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New Resources: The Latest in Best Practices and More

Have you checked out the Institute for Local Government (ILG) website at www.ca-ilg.org lately? It includes a variety of new resources to assist local officials in their service to their communities. ILG offers these as part of its mission to provide practical, impartial and easy-to-use materials, which are free and readily available online.

Local Government 101

Many local agencies are in the process of preparing orientation materials for newly elected officials in conjunction with the 2012 election cycle. With this in mind, ILG has added a number of new items to its resource section for newly elected officials at www.ca-ilg.org/new-local-public-service. These materials can save local agency staff time and cover topics including:

  • Understanding the labor relations process;
  • How to chair a meeting; and
  • How to work with colleagues to accomplish your goals.

If your local agency has helpful orientation materials for newly elected officials, ILG welcomes the opportunity to see them and, if appropriate, adapt them for statewide use. For more information, contact Randi Stephens, program coordinator.

Sustainability and Public Engagement

Understanding SB 375: Opportunities to Engage the Public in Regional Planning describes options and best practices to engage the public in regional transportation planning, especially as it relates to developing sustainable communities strategies. The electronic version is available free from the ILG website at www.ca-ilg.org/sb-375-resource-center.

One chapter addresses the challenges of seeking public input when some members of the public have deeply held concerns about the underlying premises of the planning process and SB 375’s requirements. Because it may assist local officials in any situation involving potentially contentious issues, this chapter is available as a stand-alone item at www.ca-ilg.org/sb-375-resource-center.

Other ILG resources to help familiarize local officials with SB 375 include:

  • Understanding SB 375: Regional Planning for Transportation, Housing and the Environment — a plain-language overview of SB 375’s requirements; and
  • Understanding SB 375: Public Participation Requirements — an explanation of SB 375’s requirements for seeking public input in developing sustainable communities strategies.

These SB 375 resources and more can also be found at www.ca-ilg.org/sb-375-resource-center. For additional materials related to sustainability visit www.ca-ilg.org/sustainable-communities.

Realignment

Another new section on the ILG site offers resources on public safety realignment and re-entry. This information includes:

  • The evolving realignment of state and local responsibilities for public safety and community corrections throughout the state;
  • Specific realignment and re-entry activities with an emphasis on cross-sector innovations;
  • The work of re-entry councils throughout the state that are coordinating local efforts to support the successful re-entry of formerly incarcerated individuals into the community and to reduce recidivism; and
  • Examples of efforts to inform and engage the public about realignment and re-entry plans and issues.

These materials are available at www.ca-ilg.org/realignment-and-reentry.

Ethics

Western City’s April installment of the “Everyday Ethics for Local Officials” column explains recent changes to the gift rules.

Local officials who want a more comprehensive explanation of how the gift rules work can visit www.ca-ilg.org/GiftCenter. The best source of information on how these rules apply to specific situations is either the Fair Political Practices Commission (www.fppc.ca.gov) or your agency counsel.

ILG has updated its analysis of federal ethics laws reflecting the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision narrowing the application of the “honest services fraud” laws (discussed in a 2006 “Everyday Ethics” column). This resource is available at www.ca-ilg.org/document/making-federal-case-out-corruption.

Feedback and Suggestions Welcome

ILG welcomes suggestions and feedback on these resources; staff contact information is posted at www.ca-ilg.org/staff. You can also follow ILG on Facebook and Twitter. ILG is the nonprofit research affiliate of the League and California State Association of Counties.