Local Government Basics

Overview

Local Government Basics

The Local Government Basics program offers resources and materials that explain the nuts and bolts of local government structures and processes for newly-elected officials, newly-hired staff, the media and members of the public.

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Sources of Law Affecting Agencies

To keep local agencies in compliance with state and federal laws, local agency counsel must research several kinds of law.

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How Agencies Act

Local agency governing bodies make policy and spending (fiscal) decisions.

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Local Agency Powers and Limitations

What can local agencies do to address issues that arise within their boundaries?

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Financial Management for Elected Officials: Questions to Ask / Administración Financiera para Oficiales Electos:

This plain language publication, available in English and Spanish, helps elected officials, the media and the public understand the basics of local agency financial planning and management, including what kinds of questions to ask to assure good practices are being followed.

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Understanding the Basics of County and City Revenues / Entendiendo los Ingresos de los Condados y las Cuidades

Understanding the Basics of County and City Revenues provides a plain language explanation of where revenues to fund California county and city services come from. This resource is available in English and Spanish.

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Resources in Spanish/ Recursos en Espanol

The Institute has prepared a number of resources in Spanish to enhance understanding of how local government works among officials, staff, media and members of the public. 

La institución a preparado un numero de recursos en español para mejorar el entendimiento de como el gobierno local trabaja entre oficiales, personal, medios de comunicación y miembros de el publico.

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How to Chair a Meeting

A key element of the success of any meeting is the approach and skills of the meeting chair.

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Communicating Effectively in Public Service:
The Virtues of Plain Language

An easy thing elected officials and staff can do to promote transparency and trust in one’s agency is encouraging all agency communications to be in plain language.

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