City Officials Want Trust, but Want to Make the Decisions on Their Own?

The National League of Cities conducted of a survey of more 500 elected officials on local democracy in the US.  The 2007 is recent enough to give a clear view on the state of government and community trust and engagement.

It is very striking that while government officials complain of  lack of trust and engagement, the elected officials also think that citizens trust them to make most of the decisions for the community–a contradiction in views.  In other words, officials think they are not trusted enough by the citizens, but that we, the citizens, trust them enough to make decisions. Curious–sounds just a little self-serving, or not?

See some of the survey results.

Major findings from the latest National League of Cities’ State of America’s

Cities Survey of nearly 500 municipal elected leaders include:

  • Three in five city officials (58%) report that the lack of trust and degree

of disengagement between residents and government is a big problem in the nation, generally.

  • City officials are particularly concerned about the role of the media in

public life. Eighteen percent rate as poor the role of print media in contributing

to civility and responsibility in public life; 15 percent rate as poor

the role of electronic media.

  • Two-thirds of city officials (66%) believe that residents, business owners,

and others in their city trust the city government to do what is right most

of the time.

  • Over 50 percent of city officials (52%) indicate that citizen engagement

in public life of their city has gotten better over the past five years.

  • Over three-quarters of city officials (77%) think that their city government

is doing either an excellent (22%) or good (55%) job of reaching out

to engage residents in local decision and policy making.

About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in economic development programs and projects

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