Gridlock And Grudges: Toxic Relationships In Pennsylvania Cities

Jun 11, 2015

The Commonwealth’s Act 47 program to help cash-strapped local governments doesn’t address how elected officials might get along better, despite how critical relationships are to their financial well-being.

Local officials who have trouble getting along have some options for mending their relationships.

The League of Minnesota Cities has a dedicated task force and website focusing on civility in government.

California’s Institute for Local Government suggests codes of conduct or ethics, and posts some examples. They include obvious -- if not always observed -- stuff like complying with the law, and subtler things that are, in fact, vital, such as sharing information.

New Jersey, Michigan and Tennessee also have guidelines for good government behavior.

The Pennsylvania Municipal League addresses civility in part of an hour-long video,  and offers related training sessions.

But although discord among local officials risks financial instability, even though distressed municipalities have no room for error and cannot afford for anything to delay or derail government initiatives, Pennsylvania’s Act 47 program to help them sticks to strictly fiscal matters.

Read more of this report at the website of our partner Keystone Crossroads.