Interview #145: Jefferson City, MO Mayor Carrie Tergin (with podcast)

This podcast interview is available on iTunesStitcherPlayer FM, and right here:

Carrie Tergin, the #SelfieWithTheMayor extraordinaire, returns to review the 2019 top 10 city council selfies list. Later, she also reflects upon the council meeting that took place hours before two natural disasters struck Jefferson City.

Q: August 15 was International #CityHallSelfie Day, sponsored by our good friends at ELGL.org. Where would you like to start?

A: I’m going to start by saying there are some really great city hall selfies. Number six is going to be my number three. What I like about this is they were able to Photoshop their city hall in the backdrop of the selfie. You know what? If you can put city hall there, you can put city hall anywhere. That’s one of my top three.

Number five, he’s going to get an honorable mention because he’s really rocking an awesome hat. I gotta give him credit for his selfie with the hat because we all need our sun protection and everybody, wear your sunscreen. He gets an honorable mention for taking care of himself because as mayors, we don’t always do that!

Number three on your list is my number two: Port Adelaide Enfield, Australia. I thought, how cool! It’s international and I also liked it because it highlights the civic groups. It highlights this youth team and the next generation of leaders.

Your number one is my number one. Of course it’s the ’80s! The electric guitar–what is that movie with the “maniac–“?

Q: Flashdance!

A: Flashdance! The “maniac” shirt, I’d wear it to a council meeting if I had it. Then you get down to the Darth Vader and Princess Leia–it’s more like “Prince Leia.” It’s really well done. These two city hall selfies are way out in front.

Q: For the folks who have listened to this program now for three straight years and still have sat out for #CityHallSelfie Day, what can you say to persuade them that taking pictures at city hall is more than a millennial craze?

A: It’s an everyday craze for sure. The more you get into it, the more fun it is. I can be walking down the sidewalk and people will approach and say, “oh, you’re the mayor! Can we please take a selfie?” I love that because it means that people are recognizing their mayor and they want to be part of the story.

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Jefferson City, MO Mayor Carrie Tergin

Q: On May 22, you had an emergency council meeting in which you were hearing a lot about potential flooding in Jefferson City. Was the possibility of a tornado even on your radar?

A: No. Absolutely not. No way. Almost our only concern was this flood. Listening to [the meeting], you hear it and you want to say, “guys, here’s what’s getting ready to happen. Oh, my gosh, it’s coming!” You want to go out there with a warning and say, this tornado is coming in a matter of hours. It’s kind of wild to listen to that and know that that was hours before the tornado and here we were very focused on the flood.

Q: Ever since the flooding and tornado, almost every meeting for the past three months has had some mention of the disaster. Is the damage and the rescue and the recovery something that people need to talk about or is it something that people want to talk about?

A: It’s something that we’re living everyday. It’s not just a part of our conversation. It’s a part of our lives and it will be for years to come. #JCStrong is real. It’s a real thing. Communities have it. Not every community’s tested to the point where they have to know that. We are completely changed.


Follow Mayor Carrie Tergin on Twitter: @CarrieTergin

Interview #102: Jefferson City, MO Mayor Carrie Tergin (with podcast)

This podcast interview is available on iTunesStitcherPlayer FM, and right here:

Carrie Tergin is famous for her “selfies with the mayor” and is therefore the foremost authority to appraise our International #CityHallSelfie Day Top 10 List. On the podcast, we welcome her back to talk about city hall art, and then discuss one time her own council meeting took a series of unexpected twists.

Q: Mayor, where would you like to start?

A: I have to tell you, these top 10 selfies are just exquisite. We have Waldo, Florida and it was his first selfie! Mayor Louie Davis, to share your very first ever selfie on #CityHallSelfie Day–and he may or may not know this–the requirement is that he’s gonna have to send regular selfies. He can’t just do the one. We wanna see that continue, so don’t disappoint me.

Q: I am inspired that it is never too late to start taking selfies!

A: Absolutely. And the “Where’s Waldo?” I mean, you can do so much with that. Number eight, we have Cary, North Carolina. I have to say, I’m going to give this a number two on Mayor Tergin’s list. Why? Because she has a Snapchat filter. Wow! And a bitmoji on top of it. If you don’t know what either one of those are, you’re gonna have to get with the program!

Q: Has Jeff City ever had a Snapchat filter to your knowledge?

A: Oh, as a matter of fact we have. Shame on me for not taking a selfie with it. Uh-oh. That’s our challenge: figuring out how can we elevate our selfie game? Congrats, Lori. You are my number two choice.

A: This next selfie in Maryland, which is the multi-angle selfie–a selfie within a selfie within a selfie, so basically the “infinity” city hall selfie–that would be my number one. I mean, you can’t hide. When you talk about transparency, when you talk about open government, I don’t know how you can get any more open than that. If you look in there, you’ll just be looking really to infinity to see all of the infinite selfies that are shown in this picture. Really good job on all the action.

Q: I appreciate all of your critiques. I think everyone who entered this competition was a winner, even though they didn’t know I was turning it into a competition! We do have to get back to the serious business of council meetings in Jefferson City. On March 5, I noticed that you could not have a meeting due to the lack of council members. When did you find out that was the situation?

A: Well, sitting there waiting for the council meeting to begin and looking at the clock and starting to say, “where is this councilman and that councilman? Is everybody okay?” And then realizing that “oh, this person did say they were going to be out of town.” At the time I thought, what do you want me to do? You want me to sing? You want me to entertain you? We’ve got everybody here, so how do we have an entertaining time without actually conducting any city business?

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Jefferson City, MO Mayor Carrie Tergin

A: That particular night, though, we were also waiting on the crew for the U.S.S. Jefferson City. We have a submarine that is named for our city. We had crew members that were in from Hawaii visiting their namesake city. They had planned to stop by that evening. The cool thing was, even though we had no official business, we were able to spend quite a bit of time with the crew members, have them talk about their experiences. We were able to focus that entire time on our military and all they do for our country. In that moment of panic that “we don’t have a quorum and what are we going to do,” it was almost like it was meant to be, really. It was one of those moments that turned out to be one of my favorite council meetings ever.


Follow Mayor Carrie Tergin on Twitter: @CarrieTergin

Month in Review: August 2017

Summer may be winding down, but the city council meetings are heating up! The biggest news out of August was International City Hall Selfie Day. You can check your social media for the thousands of images generated on the holiest of high holidays or you can peruse my Top 10 list instead. I also invited a top selfie expert on the podcast to pick an ultimate winner.

Of course, we saw our fair share of drama in city council meetings, including two mayors who raised their voices at council members and an entire council meeting that very quickly turned into a bonfire. If you missed that Jerry Springer plotline, go scan the August Month in Review.

And if you don’t know why this man is pointing at heaven…it’s because he’s pointing at heaven. But the reason will blow your heathen mind:

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Interview #62: Jefferson City, MO Mayor Carrie Tergin (with podcast)

This podcast interview is available on iTunesStitcherPlayer FM, and right here:

I talked to Carrie Tergin last year about her reputation for taking “selfies with the mayor.” But after this year’s International City Hall Selfie Day, I HAD to get her take on the 2017 artwork.

Q: A couple of weeks ago it was International City Hall Selfie Day and I’d like us to critique some of the city council selfies that people sent in. Let’s start with your image. What’s going on there?

A: This is Cardboard Carrie decked out in the eclipse glasses. Councilman [Rick] Mihalevich, who had to run the meeting in my absence, really got a workout and took several pictures. I’m very impressed with Rick and his form.

Q: Of the top 10 city council selfies, did you have a favorite one?

A: First of all, I loved every single one! This Columbia, South Carolina–the gentleman holding it up, he’s kind of got his mouth open. You can tell it might be his first selfie ever. It makes me think of maybe my dad if my dad were to take a selife! He really made an effort.

The second one would be Ocean City. That is, like, wow–Mr. Fuzzy Britches? How impressive! Why didn’t we think to bring Darco, the police dog?

I would say my top choice was Madison, Wisconsin. It almost looks like Maurice Cheeks is standing in the center of the world. He has literally put Madison at the center of the world and that would be my top pick.

Q: Maurice Cheeks’s selfie also has excellent product placement–he’s holding a City Hall Selfie Day sticker! But Mayor, if you came into a council meeting and noticed a big stain on the floor and the police chief told you, “that is from our horse that we brought here after hours and he pooped on the floor,” what would your reaction be?

A: I think I may frown on that just a little bit! I mean, hats off to our police officers, our firefighters, and honestly, that includes our police dog, Darco. It includes Mr. Fuzzy Britches the horse. That’s something else I liked about [International City Hall Selfie Day]: when you recognize those who keep our city safe.

Q: Carrie, I heard an anecdote at one of your council meetings that Jefferson City stopped making public commenters give their address because people were getting fan mail from prisoners who were watching. Is that true?

A: [Laughs] A couple of reasons: one is safety. When you’re at a council meeting giving your address, we do stream our meetings live. So, “oh, guess what? So-and-so who lives at XYZ? They’re not home right now!” You don’t want something to happen. And two: we welcome people whether you’re inside city limits or not.

Q: I saw that a Thomas Jefferson reenactor stopped by one of your meetings! How often does he come in?

A: In Jefferson City, we do celebrate as often as possible. The thought was, let’s have a birthday celebration for Thomas Jefferson and why not invite him to a council meeting?

Q: Do you think the next City Hall Selfie Day, you’ll get a picture with Thomas Jefferson?

A: He kind of photobombs a lot of my selfies because he’s on the city seal behind where the mayor sits!


Follow Mayor Carrie Tergin on Twitter: @CarrieTergin 

Interview #12: Jefferson City, MO Mayor Carrie Tergin

Last month was International #CityHallSelfie Day, and one particular mid-council meeting collage caught my eye:

Turns out, this artwork came from Jefferson City, Missouri’s shutterbug Mayor Carrie Tergin. We got deep into selfies, public comments, and whether mayors are important.

Q: How many times per week do you take mayoral selfies?

A: Boy, I wish I counted! I’m a pretty active mayor. I have a big Facebook following. If I’m at an event and people see me, they say, “we want to get a selfie with the mayor!” It’s just kinda become my thing!

Q: Has anyone ever called you the Kim Kardashian of Central Missouri?

A: [Laughs] No! I’ve never, ever, ever had that impression, actually.

Q: Let’s try to make that a thing. In what circumstances other than #CityHallSelfie Day would you take a selfie during a council meeting?

A: That’s NEVER happened until City Council Selfie day. We’re at at the pre-meeting and–I have to give credit to two other council representatives: Councilwoman [Erin] Wiseman and Councilman [Ken] Hussey–both said during our pre-meeting, “did you know today’s #CityHallSelfie Day?” And I said, “What?!” That was not even on my radar! So they’re all laughing, then we went over to council chambers and took more selfies.

Q: We have some footage of those selfies:

A: When we present proclamations or if we have a group there, I always try to stop and say, “hey let’s get a picture.” Then I post it and share it. I know the council probably would say, “here she goes again, getting out her camera.” But for some people that come to city council to talk about what’s important to them, this is their moment to shine.

Q: And it might be the only time that person comes to a city council meeting, so you make it count. Which reminds me, during an interview in 2015, you said this:

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How often did you show up to comment at city council meetings?

A: Probably several times a year. As we found the city taking down some older homes, I found myself at the podium a lot.

Q: What advice would you give Carrie Tergin, the public commenter, at being better at influencing Carrie Tergin, the mayor?

A: I think the key is to be precise and…

Q: Brief?

A: Focused. Brief is part of that. People come before the council and they don’t necessarily know what they’re asking for.

Q: At council meetings, what’s the difference between being mayor and a regular council member?

A: The mayor presides over the meeting, but doesn’t have a vote unless it’s a tie. Some would say, “you don’t have a vote, so are you really that important?” Absolutely. Even a mayor without a vote still is charged with guiding the council. The [former Mayor John] Landwehr Rule was, “you’re not gonna clap and you’re not gonna boo.”

Q: As mayor, do you now see public commenters from your days as a citizen and still have a connection with them?

A: Oh, yeah. Some of those folks that, we were together championing causes back in the early to mid-2000s, we’re still saying, “wow, look at how much we’re accomplishing now.”

Q: Do you think they see you as the one who “made it?”

A: No, it’s not about me. I think what they see is that they supported me, and their support is what was key.


Follow Mayor Carrie Tergin on Twitter: @CarrieTergin