Citizen Involvement in a City Manager Municipal Government

Robert Baldwin, the City Manager of Dania Beach, Florida, has more than two decades of experience in municipal management of various cities in the South Florida area, including more than 10 years as manager of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. He earned his master’s degree in public administration from the University of Florida, with a concentration in city management and budgeting. Robert Baldwin has enhanced his qualifications by taking extensive training in team building and leadership development from the accounting firm of Arthur Young & Company.

While the city manager form of government is designed to remove partisan political considerations from the daily routine of operating a municipal government and delivering essential services, a good municipal manager must still market the government’s programs and services to its citizens and be responsive to citizen input regarding those programs.

For example, many municipalities provide their citizens a broad range of services. However, if citizens do not avail themselves of those services, the municipality must determine whether it is prudent to continue providing them.

Thus, cities maintain websites, issue newsletters, and employ public relations firms to help citizens learn about the various services their government offers. Many cities routinely survey their own citizens to learn what their priorities are to determine what services they would most appreciate.

Another form of citizen participation is volunteerism. Most municipalities have several citizen advisory boards whose volunteer members can influence the formation of public policy.