Local officials from across Florida have announced the creation of a new coalition that is launching a statewide initiative to enhance local government collaboration and efficiency and educate Floridians on the important work of front-line public servants. The goal of the Florida Local Government Coalition (FLGC) is to make sure officials in one community know how to implement good ideas that work in other communities, in order to provide the best public service at the lowest possible cost.
At a news conference, coalition leaders hailed Florida’s unsung public sector heroes for the local services they provide. The coalition will launch a statewide campaign to strengthen cooperation and raise awareness of the good works done by city and county public servants to enhance their communities. These associations recognize the power of harnessing their memberships together for the betterment of Florida.
“From firefighters and police officers to municipal clerks and electricians, these committed public servants work together every day to keep our cities and counties running smoothly,” said T. Michael Stavres, Director of Community Services for the city of Winter Haven and a representative of the Florida Recreation & Parks Association. “The Florida Local Government Coalition enhances communication between professional associations, which will help improve the wide range of essential local services provided across the state.“
A recent Mason-Dixon poll showed that voters most trust local governments to deal with issues that matter to them, more than they do other levels of government. The poll asked 1,000 voters, “Which level of government do you trust the most to address issues that matter in your life: local government, state government or the federal government?” It found that 37 percent put the most trust in their local governments, as opposed to 22 percent for state and 12 percent for federal. The FLGC is working to preserve these high levels of trust in local government by addressing important problems that affect citizens’ daily lives.
“Few people fully realize how much they depend on local government,” said Ormond Beach City Manager Joyce Shanahan, a past president of the Florida City and County Management Association. “The people of Florida depend on local governments to keep their homes safe, pave their streets, preserve their parks and so much more. That is an extraordinary amount of trust, and we must do everything we can to earn that trust each and every day.”
Local government associations have largely operated independent of one another – for example, police chiefs have a statewide association but don’t typically deal with the comparable association of city clerks. To open up the lines of communication, Florida’s 28 leading local government associations formed the FLGC to amplify their collective voice and strengthen their advocacy for the indispensible services they provide. The coalition will make it easier for the associations to share knowledge, techniques and skills that expand their capabilities and this will further enhance the quality of life for citizens. Florida’s cities and counties employ more than 175,000 people across the state, many of whom belong to professional associations.
“Some of the most creative minds in government work at the local level. A good idea developed by a code enforcement officer in South Florida may also work in a redevelopment office in the Panhandle, and this coalition will help share these good ideas,” said Springfield Police Chief Philip Thorne, president of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. “Together, our associations can more powerfully advocate for a better Florida while educating our friends and neighbors on how they can be a part of it.”
To learn more about the Florida Local Government Coalition, visit www.floridagovcoalition.com.