What can local officials and their communities do to prevent a
culture of self-interest over public interest from taking hold?
What can they do to make sure abuses of authority do not occur in
It was fairly obvious that something was afoot at the . . .
meeting. The first clue: there were members of the public
present. As a rule, no one other than the district’s
engineer, attorney or the press is in attendance.
Many Madison City Council members send and receive emails and
texts during meetings, and the city requires all of it to be kept
as a public record. Some want to explore new rules because such
communications can create the possibility of open meetings
What legal issues do public agencies face relating to
their use of social media? This paper chronicles a number of
them. It also offers “dos and don’ts” advice for
reaping the benefits of social media while minimizing the
When it comes to closed sessions, and confidential information
learned during closed sessions, the decision to provide greater
transparency must reflect the collective judgment of the
decision-making body. As discussed in this column there can often
be competing “right” values at stake in a situation.
Looking for a cost effective way to explain core aspects of local
agency operations and decision-making processes? The answer
is at your keyboard.
The Institute’s “Local Government 101″
resources enable local agencies to offer plain language
explanations of core concepts in local government. The
Institute welcomes links to these resources from agency websites.