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October 2010 ICMA Civic Engagement Presentation
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October 2010 ICMA Civic Engagement Presentation


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Overview of civic engagement and civic problem solving model developed in Eau Claire through Clear Vision

Overview of civic engagement and civic problem solving model developed in Eau Claire through Clear Vision

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  • 1.
  • 2. Eau Claire WI
    Civic Action Teams
    Building the Civic Problem-Solving Capacity of Community Residents
    Mike Huggins, ICMA-CM
    City Manager, City of Eau Claire, WI
    67,000 residents
    Located 90 miles east of Minneapolis
    Council Manager form of government since 1949
    11 member City Council
    Regional business center
    Below average per capita income
    Lower unemployment
    Growing university and hospital sectors
  • 3. Local Governance Crisis
    Wicked problems
    Lack of political will
    Declining civic problem-solving
    “The biggest problem facing Americans is not those issues that bombard us daily….The crisis is that weas a people don’t know how to come together to solve these problems.”
    -Frances Moore Lappe and Paul Martin DuBois
  • 4. Declining Civic Problem-Solving
    Fragmented institutional decision-making
    Citizens’ loss of effective problem-solving skills
    Limited public space opportunities
    Mystique of professional expertise
    Formal citizenship paradigm
  • 5. Clear Vision Eau Claire
    • 2007 citizen visioning initiative
    • 6. $40,000 jointly funded
    • 7. Facilitated by National Civic League
    • 8. Partner w/Ctr. for Democracy/Citizenship
    • 9. 6 performance goals/125 priority actions
    • 10. Civic engagement as core strategy
    • 11. Civic organizing framework
  • Clear Vision Action Report July 2008
    Civic Engagement
    Individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern:
    Naming and solving problems
    Discussing and choosing alternatives
    Making trade-offs
    “Effective and enduring civic engagement in the Greater Eau Claire Community will require that citizens learn and practice more effective problem-solving skills, and that community organizations and institutions create more opportunities and public spaces for active citizenship.”
  • 12. Civic Organizing
    A framework for integrating active citizenship into everyday environments to solve public problems and build the broad civic base necessary to govern effectively in a democracy
    “. . . democracy as a way of life is controlled by personal faith in personal day-by-day working together with others.”
    -John Dewey
  • 13. Key Characteristics
    Emphasizes conceptual/reflective thinking
    Redefines core civic concepts
    Teaches civic problem-solving skills
    Creates public spaces
    Builds group process skills
    Develops public leadership
    Restructures mediating institutions
  • 14. Civic Concepts
    Public work
    Public life
    Self interest
    Mediating institutions
  • 15. Civic Problem-Solving Skills
    One-on-one interviews
    Mapping power and interests
    House values meeting
    Creating public spaces
    Cutting issues
    Taking action
    Public evaluation
  • 16. Civic Action Teams
    10-20 member work groups
    Diverse membership
    Shared self-interest in issue
    Recruited to participate
    Chair trained as coach
    Action oriented – fixed duration
    High-energy participation
  • 17. 2009-2010 Eau Claire Teams
    Jobs for underemployed
    Treatment instead of incarceration
    Public parks funding
    Collaborative education
    Community events facilities
    Veterans re-entry
    Regional transit authority
  • 18. RTA Civic Action Team
    First Meeting Agenda
    -Civic context and purpose -Q&A on transit operations -Detailed resource materials -House values meeting
    -Public evaluation
    • 19 members from diverse backgrounds
    • 19. Convened by City Manager
    • 20. Clear Vision umbrella
    • 21. Drafting issue white paper
    • 22. City staff as trainers
    • 23. 2 hour meetings w/food
  • RTA House Values Meeting
    Facilitated public conversations about personal values and public life
    Round robin responses:
    What values and traditions are important to you about your mobility?
    What are the trends that may endanger these values and traditions about mobility?
    What can we do in our community to strengthen our civic life with respect to mobility?
  • 24. Ongoing RTA Team Meetings
    One-to-one interviews
    Power mapping
    Public evaluation
  • 25. One-to-One Interviews
    Purpose is to build public relationships
    Schedule interviews
    Keep it informal
    20-30 minutes
    No note-taking during interview
    Ask direct, open-ended questions
    80/20 active listening
    Look for interests, passions, connections
  • 26. Power mapping
    Visual map of political environment
    Power relationships
    List who has power to influence
    Map organizations and individuals
    Do 1:1 interviews to identify interests
    Map power connections and relationships
    Do 1:1 interviews to build public relationships
  • 27. Public evaluation
    Debrief each meeting - 10 minutes
    Assess progress of work
    Prevent misunderstanding
    Clarify roles and future tasks
    One or two word responses
    What worked? What didn’t? What could we do better?
    Check areas of group tension
  • 28. Findings
    Action oriented
    Reinforces facilitative role
    Builds effective work groups
    Creates public space for joint work
    Strengthens community
    “American citizenship in its most expansive sense is understood as public work: visible effort on common tasks of importance to the community or nation, involving many different people.”
    -Harry Boyte
  • 29. Additional Information
    Harry Boyte, The Citizen Solution
    Harry Boyte, Everyday Politics
    FrancesMoore Lappe and Paul Martin DuBois, The Quickening of America
    Carmen Sirianni, Investing in Democracy: Engaging Citizens in Collaborative Governance
    Matt Leighninger, The Next Form of Democracy
    Contact: Mike Huggins, City Manager, City of Eau Claire, 715-839-4902,