Saturday, January 8, 2011 - By Sid Burgess - No comments

Clifton's "Mayor Jim" connects with citizens on SeeClickFix

What does a New Jersey mayor have in common with celebrated Craigslist founder Craig Newmark?  A leadership style that listens -- and replies -- to the voice of the people.  Specifically, James Anzaldi of Clifton, NJ has been responding directly to citizen reports on SeeClickFix.  When residents see his signature -- “Mayor Jim” -- attached to a personal response concerning a reported issue, they realize he’s willing to be part of the process of community improvement, rather than just delegating the task to someone else.

Similarly, Craig Newmark is recognized as being surprisingly responsive to correspondence from the general public despite his celebrity status.  He created Craigslist to fill a need -- not to gain popularity -- and now remains accessible, ready to have a conversation with anybody.  For that reason he is respected as a down-to-earth guy who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty.  Mayor Jim is bringing the same service-oriented philosophy to his hometown by creating a personal watch area on SeeClickFix, which he monitors and maintains as part of his service to the people of Clifton.
The “civil servant” approach recently gained considerable recognition as it was employed by another New Jersey mayor -- Cory Booker of Newark -- during the “Snowpocalypse” of late December.  Booker impressed the “Gov2.0” community (and a lot of other people too) by his continual use of Twitter to keep Newark citizens informed and encouraged during the storm and the days following.  He took things a step further by personally attending to the needs of stranded citizens.  A mother in need of diapers for her baby received some from Booker’s own hands; residents saw him shoveling out their cars; a woman in labor was attended by Booker and his team until EMS arrived.  That’s what is known as “leading by example.”
We think Mayor Jim of Clifton is setting a leadership example, too.  He cares about his community -- which encourages his citizens to continue their improvement efforts.  In reporting issues to local authorities, it’s always nice to know someone is listening -- and willing to talk back.  Keep up the great work, Mayor Jim!


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