny financial updates online. I was the first to live tweet legislative votes from the floor of the house. During the legislative sessions, I shared a write-up on every single vote I cast. These were my attempts as your representative to help make the legislative process more transparent and digestible from home. As I have led the City of Woodstock for the past year, I have been so proud to see the culture of transparency and open accessibility shared by our city’s staff. From the city manager down through all 200+ employees, I have witnessed a team of dedicated public servants seeking ways to better involve and inform the public on the city’s activity and constantly searching for innovative ways to share information.
First and foremost, the city is governed by a City Council and Mayor. We live broadcast all of our meetings and share the recordings and minutes online. In addition to the live broadcasts and historical archives, we publish two agendas prior to every meeting. You can see our “Agenda”, which is a bullet point listing of the business to be taken up during a meeting. You can also see our “Agenda Packet” which comprises all of the supporting information tied to each and every agenda item. These packets often run 500-600 pages long, and they are the exact same information that we receive as elected officials prior to a meeting. In fact, we access it through the same exact links on www.woodstockga.gov as the public in order to read and research before a vote. Our meetings are also always open to the public, and you are more than welcome to attend, listen, and even participate during a dedicated public hearing portion of the night. We meet the 2nd and 4th Mondays of most months at 7:00PM, and we have a “work session” (similar format and equally open to the public) on the 3rd Monday at 7:00PM.
Curious about the city’s finances? We publish budget information and comprehensive annual reports going back for years so that you can see how we’re stewarding your money today and compare it to the past. Our budget process is also all part of the above public meeting process.
Curious about our organizational structure or leadership? We publish our entire org chart, contact information for each of the departments and city leadership, and contact information for all of Council on the website as well.
Are you a nerd like me who likes maps? Our GIS department publishes some incredibly helpful maps like our recently negotiated (with Cherokee County) annexation growth boundary map, maps to help you discover if you live within city limits or who your council member is, zoning maps, parking locations and much more. Most recently, we’ve launched two incredible public-facing map tools that help answer the most frequent questions I get. “What is going on at (any-location)?” and “what is the city doing with (any road or intersection)?” First, the new “Major Projects Map” easily displays all of the upcoming developments in the city filtered by “Public Hearing Cases” (still in process), “Approved” (pending construction) and “Under Construction” (currently being built). Second, the new “Transportation Projects Map” displays both currently slated projects as well as recently completed projects. You’ll never have to see orange cones and wonder what might be coming again. We make sure you can locate it on a map and get the information you need.
Above and beyond each of these (and so many other) transparency initiatives, I hope you each know that you can reach me personally anytime. You can contact me on my city email at email@example.com or my cell phone at 678-523-8570. It is an absolute honor to serve you and our city, and I will continue to do my best to make Woodstock a place where we can all easily be informed and take part in our city’s future.