The aftermath of COVID-19 will require leaders and managers of local government organizations to develop progressive emergency management and public policies. Today’s headlines exemplify this fact and proves that the elements of true leadership and civil awareness is no longer a novelty. Some leaders got it right when it mattered; a transparent government organization is one that is open, responsive and accessible to all resident requests and needs.
The Coronavirus pandemic has essentially “outed” municipal and county departments and leaders with mundane ideas of local governance and antiquated service delivery. These communities have therefore suffered in this “shelter-in-place” economy, and things that should have been done, are now being done while progressive cities and counties that offer modern services have thrived.
Some local government leaders have failed their citizenry. As we move forward, like with anything new, there is a cost associated with progressive governance and transparency, however the benefit clearly outweighs that cost. To some, transparency means revealing weaknesses to potential rivals; however, increased transparency can increase confidence by the citizenry and rally support if properly communicated. A transparent leader (and organization) maintain lines of communication with all stakeholders and is forthcoming with government related practices, procedures and results. A transparent organization acts ethically and talks openly to everyone lending itself to scrutiny and measure by the public.
A local governments ability to ensure that transparency exists, controls are in place, and that self- interest by management is channeled into work performance, makes for an effective form of governance. Local managers are challenged to use strategic thinking to guide decision making and let the lessons of today teach them how to use tactical deployment of resources to effectuate change in a community. Achieving the community mission should be the goal, and ushering in new local government policies will result in productivity and effectiveness.
About the Author: Marcus Kellum spent nearly three decades in public service working with various cities and counties in Georgia, Colorado and the City of New York. He has held positions as code division manager, chief of enforcement, and department director. Marcus is a Certified Code Enforcement Administrator and holds a BS in criminal justice administration, and a master’s degree in management and public administration.