According to this article in Sun-Thisweek, dozens of hand-picked “area leaders” will gather together to make government work better for its citizens. The session which will focus on improving the services provided by government agencies through citizen-led sessions which are ironically closed to the general public.
From the article:
According to event organizers, “redesign” is the application of new thinking and perspectives to existing public services – including transportation, housing, health programs, natural resource conservation – with a focus on outcomes expected rather than the current delivery processes and systems.
Leaders from the cities of Burnsville, Eagan, Apple Valley and Lakeville are invited to the session, which is not open to the public.
“Our communities are facing unprecedented challenges that will require not only new service delivery approaches, but new, citizen-led strategies that harness existing community strengths in a coordinated and sustainable way for greater impact,” said Jeff Mortensen, of the Burnsville-based nonprofit 360 Communities, which is helping to coordinate the local event.
While no one is going to argue that government as it currently stands is in need of change, clearly the challenges our communities face are best solved by those who are handpicked by local pro-government business groups which have a recent history of corruption and do-nothing attitudes! Our best bet would be to gather individuals together who have never been able to provide adequate direction for government in a room together and have them hash out the area’s problems together without input from those whose lives will be directly impacted by the collaborations achieved during these sessions around the state!
Outcome-based government accountability is an important step in changing the way public services are provided, that is certainly nothing new. Unfortunately what has not been shown here is why this particular group of individuals are any more adept at reaching conclusions which may be better than those provided by the general public at large. Yes, business leaders are probably better at developing outcomes for successful private sector business, something which so very many believe is an important and necessary leap for the public sector to take, however these outcomes have not traditionally fared well in public sector translation. The single fact that this session is closed to the general public, something which disables citizen participation and is a cornerstone value of the public sector, shows just how misguided this entire project seems to be. Throwing around phrases such as “engaging diverse populations” sounds great on paper but actually following through on the spirit of what that really means is quite difficult when the same-old, same-old are applied.
While I don’t want to speculate as to the individuals who will be in attendance at this prestigious, invitation-only event, one can very likely assume that the usual suspects are involved. With their hands already in so many different private/public partnerships occurring around the County already, who here really believes this will have any lasting and true benefit to the public it is supposedly aiming to serve?
Do you believe that by hand-picking business leaders and placing them in a room together a reliable set of outcomes will be created for the public sector to provide better services to the public? Do you believe that citizen participation, while difficult to effectively achieve due to the wide interests at play, is something that is as simple as it seems to be to this particular event? Are you concerned that this is more of the same and that nothing good will come of the discussions provided–especially for actual citizens as opposed to business leaders looking for breaks? Considering this is supposed to affect change statewide, through various sessions, do you believe that leaders in so few cities in our own county will provide the diverse viewpoints they claim? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.