New Resources for Local Officials
Success in Public Service: What You Need to Know Before You’re Appointed or Elected

The Institute for Local Government (ILG) has a new resource for local agencies. It’s the brainchild of an intern who posed the question: Wouldn’t it be better if people knew about ethics laws before they sought either election or appointment to public office? That would enable them to make a more informed decision on whether public service is right for them. ILG has taken this idea and created a pamphlet for potential candidates for local office, produced with the generous support of the law firm Best Best & Krieger LLP.

The pamphlet provides a general overview of ethics laws that apply to public service, as well as practical tips that help potential candidates assess how these laws might affect them and their service. Thinking about these impacts in advance can help them make informed choices and perhaps avoid ethical missteps.

Getting the Public Involved

Making better decisions through effective public participation in decision-making is the subject of a publication coming soon from ILG, Public Involvement Strategies: Questions to Guide Local Officials.

Decision-making that is informed by an inclusive public involvement process can generate broad support for implementation. But how can decision-makers take advantage of the benefits offered by public participation?

Public Involvement Strategies: Questions to Guide Local Officials will offer practical ideas on how to use the most appropriate processes to generate useful public input and knowledge that will guide decision-making.

The guide will address:

  • The goals of public involvement;
  • When public input can help most;
  • Getting started on the right foot;
  • Avoiding the biggest pitfalls;
  • Overcoming existing divisiveness; and
  • Turning public talk into public action.

Public Involvement Strategies will also help local officials identify the best approach to public involvement, including:

  • Defining the public’s role;
  • Ensuring diverse participation;
  • Selecting the best format for a public forum;
  • Fitting the right people and process together for success; and
  • Creating a long-term capacity for public involvement.

The discussion of these issues helps local officials make choices that best fit their communities’ needs.

Public Involvement Strategies: Questions to Guide Local Officials is a product of ILG’s Collaborative Governance Initiative and was produced with the generous support of the law firm Hanson Bridgett Marcus Vlahos & Rudy, LLP; the Silicon Valley Community Foundation; and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. It will be mailed to city managers, planning directors and other local officials throughout the state.

To Obtain a Copy

These publications may be purchased through CityBooks at (916) 658-8257 or They are also posted online: Success in Public Service is at and Public Involvement Strategies will be available soon at

This article appears in the September 2006 issue of Western City
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