Citizen Participation

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September 3, 1997

TO: Working Group on Citizen Participation in LFUCG

FROM: Ed Jennings

In some ways, yours is the most challenging project in the class because it is the least well defined topic. It is your job to come to grips with the level and quality of citizen participation in Lexington/Fayette Urban County Government. You can start with some basic questions. What are the mechanisms for citizen involvement? How extensively are they used? Who participates and who doesn't? Why?

You then need to move on to ask whether there is a problem and what it's nature might be, if there is one. For example, some people have been heard to say that city officials allow participation, but they don't listen. What does this mean? How does the effectiveness of participation relate to the substance of outcomes? Are people satisfied with levels of citizen involvement? If not, should something be done about it? What?

You can ground your analysis in the broader literature about civic involvement and governmental effectiveness. You should try to get your hands on a recently published book by John Clayton Thomas, Public Participation in Public Decisions.