Local leaders are astutely aware that the pandemic is not over
and that our local communities continue to reel from its public
health and fiscal impacts. Despite this uncertainty, city
leaders continue to press forward as we chart a path to recovery.
And prudent financial decision-making will be critical in our
In March 2021, cities across the nation breathed a sigh of relief
as an economic package that included $65 billion for
municipalities finally made its way through Congress and was
signed into law. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided
badly needed direct and flexible funds to cash-strapped cities on
the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020.
As we reflect on the many projects made possible by the American
Rescue Plan Act this month, it is important to consider that
which has incalculable value: public service. Put simply, local
government is where the rubber meets the road and policy becomes
action. This article by Frank V. Zerunyan, Mayor of Rolling Hills
Estates and Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public
Policy, reflects on the unique, vital role that city officials
play in keeping our democracy and communities healthy.
As is the case in many cities, gang connections go back decades
in San Bernardino, spanning generations of family members. To
disrupt the cycle, the city partnered with community-based
organizations to create a program that aims to prevent gang gun
violence and de-escalate tensions through personal
interactions with gang members and at-risk youth in ways that law
Like most communities, the pandemic challenged Whittier’s economy
across industries. In the early days of the pandemic, a once
buzzing and vivacious Whittier became a shadow of its former
self. Small businesses were forced to close their doors and
furlough or lay off employees. Amidst considerable
uncertainty, the city acted swiftly to implement critical
solutions and assist the business community in a variety of
effective, innovative ways.
A new law went into effect at the beginning of this
year that creates new liabilities for public agencies when
reporting compensation, shifting exposure for reporting
mistakes from retirees almost exclusively to the
With age taking its toll on existing vehicle fleets, many local
government agencies are learning how to not only improve the
lifecycle of their vehicles but reduce their total cost of
ownership with no impact on their current budget.