Local government concerns are increasingly complex and sophisticated, and the need for
familiarity with a broad range of issues is unsurpassed. The Municipal Year Book has been a trusted
source of local government data and developments for ten decades. In the 2015 edition you’ll find:
“Key Considerations for Shaping the Future” looks at eight areas of focus in the coming decade.
Management Trends and Survey Research
1.Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter: Racial Disparity and a Review of Police-Community Relations
In 2014, with the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown followed by the retributive assassination of two New York City patrol officers, race disparity and police use of force collided to become the top issue in urban America. These incidents have highlighted the need for professional managers and police leaders to critically examine current policing policies and practices. Against the backdrop of the underlying history and continuing reality of racism in U.S. society, as evidenced by pervasive economic, racial and ethnic, and judicial disparities, this article explores four critical elements inherent in police-community relations and police use of force: the context of race in society, the different perceptions of police based on race, the prevalence of police use of deadly force, and policies on police use of force. The intent is to identify specific actions that local government managers can take to work with their police leaders and the community to build bridges, avoid incidents, and ensure that proper action is
taken when a deadly force situation occurs.
2.Trends in Local Economic Development Policies
ICMA has been running surveys on local economic development practices at five-year intervals for the
last 30 years. The most recent survey, which was conducted in 2014, provides a sense of the impact that the Great Recession has had on local economic development policies. Economic development policies are designed to help
achieve various goals. This article explores what local governments currently identify as their highest-priority economic development goals, what they see as the most significant barriers to economic development, and what they have been doing to overcome those barriers over a period of extreme fiscal constraint. In
addition, it examines the extent to which local officials feel that their economic development policies are at least somewhat successful in meeting the goals identified as most important.
3. Collaboration: The Key to Building Communities for All Generations
As America faces the “silver tsunami” of a growing aging population, it also faces a challenge to invest in children. Both groups make special demands on local government for education, housing, and community services, as well as for access to the built environment and transportation systems. The needs of children and elders have traditionally been addressed mainly through age-segregated programs. But fiscal constraints require local governments to
look for more efficiencies, which may be achieved through integrated programs, and new research points to the advantages of intergenerational programming, especially in recreation and social services. In 2012, Cornell researchers joined with ICMA and the American Planning Association to host a series of focus groups with city managers and planners to discuss how municipalities can meet the needs of children and seniors in service delivery, public participation, and planning. That series led to the first national Planning across Generations survey in 2013, conducted to measure what communities are actually doing in this regard. This article reports on the results of that
4.Collaborative Service Delivery: A Tool for Assessing Feasibility
Since the Great Recession, local governments have seen citizen needs rise while revenues decline. At the same time, increased jurisdictional fragmentation in combination with legal constraints has created major hurdles for individual localities trying to address environmental, social, and economic problems that extend beyond their own jurisdictional boundaries. To cope with these circumstances, more local governments are turning to collaborative or shared services to meet increasing demands efficiently and economically. However, the benefits of such arrangements are not without costs. Through research conducted by ICMA, Arizona State University’s Center for Urban Innovation, and the Alliance for Innovation, a decision tool has been developed to help managers determine (1) whether they should pursue a collaborative service delivery arrangement, and (2) if they do, what form of collaboration will have the best chance of success. This article first describes that tool and then, using brief summaries of case studies that reflect five different types of collaboration, illustrates how the tool could
have been used to aid in the decision.
5. 2014: The Year of Fiscal Reckoning
With the growing gap between promised public pensions and what cities have been able to afford since the recession; the explosion of special districts, raising federal questions about what constitutes a city or
municipality; and the largest municipal bankruptcies in American history, 2014 was a year of reckoning for city leaders. Such reckoning has led naturally to the key question: are states and local governments on a fiscally sustainable path? With a special focus on the fiscal upheavals in Stockton, California, and Detroit, Michigan, this article reviews the key issues at the heart of this question―issues with complex federalism implications that not only cut across the country’s three levels of governments but also raise profound constitutional questions regarding whether federal laws may preempt state constitutions and supersede municipal authority to address financial
6.Paradigm Shift in Public Administration: Some Thoughts on Changing Best Practices
The United States, together with many other countries, is experiencing a paradigm shift from the modern, industrial age to the postmodern, information age. Increased complexity due to high-tech developments and greater
population diversity are important aspects of the transformation. For governments, the shift has substantial ramifications, as can be seen in such areas as the merit system, organizational structures and networks, hiring
practices, performance management, mentoring, and the use of social media. This article explores these and other issues, all of which highlight the need for leadership, collaboration, and discourse to ensure that the wealth of resources and expanded capabilities made available by the high-tech revolution are harnessed for the good of
7.Can We Work Together? Regional Councils and the Challenges They Face
Regional cooperation between multiple local governments can take many different forms, ranging from structural consolidations or mergers of local governments, to more flexible, functional approaches. Regional councils,
such as councils of governments and metropolitan planning organizations, are often cited for their ability to foster cooperation, achieve greater operational efficiency, improve service delivery, and solve problems that
extend beyond jurisdictional boundaries. However, because these councils are typically voluntary organizations, they lack the authority to mandate participation. They also operate with limited resources, as most are unable to
levy taxes as local governments do. This article examines the current state of regional councils in the United States, reviews the challenges facing regional council leaders, and outlines the efforts of those leaders to generate and
sustain cooperation among members.
Directory 1 consists of eight lists providing the names and websites of U.S. state municipal leagues; provincial and territorial associations and unions in Canada; state agencies for community affairs; provincial and territorial agencies for local affairs in Canada; U.S. municipal management associations; international municipal management associations; state associations of counties; and U.S. councils of governments recognized by ICMA.
Directory 2 presents “Professional, Special Assistance, and Educational Organizations Serving Local and State Governments.” The 80 organizations that are included provide educational and research services to members and others, strengthening professionalism in government administration.
Organization of Data
Most of the tabular data for The Municipal Year Book 2015 were obtained from public officials through questionnaires developed and administered by ICMA. ICMA maintains databases with the results of these
surveys. All survey responses are reviewed for errors. Extreme values are identified and investigated; logic checks are applied in the analysis of the results.
The Municipal Year Book is the only resource that combines important and timely analysis on
current local government trends, extensive survey-based research, and best
practices in local government management.