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How Do City Officials Know What To Do?


You may not have ever thought about it before but your Mayor, your council members, and other local government probably didn't go to school or train for those positions. They are usually business owners, school teachers, retirees, community activists, or a million other things. In order to preform their jobs as elected officials, however, there is a lot of guidance out there.


Specifically, in Arkansas, there is the Arkansas Municipal League. According to their mission statement, "The Arkansas Municipal League was founded in 1934 and exists for a threefold purpose: 1) to act as the official representative of Arkansas cities and towns before the state and federal governments; 2) to provide a clearinghouse for information and answers; and, 3) to offer a forum for discussion and sharing of mutual concerns."


The main benefit of having local government is right there in the name; "local". Each city, town, community, and neighborhood has their own unique set of problems and solutions and the people best equipped to handle those issues are the ones who live right next door. So, the municipal league assists in providing ways of solving the problems, instead of simply trying to solve the problem outright.


I was lucky enough to attend the 2023 Arkansas Municipal League Winter Conference and gain some incredibly valuable information. But beyond just getting information there was a world of resources and connections just ready to be had.


There were sessions on things like FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) so that we, as municipal leaders, know what is for public knowledge and what isn't. We also learned about how to transform public discourse so that we can find better ways to get things done and work together. I took a good 4 pages of notes and will be discussing more on specific topics as we go, but remember- we're all in this together. I promise to do the very best I can, to listen to any and all feedback, ideas, and solutions, as well as carefully consider what would be best to move our community forward.


Oh, I also learned that my idea for a bowling league for Ward 2 wasn't completely off base. There are things called Citizen Jury's where you get a randomly selected group of people to help better understand the communities needs. Okay, so a little different than Ward Bowling teams, but same concept. Bring people into the discussion. They're hungry for it- it's time we satiate that hunger.


Your local representatives likes pizza places, too. We're just like you!

*thanks to Iriana's Pizza!

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