Another International #CityHallSelfie Day is on the books and folks, the days of the conventional selfie are over. This was the year of props, costumes, filters, and field trips.
It was exceptionally difficult this time to decide on ten noteworthy selfies because the effort put into this crop of images was historically high.
The Chronicles worked all through the night reviewing hundreds of images, consulting with our artists-in-residence, and testing for authenticity. While there were dozens of contenders, each selfie on the list had to satisfy the following criteria:
A. be taken by or feature a city council member/mayor; or
B. be taken in a council chamber; and
C. be a true selfie — i.e. taken by someone in the picture.
Next week, we will invite a municipal selfie expert on the podcast who will render a verdict on the pièces de résistance. Here are the top 10:
10. Sarasota, Florida
This is a feel-good selfie, with the mayor posing in front of a thank you note from a group of cub scouts. Very shrewd to show off the mementos that find their way to city hall from grateful residents.
9. Medford, Oregon
Councilmember Alex Poythress got everyone to stand and deliver for this selfie! While it is more of a traditional council meeting photo, it is well choreographed. The council is happy to be there and the city logo is right there, too.
8. Hazelwood, Missouri
This is the next-level council meeting selfie: you have the council dais, folders and papers piled up, the staff by their desks, and perhaps even ordinary audience members ready to roll. It attempts to capture the total environment of a council meeting and due to the framing and the assortment of colors in the background, no one draws all of the attention.
7. Boca Raton, Florida
A mayor on the move! Any elected official can promote his own city, but to give publicity to neighboring cities? That shows a level of openness to cooperation that should reassure his fellow mayors.
6. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
This is a first for the list: a mayor takes a selfie and the local utility edits in the city hall! While the Photoshop job isn’t convincing, it is surprisingly expert. Clearly, this is a piece of art, although one that doesn’t consider how loud the council meetings would be with all of that rushing water outside.
5. San Antonio, Texas
Does fashion count for anything in this competition? The answer is: of course it does! San Antonio Councilman Clayton Perry is style personified, rolling out of city hall in a shiny black sports car with the shades, the hat, and the gold ring to match. In the movie made about #CityHallSelfie Day, Val Kilmer will definitely play him.
4. Fairfax, Virginia/Portland, Oregon
Apparently, Fairfax Council Member Jon Stehle got two selfies on two coasts over 24 hours. While making this list does include a cash prize, it is sadly not enough to cover the cost of transcontinental airfare.
3. Port Adelaide Enfield, South Australia
This selfie is All That and a Bag of Shrimp on the Barbie: it has a special field trip to the council chamber. It has the mayor. And it has a bell for intriguing and unclear reasons. Port Adelaide Enfield has put the “international” in “International #CityHallSelfie Day” and they even got the kids to smile!
2. Palmdale, CA and Leavenworth, Kansas
These selfies put the rightful spotlight on the people who bring city council meetings to the masses. While not taken in the council chamber, the selfies transport us to the council chamber. In fact, in Leavenworth there appears to be one happening onscreen right now! Also, this selfie is one of precious few that took advantage of Snapchat filters. Folks, it’s 2019–please bring your selfies into the filter age.
1. Gaithersburg, Maryland
Gaithersburg is the only city to make it onto the list during all three years, and it’s obvious why: the creativity and fearlessness in the council chamber are unparalleled. There are props, there are costumes, and there is a theme. They even changed their Twitter name to “#CityHallSelfie-burg, MD” for the day! And as usual, council members were all-in. I feel comfortable calling Gaithersburg the “city council selfie capital” of 2019, and their trophy is in the mail.