"The mayor would see something; call Public Works; and in three or four minutes, they would show up and fix the problem. D.C. does a great job, but (because of their size) there's no way that would've happened as quickly," Piringer said.

Piringer said his time serving at College Park's Volunteer Fire Department, where he is currently the president, has shown him that local governments have a unique ability to respond quickly to residents in crisis situations.

New department, new ideas

Piringer ultimately hopes to bring experience from both his time at College Park and his time as the public information officer of larger emergency departments, to the newly formed department of Marketing and Community Outreach.

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Although Piringer and the city are still in the process of researching potential initiatives for the department to undertake, Piringer already has an idea of some of the things he'd like to see implemented.

"When I was in D.C., the city made a significant effort to train everybody on social media," Piringer said. "By letting people know that it is OK to use it and actually encouraging people, it became a very effective tool for us."

Piringer hopes that by promoting the same kind of environment among all city employees, Laurel can develop Twitter accounts and Facebook pages that increase the flow of communication from the city to residents.

"It allows us to create a dialogue with people, where in years past we would have to have a community meeting," Piringer said. "It can become a very effective tool, and I think you can look forward to seeing a lot more interaction with the community through social media."

Moe said another thing the city has asked Piringer to do is evaluate ways to better market and brand the city of Laurel.

"How can we engage other members of city government to speak for their departments and market their various departments?" Moe said. "We do a whole lot on city government, but can we get the message out? It can't just be mayor and council and others; it has to be the entire city together."