Meet the Department of Civic Things.


Rebecca Woodbury worked in local government for over a decade and was the City of San Rafael’s first director of Digital Service & Open Government. She also served as the City's public information officer. Rebecca developed the City’s digital strategic framework and led an organization-wide human-centered design training program.

In 2017, Government Technology named her one of the Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers and in 2014 she received the Rising Star award at the Municipal Management Association of Northern California’s Women’s Leadership Summit. She has a BA in Public Policy and an MPP, both from Mills College in Oakland, California.

Who we serve

  • City and Town managers
  • Communication managers
  • Public information officers
  • IT managers
  • City clerks
  • Analysts

Outcomes & success

  • Increased satisfaction with government services
  • Helpful, timely information provided to the community
  • Modernized tech tools and support
  • Empowered employees
  • Increased trust and confidence in local government

The challenge

Small, local government budgets and employees are stretched thin. They are often forced to be reactive rather than strategic in their service delivery.

The Great Recession, coronavirus pandemic, and rising pension costs have made balancing a budget hard. The cuts typically result in decreased resident satisfaction and employee morale.

Asked to “do more with less,” public servants are wearing more hats than ever. They provide critical public services but often lack the tools and methods to provide good digital services.

This can lead to inefficient or inequitable services, frustration, and decreased public trust. Without trust, tax measures fail. Elected officials rotate through like a revolving door and satisfaction levels continue to drop.

The solution

Local government services are easy to use, both by the public and public servants. People easily find them. They understand the information without a high level of education or training. They complete forms and transactions without friction.

Employees are empowered to improve services and information over time. They don't need a lot of training to use the tools. They have the space, permission, and support to make improvements.

People have helpful and timely information so they can stay safe during emergencies. They know how to get the services they need. They don’t dread dealing with their local government. Instead, their experience of government services is good. They feel good that their tax dollars are well-spent. Budgets get easier to balance due to efficiency gains.

This results in increased levels of satisfaction with and trust in local government.

Our logo

The logo for the Department of Civic Things is made up of three elements:

  • The circular shape is a tip of the hat to the seals of governments.
  • The laurel wreath symbolizes civic duty and prosperity.
  • The heart evokes the care and love we have for the communities we serve.


‘Thing' / 'ting' / 'þing'

A Norse form of local, democratic governing.

People of a village would gather to discuss matters and everyone could voice their opinions.

Civic things

Civic things are elements of our communities that we need and love:

  • Services and programs (protection, permits, classes)
  • Amenities and infrastructure (streets, parks, benches, art, pipes, signs)
  • Ideas and governance (elections, civic engagement, equity)

We believe these things should work for everyone in the community. As the needs of a community change over time, so must civic things. We help you care for and evolve your civic things.

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