Good local government requires cooperation

Jun 09, 2021 at 10:15 am by robmtchl

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

For our community to continue leading in the 21st Century Economy, we need a 21st Century Government. 

We need a government that is lean, efficient, and continuously striving to do more with less, ensuring that every taxpayer dollar is used wisely and to the maximum effect.  And we need a government that is responsive to the needs of its citizens and businesses and is willing to embrace the rapid pace of technological innovation underway, ensuring that we remain globally competitive. 

Our county must move aggressively to set goals and measure progress focused on outcomes rather than activities, which is key to reducing fragmentation and unwanted duplication and overlap. In areas as diverse as solid waste and a clean environment, homelessness, and economic development technical assistance, significant progress must be made measuring, managing, and sharing lessons and resources. In addition, we must better identify the programs contributing to shared goals and actively focus on identification of areas of services where unwanted duplication and overlap frequently occur. Additionally, it is imperative we communicate our shared mutual vision with community stakeholders and citizens and actively recruit their engagement in the process.

Horizontal integration in business occurs when a business acquires a direct competitor providing a similar or same service. In local government, it may mean two school systems, fire departments or other services may benefit by an improvement in economies of scale. The cost savings are realized by the taxpayer.

While the process of vertical integration might call for something such as a community ambulance or public health service feeding clients to a community-owned health care facility. Both vertical and horizontal integration are processes that are commonly used in business and government. They are seldom adequately explained to citizens as to their impact on their lives. This must change.

Whichever path a community takes as we move forward, it is important that we realize public engagement in the process will determine the overall success in the long run.

Too often administrative initiatives have become clouded with suspicion only for the fact that the impression of citizens is that governance “happens” to them rather than “for and by” them.

Transparency and a commitment to putting that process first in the eyes of the public is often the overlooked cornerstone of our foundation of self-determination and democracy.

Sections: Opinion


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