CJ reports city officials from Greensboro and Burlington were among participants in a webinar educating them on deliver bad news —— higher taxes and budget cuts —to citizens:

The webinar, “Delivering Bad News: How to Help Citizens Understand the Realities of Tough Economic Times,” sponsored by the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was facilitated by Mark Weaver, president of Communications Counsel, Inc., a national communications consultancy in Columbus, Ohio. Weaver has advised top-level elected government leaders, including President Ronald Reagan, and nonelected officials for more than two decades.

Among the topics: understanding how the public thinks; taking the community’s “pulse;” determining what bad news to share and when; using communication principles to craft the message; and ways to deliver the message.

North Carolina local government officials may well feel the need to do a better job of communicating with their constituents, given the results of a number of tax proposals over the past few years.

Gov’t officials interviewed for the article —including Burlington City Clerk Jordeen Terry —say the webinar was part of broader training on the growing use of social media, not to train local officials to better sell sales tax increases. The public gets the message about sales tax increases, as indicated by voters’ overwhelming rejection of sales tax referendums across the state. What’s more subtle is selling of so-called economic development drivers such as greenways.