We approach community engagement with the goal of providing community members opportunities to influence decision-making and to contribute towards the solution to complex community needs through partnership with the City and other partners in the community. We also work to provide choices, so that people can engage in ways that are meaningful and important to them personally in their lives.
Our interactions with residents and departments indicate many people are interested in:
raising awareness of the ways to engage with the City organization
providing ways for all community members to be integrated and involved in the community
identifying and addressing barriers to engagement within and across key institutions
reducing assumptions based on limited or false information about city finances, planning, roles, and projects
reducing the distance felt between community members and staff and the City Council.
We work towards these interests in several ways:
We have a diverse internal staff group that is working to identify needs and create short and long term plans for improvement.
We have employed a Community Engagement Coordinator with expertise and skills in this area who provides the following services to staff based on council goals and priorities and data that has been gathered regarding needs:
Coaching staff with suggestions and resources related to community engagement
Guiding staff in planning and preparing for their engagement efforts
Supporting staff in facilitating and hosting community dialogue, deliberation and information sharing
Supporting staff in managing the community engagement portion of a project
We also work with community partners on research, design, and implementation of community engagement initiatives to help inform programs designed to meet community needs.
As we do our work, we continually keep in mind that community engagement is a process that must take into account the following things:
current staff and public resources
ability and skills of the individuals involved
the overall system and context in which we are operating