Experts have called community building more of an art than a science. But a new project, undertaken by ICMA with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, will ultimately give local government managers some much-needed support in this area.
In serving as leaders—both for their organizations and for their communities—city, county, and town managers are looking for tools to develop greater citizen participation in creating and building community.
As a first step, a small group of managers met recently to launch the initiative. They included James Bourey, city manager, Greenville, South Carolina; Edward Everett, Redwood City, California; Lee Feldman, city manager, Palm Bay, Florida; Cheryl Hilvert, city manager, Montgomery, Ohio; James Ley, county administrator, Sarasota County, Florida; Peggy Merriss, city manager, Decatur, Georgia; Randall Reid, county manager, Alachua County, Florida; and Raymond Patchett, Carlsbad, California.
The goal is to form an advisory council of members to assess managers’ knowledge and needs and to direct and guide the resources that will be developed throughout the project. The group will explore best practices and look for examples of jurisdictions that are applying strategies that lead to consistent and effective outcomes in citizen engagement and community building. A new Management Perspective, published in January 2009, defines the manager’s leadership role and responsibilities in community building.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation works with organizations like ICMA to help fashion more innovative, cost-effective responses to the needs of today’s communities.
Additional Community Building Resources