Chicago roundtable pinpoints needs of local government

From left: Elizabeth Gerber, University of Michigan; William Barnes, National League of Cities; Rick Feiock, Florida State University; Rachel Weber, University of Illinois at Chicago; Fitzroy Lee, Office of Revenue Analysis, District of Columbia government; David Perry, Great Cities Institute; and George Anderson, President of the Forum of Federations.

Local government in the United States will need to adapt to meet the challenges of regionalism, the global economy, climate change and homeland security. This was the conclusion stressed by academics and government officials meeting in Chicago for a recent one-day conference on local government and metropolitan regions. The event was part of the Forum’s Global Dialogue on Federalism, which is currently examining the issues of local government in 12 federal countries around the world.

During the morning session, 20 participants considered the context of how federal structures and different orders of government respond to local challenges such as Hurricane Katrina, development of infrastructure, sharing of revenue and delivery of government services. During the afternoon, they were joined by an additional 30 participants including many elected officials from the Greater Chicago area for a more in-depth discussion of the challenges of governance and politics at the local level.

The roundtable was organized by Professor Mike Pagano, of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and co-sponsored by the Great Cities Institute of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Participants included: William Barnes of the National League of Cities, Rick Feiock of Florida State University, Neil Pierce of the Citistates Group, Kathryn Foster of the State University of New York at Buffalo, Fitzroy Lee of the Office of Revenue Analysis for the District of Columbia Government, Earl Fry of Brigham Young University, Elisabeth Gerber of the University of Michigan, David Perry of the Great Cities Institute, Dennis Judd of the University of Illinois at Chicago, George Anderson of the Forum of Federations, John Kincaid of Lafayette College, William Dodge, a consultant formerly with the National Association of Regional Councils, Karen Mossberger of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Todd Swanstrom of St. Louis University, and Rachel Weber of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Additional participants for the afternoon session included: Consuella Brown of the Woods Fund, Senator Pamela Althoff of the Illinois State Senate, Nancy Firfir of Metropolis 2020, Scott Goldstein of the Metropolitan Planning Council, Rick Matoon of the Federal Reserve Bank, Erika Poethig of the MacArthur Foundation, Joanna Trotter of the Metropolitan Planning Council, Michael Davidson of the Campaign for Sensible Growth, Randy Blankenhorn of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Ron Thomas of the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission, Roland Calia of the Civic Federation, Bill Testa of the Federal Reserve, Rita Athas of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Representative Michael J. Tryon of the Illinois House of Representatives, Mike Einhorn, Mayor of Crete, Representative Julie Hamos of the Illinois House of Representatives, Thomas J. Murawski, Mayor of Midlothian, Judith Kossey of Policy Planning Partnerships, and David Litton, Acting Village Manager and Fire Chief of University Park.

The roundtable was held on January 18, 2007 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, near the site of Jane Adams’s historic Hull House, one of the first settlement houses for urban poor and immigrants to the U.S.

Future Global Dialogue roundtables on the same theme will be held in Madrid, Spain, on Jan. 26, in Berlin, Germany on Feb. 2, in Capetown, South Africa on Feb. 9 and in Sydney, Australia, on Feb. 9. Other roundtables were held in 2006 in London, Canada, in Jos, Nigeria, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in New Delhi, India, and in Bern, Switzerland. Additional roundtables are planned for Austria and Mexico.

Later in 2007, an international roundtable will be held, followed by the publication of a book. The local government theme is the Forum’s sixth in the Global Dialogue series.

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