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ONLY ON 3: New Hanover Co. spends $600+ to promote town hall; Only 15 show up

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: New Hanover Co. spends $600+ to promote town hall; Only 15 show up
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- New Hanover County contracted with a telemarketing firm to make about 6,300 calls, which cost $676.13. About 15 people showed up, which means the county spent about $45 on each of them. County Commissioner Jason Thompson says he didn’t know so much money was going toward making phone calls.

"I thought we used a reverse phone call system similar to what we use for 911 emergencies and school emergencies and I thought it was free,” Thompson said. “That's the first I heard that it actually cost us money to use it."

The County says when a large number of people need to be called about something like a town hall meeting, they can’t use their in-house calling system and usually pay about $0.13 per minute for the mass calling feature. Thompson says with such little turn out at the last meeting, he thinks this is a huge waste of county funds.

"No body showed up and that's the problem that inherits our society today,” Thompson said. “Everybody wants to complain about government, we give them a chance to come talk to us, and no body shows up."

Thompson says the County posted information on their website and on their cable channel as well to let the community know about the meeting. He says he thinks this is a better use of resources.

When we asked people who attended last week’s town hall meeting how they found out about it, they said they saw the sign out front and came in.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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600 bucks???

So they spent $600 trying to get some people up off their butts and more involved in their county and you want to cut them down about that? I saw the ad on one of those billboards and wanted to come but had a conflict. Bottom line is most of these people here just don't care. All you have to do is look at numbers from a local election to see that. I'm sure if the county knew only 15 people would have shown up they would have changed their approach or the location of the meeting. I just hope they don't give up on trying to reach out to the public. For all of you whiners out there, stay at home in front of your nice little computer and become the Napoleon of your little section of cyberspace, but I think it's commendable that the county is trying to answer questions out here in the real world. You might hear something if you just open your ears...

Telemarketing is ineffective these days...

...due to the extended use of cell phones, the severe decline in the use of land-lines and the implemetation of the "Do not call" list that was put into place BECAUSE of telemarketers in the first place.

Who was the Great Brainchild of this communication extravaganza? It wouldn't happen to be the genius holding the light bulb that thought it was "free", was it?

Ummm.....

Dudes. This is one of those pick your fights type deals. When I first saw the headlines, I thought, wow....600+ (thinking it was - $600,000 something). I'm not saying you have jumped the shark with this story, but...

Look WWAY....don't make me go mid-90's chatroom on your asses....

Hahaha!

Look WWAY....don't make me go mid-90's chatroom on your asses....

That's awesome! A lot of Internet noobs won't get this but the old 90's Yahoo chatrooms were like the Old Wild West of the Internet! There was a culture of viciousness that was weirdly fun.

Why Show Up

With the present council Thompson why show up. You have proven your going to do what you want to anyway so whats the use. County politicians have for a long time proven they do not listen to anyone other than someone who can enrich their pockets. Apathy occurs with council's normal shenanigans over years which has destroyed any faith in the political process.

“Everybody wants to

“Everybody wants to complain about government, we give them a chance to come talk to us, and no body shows up.

That's because you really don't want to hear what we have to say. We want less and smaller government. That means layoffs and cutbacks to continue operating with the reduced revenue. We know you won't ever make that happen, so what's the point?

I wonder how many hours the

I wonder how many hours the staff at the McColl Agency had to work to earn the six hundred bucks.

Town Hall Meetings

Katie and Scott,
Just correcting your misinformation. According to our surveys taken during the town hall meetings, most of the attendees learned about the meetings through our phone calls.
I am certain that if WWAY would have helped promote these important sessions by announcing them on air or via it's website, the need to make the phone calls would not be as critical.
Please watch our interview with Chairman Barfield on The Chairman's Chat where we discuss citizen apathy.
Using these 'reverse 911' phone systems is a great help in our efforts to communicate with the public.
Thanks in advance for your correction,
Mark Boyer
Public Information Officer

Citizen Apathy?

Citizen apathy is caused by elected officials following their own agenda instead of what the voters really want. Citizens get to a point where they think that it doesn't matter what they say or do, elected officials are going to do exactly as they please.

So?

So you're saying that government should just give up then? Or we should have anarchy and allow everyone to do what they want? I doubt there would be as much "apathy caused by elected officials following their own agenda" if people actually got out and educated themselves on candidates and voted. If the public stopped only complaining about things and started offering realistic solutions, I'll bet the politicians might listen a little more. It goes both ways. A vast majority of the citizens of this county don't listen either.

Spending to spend

"I am certain that if WWAY would have helped promote these important sessions by announcing them on air or via it's website, the need to make the phone calls would not be as critical.
Please watch our interview with Chairman Barfield on The Chairman's Chat where we discuss citizen apathy."

Dude, fat butt BARField is the one that's causing the county to pay for this stuff. Who cares if the public is apathetic. These people vote for who they are told to vote for so big deal. Half of the people there would not have even been there if it wasn't because of Brian Berger. And WWAY and other media outlets knew about the event because that's how I found out about it.

So it's $600 plus the pay to have all the staff there, plus the live video crew, plus the school staff that had to open and close the place up. All this just to talk to some step-n-fetch-it guy names Briggs (I think) who hogged the microphone.

Next time let's hold this meeting at Hooters and buy everybody a bunch of wings. You'll save money.

Excuse me?

Am I understanding that correctly? You used the reverse 911 system to communicate information about a community event?

Try checking with the state on why the local PSAPs are funded by the state E911 fund, and most importantly, the purposes and approved uses of the reverse calling capability. It's not to spread the news about routine, non-emergency meetings.

Mark - Marissa Jasek talked

Mark - Marissa Jasek talked with many of the folks there that evening - and they told her that they found out about it because of a sign in front of the school. Sorry that's tough to swallow, but it's not misinformation and won't be corrected.

Bottom line, does anyone at the county feel that spending $45 per person is a good return on investment of taxpayer dollars?

Commissioner Thompson doesn't.

sp

Scott Pickey
WWAY News Director

"Many"

"Marissa Jasek talked with many of the folks there that evening - and they told her that they found out about it because of a sign in front of the school."

The reporter said she talked to many of the people there that night when only 15 people were there. It's hard to call 15 people many and I'm betting not all of them spoke to the reporter. Reminds me of my teacher who used an expression "all two them." WWAY should look at the surveys filled out by the folks who showed up. I'm betting all of the folks who participated filled out the survey. They can see what these folks had to say for themselves.

In the end, obviously the county spent over 600 dollars to find out how apathetic the citizens are and shouldn't do it again. Kudos to them for trying though. But this failure to rouse interest is really the symptom of a larger problem. People had the chance to interact with elected officials who make decisions that directly affect their lives and they didn't do it. Americans prefer to wait until the damage is done and complain about it later. And we get all worked up when we see news reports about how we're rocketing to the bottom as a nation and the mistakes our governments make. The story in this isn't why the many who showed up bothered to do so, it's why more of the other 200,000+ citizens didn't. Do they just not care or do they think they won't be listened to if they do bother to show? Hat's off to the many who did show.

Scott

when was this soriee held? During the day when taxpayers are working? At night when parents are working with their school age children on homework? Or on Saturday when more folks would have been available?

Start there to begin laying blame. Not necessarily voter apathy. It may be a sense of prioritizing tasks; most folks would think time with their school age children working on homework is a higher priority.

I know the high percentage

I know the high percentage I pay in taxes just to see it wasted. It is a lot easier to spend other peoples money.

Town crier!

I am kind of the town crier. If thay had told me, I would have alerted more people.

I work cheap. $100 would have produced better results. I am usually available at Java Dog Monday thru Friday- 6:30 AM until 8 AM.