PREVIEW: Local Government’s New Normal


“Local Government’s New Normal”

During the social and political turmoil of the 1960’s, Bob Dylan wrote the infamous song “The Times They Are a-Changin’” reminding senators and congressmen to heed their dutiful calls as the present soon becomes the past. The official album for the song came out in 1964; the same year Lyndon B. Johnson was elected President of the United States to his own term after succeeding the presidency from John F. Kennedy. But it would take another President, Barack Obama, forty-six years later before the controversial song was played live at The White House. So what changed -besides the times?  In short, the concept of normal changed.  Once marked a controversial protest song, it later became known as a righteous celebratory anthem for the Civil Rights Movement.

Bob Dylan

As the present becomes the past, the concept of normal changes and that’s a murky subject at best. Afterall, there are more questions than answers: How do you operate when today’s local government norms are likely to be considered different tomorrow? What’s happening today in local government? What is local government’s new normal?

To help us out, we’ll leave Bob Dylan and the U.S. Presidents behind as we go visit cities and counties around the Portland area. We’ll visit a new city every two or three weeks and enlist local government professionals to tell us their stories. Our efforts may not directly answer the question because there will be no right answers and the answers are much more complex than the question. As we visit each person and place, we’ll address several subjects including: the most compelling current local issues; the fiscal constraints of The Great Recession and outlooks coming out of recession; local government communication; economic development strategies; successes and fails; personal management styles; and other nuggets of truth.

Local Government’s New Normal will be an original ELGL blog feature that provides an educational, supportive lens into the “new normal” of local government by examining local issues, solutions, and stories from compelling government professionals and their cities or counties.

Help Us Out:

Please stay tuned and in the meantime, tweet us who you would like to hear from or where you’d like us to visit by hitting us up @OregonELGL and me personally @DanEnglundMPA. For this assignment, it’s important we visit places and talk to local government professionals directly, so we’ll be doing house calls starting in the Portland area (and within a couple hours). See you on twitter soon!

Stay savvy, ELGL.

Dan Englund


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