Citizens can help by involving themselves in the decisions that have impact on their daily way of life. Just as local government entities should operate collectively as a body to make decisions, citizens must also work collaboratively to learn, research and to make recommendations on topics within our local government.
A citizen advisory commission is my vision to include citizen participation in the local government decision-making process. It facilitates more direct interaction between citizens, governmental staff and elected officials. Citizen participation would help to efficiently implement policies, and to ensure that citizens all relevant stakeholders’ input are a key component in resolving issues pertinent to our community.
Our local government faces inadequate involvement by ill-informed constituents. Instead, well-organized and persistent interest groups dominate pitting the advocacy majority against groups that would disproportionately become affected. Our city cannot succeed during these tough economic times without making a strong attempt to garner the support and respect from our citizenry. This can only be accomplished with the inclusion of people; encouraging them to participate as a part of a citizen advisory commission to provide advice and recommendations to the Tallahassee city commission, Leon county commission, and Leon county school board.
The idea of conveying a citizen advisory commission is not new to American local government. Due to increased authority being given to political leaders, administrators and the reliance on full-time professional staff, advisory boards have been weakened.
The goal of the program would be to engage civic-minded, grass-root individuals through a community outreach process and public consultation. By promoting citizen and stakeholder participation, our government will be supporting a more transparent and accountable process, which will allow public officials to be well-informed and more responsive to the needs of our community.
For the program to be successful there must exist support from elected officials, which will create an enabling environment, disclose discussions on policy decisions ahead of time and facilitate citizen access to information.
Citizen involvement will lead to a more efficient and effective delivery of services to the public. This includes a more transparent and accountable government; and more importantly, public acceptance.
If you asked “What makes for a better tomorrow?” Multiple participants, working together for a better solution, would make for a better tomorrow. Citizens can help too.