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ComCom works to keep Shirley residents informed of events

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SHIRLEY — The one-year-old Communications Committee delivered its first report to the selectmen Monday night, updating them on its progress and asking for guidance on its purview.

Member Melissa Lynch paged through a Power Point presentation that covered all the bases to date.

ComCom is a volunteer committee, brainchild of Selectman Holly Haase, who is the board’s liaison to the committee and serves as adviser.

Established in 2017 and appointed by the selectmen, the group’s mission is to keep residents informed and engaged, foster community spirit and relay nonpartisan information to help voters make educated decisions.

Chairman Enrico Cappucci set two priorities. First, to up voter registration. “It’s only one day!” he said. And he wants to encourage people to get involved in civic affairs, run for office, join a committee.

Some town boards are short of members, with openings posted on the town website.

Haase said the ComCom was her idea and she’s invested in its goals. Members bring different skills and interests to the table, she said. Her priorities include creating an outreach position, full time, similar to the town of Ayer’s, she said.

The group’s credits so far include an e-newsletter with 215 subscribers that is posted to social media accounts (Facebook, with 1,563 Likes and followers and Twitter, 79 followers and growing.) It may show up in print as well, Lynch said.

Haase and ComCom members also helped redesign the new and improved town website, held a candidate’s debate in October and hosted the first Town Government Fair/open house in November. .

Work in progress includes developing a communications and social media strategy, ongoing website training and planning for events, including a spring get-together on the Municipal Complex green..

Long term goals include creating a communication and outreach position in the Town Offices, launching a survey and hosting “Listening Sessions” for Selectmen to hear citizen’s concerns.

Last on the list, creating a central go-to where people can find out what’s up in town government and what’s going on around town, a communications pipeline from all points within to everyone out there.

Key to that goal, Lynch said, is developing a comprehensive system in which town departments, boards and groups share their news and events with ComCom, which will get the word out to a broader audience.

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