Fixing Democracy – the Committee for Citizen Engagement
There are several council committees, comprised of three council members each, which are designed to provide greater focus and work on a particular area. A few months ago, I proposed that we create a Committee for Citizen Engagement. The Council voted unanimously to create it and we met on Friday, October 12 for the first time to begin mapping out an ambitious agenda aimed at finding more avenues for involving our citizens with the policies and processes of their city government. I am proud to chair the committee along with my fellow council members Dalton Gregory and Jim Engelbrecht.
In the next couple of months, we will be developing a list of goals, some short-term and some long-term, prioritizing them and presenting them to entire council for further direction and discussion. I want to provide you with our initial list, in no particular order, and seek feedback from you on what needs to be added to this…
- Use the Committee for Citizen Engagement to advise the council and staff on citizen engagement relating to major council policy decisions.
- Review City Council meeting norms and policies – are we as innovative as we can be in order to involve the public in our decision making? Look at agendas, searchable minutes and videos, postscripts with vote totals, use of new tech tools to get feedback, etc.
- Review how we utilize our Boards and Commissions – are we making the best use of our citizen volunteers and experts?
- How can we better engage and involve our neighborhoods?
- Review of EngageDenton.com – are we utilizing all the potential of this great feedback tool?
- Review of TRAK-IT and allowing access to citizens
- Council District-specific citizen reports on a regular basis (gather info by council district on several levels: building permits, crime stats, street closures and work, money spent, new businesses, development projects, code enforcement issues, etc.)
- How can we work to increase voter info and participation?
- Pursue an open data policy
- How can we better involve our youth?
- Develop a 311 system
- How can we better involve our citizens in the budgeting process?
- Review of the Public Communication Office
- Identify unengaged segments of our population and develop plans to engage them better (ethnically, geographically, socio-economically, etc.)
What would you add to this list?