When Kirsten Wyatt and her husband launched #CityHallSelfie Day in 2015, it was in effort to encourage local government employees to celebrate their cities, especially, their work on behalf of those cities. Five years and thousands of selfies later, there’s more reason than ever to uplift the resilience and dedication of city hall employees. But on this year’s #CityHallSelfie Day — Friday, August 14 — there may be more masks in the photos than there are city halls. Wyatt, who is executive director and co-founder of Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL), is OK with that. We caught up with her to see what to expect this Friday and to see what modifications to the celebration she and ELGL have planned to ensure everyone has fun and stays safe.
Is it safe to assume that #CityHallSelfie Day will look different this Friday than in years past? How are you approaching it differently? How do you expect and hope others will?
Yes, we know that many people are working from home and social distancing, and so the “giant group of smiling employees taking a #CityHallSelfie” won’t be a thing this year. And, since March, we’ve also been using the hashtag #CityHomeSelfie for people to share pics from their local government work from home.
We’ve added six new awards that will be crowdsourced from ELGL members to reflect what we expect to see in this year’s selfies:
- Most Creative Physical/Social Distancing Selfie
- Best Mask-Wearing Selfie
- Most Unique Remote #CityHomeSelfie all our mandatory WFH colleagues
- Best Covid-Fighting Superhero Selfie
- Best #CityHomeSelfie with a Pet
- Best #CityHomeSelfie with a kid or family member
We’re pleased to see that communities are planning to safely participate in #CityHallSelfie Day because even with masks and standing six feet apart, it’s a great way to celebrate local government service and community pride.
What advice do you have to offer for people who want to take the best #CityHallSelfie this year but can’t make it to City Hall?
Snap a picture from your work from home setup and use both the #CityHallSelfie and #CityHomeSelfie! The great work of local government employees for their cities, counties, and districts continues, even if they’re not in their normal work space. This day celebrates the work of local leaders from wherever they’re sitting in 2020.
Looking back, what is one of your favorite moments from the past five years?
Every year we have a handful of members who vie for the “most #CityHallSelfies in one day” award and it’s truly inspiring to watch their day-long journey around their region to find every city hall and snap a picture. I love their dedication.
It’s also been great when famous people share their own #CityHallSelfies. Local government isn’t a field that gets a lot of attention from celebrities and influencers, so it just adds to the fun and excitement when our day showcasing local government service gets some star power.
When all is said and done this year, what is the story you hope the story of #CityHallSelfie Day will be this year?
It’s my hope that #CityHallSelfie day pictures each year reflect the world that local government leaders are working in. I hope that #CityHallSelfie day continues into the future and people can use the day to reflect back on their local government careers. I can imagine fast forwarding to 2040 and looking back on prior year #CityHallSelfie pictures and seeing how much hairstyles, fashion, architecture, and employers have changed over time. And so the fact that we’re encouraging people to wear masks, take #CityHomeSelfie pictures, etc. this year is an important part of this reflection on what it’s like to work in local government right now.