People are more likely to unsubscribe from a town’s CodeRed or Reverse 911 text message alert system when it’s used for reminders of “non-emergency events” like town meeting or elections, Andover Town Manager Andrew Flanagan told the select board Monday.
“What they’ve found in other towns, and this has been the case in other towns I have worked in, while Town Meeting would…functionally be the most important thing, the receivers of information don’t always think it’s the most important thing and will unsubscribe when they’re getting non-emergency communications,” Flanagan said. “Then when we do have to communicate in an emergency, we’re not getting to them.”
Andover uses CodeRed, a third-party platform used for emergency messaging by thousands of municipalities in the U.S. Flanagan told the board he would check with the vendor to see if residents could subscribe to receive non-emergency messages from the town. “That hasn’t been the case in the past, but I’m happy to explore it,” he said.
The discussion came after former Selectman Dan Kowalski said he was disappointed in the Town’s efforts to promote Monday’s Annual Town Meeting during the select board’s public input session. Kowalski said he had asked about using text messages in a letter to Andover officials earlier this month, but did not receive a response.
“Here I am, a former select board member, and I didn’t get one response. I’m really disappointed in that,” Kowalski said. “We have all these mechanisms to communicate…we should use text messaging, we should use the telephone, to tell people about the most important event that occurs in this town — town meeting.”
Photo: Former Andover Selectman Dan Kowalski (screenshot/Andover TV).