Thankful for Public Resources and Public Officials’ Wise Stewardship of Them
It’s “Thankful November” (#thankfulnovember) season on social media. The notion is to take time during this season of Thanksgiving to reflect on the various blessings in one’s life.
At the Institute for Local Government, we are thankful for our local democratic institutions, through which communities pool resources and energies to provide necessary services and facilities that benefit all (or, as we believe at the Institute, to create great places to live, work, play and learn).
We spend a fair amount of time at the Institute mulling the special stewardship that comes with making decisions related to the best use of those precious public resources.
Part of that stewardship involves asking the right questions when it comes to agency finances (www.ca-ilg.org/financialmanagement).
Another involves creative ways for local officials to understand the full range of public preferences and perspectives on priorities for using public resources (www.ca-ilg.org/engaging-public-budgeting). Public engagement options in the local agency budgeting decision-making process will be the subject of a CSAC Institute session at next week’s CSAC Annual Conference.
Yet another dimension of public officials’ stewardship of public resources involves more day-to-day decisions. Decisions on how these resources can be used, by whom and for what purposes involve special legal and ethical issues. To help, ILG produced a three-part “Everyday Ethics” series addressing some of these issues, which include:
• The use of agency insignia, including letterhead, seals, logos and badges
• Agency gifts, charitable donations and fundraising
• Special issues related to expense reimbursement, including agency credit cards, travel reimbursement and attending conferences
These articles are available to local officials and staff at www.ca-ilg.org/public-resources-articles.
We are also thankful for those whose generosity funds our efforts at the Institute. That includes our parent organizations CSAC and the League of California Cities, which provide about 16 percent of our overall budget; foundations (the James Irvine Foundation funds our work on inclusive public engagement processes, including the budgeting work); and our private sector funders (the Meyers Nave firm is funding our “Everyday Ethics” series in 2013).
Another thing we are thankful for at the Institute? Our local officials and staff who work so hard in service to California’s communities, of course!
JoAnne Speers is the executive director for the Institute for Local Government (www.ca-ilg.org), CSAC's research affiliate. The Institute promotes good government at the local level.
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