Articles

Jefferson County, Ark., Is Creating a 'Unified System of Communication to the Public'

Officials say the roll-out date for the new website will be late fall as it is still in the design and programming phase.

by Ray King, Pine Bluff Commercial, Ark. / July 3, 2017

(TNS) -- Jefferson County has adopted a new website domain name that will replace a number of different websites that have been used in the past.

"We are creating a unified system of communication to the public which is secured and easily verifiable," one official said Friday.

While the new website is still under construction, the new email server, jeffersoncountyar.com is up and county officials are in the process of of mitigating the old email accounts to the new one.

"There has been a history of utilizing free and personal email addresses for county business and that is now a thing of the past and will no longer be tolerated," Wilkins said. "Constituents need to have peace of mind in knowing that communication from Jefferson County is valid."

Previously, there had been no one form of email address extensions for county government.

According to a press release Friday, finding a domain name that's easy to type is critical to the county's online success.

"We wanted to ensure that the website address would be easy to type, otherwise it might be harder for constituents to find our site," Wilkins said. "We kept the name as short as possible without losing key identifying factors in the domain name which lowers the chance of constituents mistyping or misspelling it."

Lloyd Franklin II, who has been working on the website and domain name for several months said "There are several Jefferson County websites across the United States as well as millions of registered domain names so having a domain that's simple, memorable and catchy was imperative."

"Upon the decision of a name, it was bounced off elected officials, employees and constituents to ensure that it was appropriate and enticing," Franklin said. "We researched the name to ensure it wasn't obtained by any other entity so we obtained it."

Franklin said the new site will display verified information for the public as well as provide necessary communications through verified email addresses, for example, jeffersoncountyclerk@jeffersoncountyar.gov.

"Entities across the world have beefed up security which in some cases caused the county communication problems," Franklin said. "Many entities do not recognize .0rg, .net, or .com email addresses when it comes to official government business and communication."

"Only recognizing .gov extensions as official communication from government agencies has kept Jefferson County at a disadvantage as far as communicating with official entities. Thus, we opted for a trusted domain/website extension. Working with the General Services Administration (GSA) of the federal government we obtained a .gov domain extension."

All emails sent to the old email addresses will be forwarded to the new email and a notification will be sent to the sender of the change of email address.

Wilkins said the roll-out date for the new website will be late fall as it is still in the design and programming phase.

"Jeffersoncountyar.gov targets our area," Wilkins said. "Jefferson County constituents."

©2017 Pine Bluff Commercial, Ark. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.