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The New Reality for Local Officials: Governance During Ongoing Fiscal Stress


The Institute’s board of directors was privileged to hear from Dr. Frank Benest at its May board meeting. Dr. Benest is a former local agency manager and current consultant and trainer on rightsizing public organizations.


Frank encouraged the board to reflect on the reality of the ever-changing disruptive world of permanent fiscal crisis. With Frank’s help, the Institute board identified the key challenges facing local agencies. Board members also identified the indispensible leadership competencies local officials will need to meet these challenges.

Developing a number of these competencies is already part of the Institute’s work program. This includes the need to build public trust, encourage public engagement and partnerships, and provide local officials with options for addressing climate change and regional decision-making. Others tie into the Institute’s “local government basics” efforts, including the need for young people to consider local public service as a career option and how agencies recruit and hire staff.

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