Hampton, USA: Deliberative Governance, D Schor, C Tillmann

Tags: Hampton, neighborhood, civic engagement, citizens, community, The City, Neighborhood Youth Advisory Board, partnerships, Neighborhood Services Division, The Neighborhood Division, city staff, Hampton City Schools, Youth Commission, community contributions, Division Administrator, neighborhood priorities, neighborhood planning, public officials, Germany, City Hampton, culture change, The Neighborhood, Community Development Department
Content: Hampton, USA: Deliberative Governance - - - Case Study (Draft) - Diana Schor Chapter on transferability to Germany: Christina Tillmann
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Hampton, USA: Deliberative Governance
Contact:
Frank Frick
Director
Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011
Bertelsmann Stiftung
Phone +49 5241 81-81253
Fax
+49 5241 81-681253
[email protected]
www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de
Christina Tillmann
Project Manager
Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011
Bertelsmann Stiftung
Phone +49 5241 81-81335
Fax
+49 5241 81-681335
[email protected]
www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de
Hampton, USA: Deliberative Governance Index 1. Executive Summary 2. General Background Country Background City Background 3. Background and purpose of the program 4. Structure, Process and Activities The System of civic engagement in Neighborhoods The Youth Civic Engagement System in Hampton 5. Outcomes and Impact Achievements in policy area Number of participants, representativeness, inclusion Impact on democratic capacities 6. Evaluation of the Project: Challenges and Lessons Learned Lessons Learned Challenges 7. Next Steps and Visions for the Future 8. Transferability to Germany
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"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." Thomas Jefferson, American President, 1820 1. Executive Summary The experience of Hampton demonstrates that democracy can be revitalized at the level of government closest to the people. Throughout the last twenty years, Hampton has made progress toward this goal by pursuing a path of collaborative partnerships between the city government, its citizenry, and other public and private stakeholders. The City has enabled multi-stakeholder partnerships to emerge and coalesce around top community priorities, identified by citizens through deliberative conversations; then, they move on to action, with City and stakeholders coproducing public goods such as safer streets, better schools, and a more cohesive community. This case study documents the process through which the City arrived at this destination. It describes the internal process through which the City government "reinvented" itself along more participatory lines, through a reorganization and alignment of internal systems, functions, and vision. It documents the Citys intentional investment in institutional scaffolding that supports multiple civic engagement initiatives. It highlights the importance of changing institutional culture, leveraging resources through partnerships, valuing relationships, investing in capacity building and leadership development. Two examples ­ youth and neighborhoods - document the experience of enabling civic engagement in two concrete areas. 2. General Background Country Background The United States is the third largest country in the world by population and by size. Governance in the U.S. is a complex arrangement of shared sovereignty between the federal government, each of the 50 state governments, and 88,000 local governments.1 The U.S. is currently recovering from the worst economic recession since the Great Depression in 1930 and from a severe state fiscal crisis. The American society is in constant flux: by 2050, one in five Americans will be an immigrant, Whites will become a minority group, and the U.S. population will top 400 million people. City Background The City of Hampton is the oldest continuous English-speaking settlement in America. Hampton is a medium-sized city of 146,000 residents, with a modest economic base and few income extremes. The city is racially diverse, roughly half white and half African American, and demographically younger than the national average. children and youth represent a third of the total population.2 One in five children lives in poverty.3 Hampton has a nonpartisan form of government, its city leadership consisting in an elected Mayor, Vice-Mayor, a City Council, and a City Manager.4 Elections are held at at-large, with Council Members serving the entire population. These factors make local politics less divisive when compared to state and federal level elections or cities with Council Members who are elected at district level.
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3. Background and purpose of the program Back in the 1980s, Hampton was in trouble. High taxes, low revenues, low home values, property crimes, high unemployment and drug use among youth foreshadowed a grim future. A competition for limited resources would clearly lead to higher crime rates and potential clashes over jobs and economic opportunities. Facing additional cuts in federal revenues, the city leadership began to realize that Hampton was "dying in slow motion".5,6 Facing the crisis head on, city leaders developed an aggressive Economic Development agenda, which included the acquisition and development of land, improvements in the citys physical appearance, and tax cuts. Inspired by the private sector, Hampton developed its first strategic plan in 1986 to help orient the city toward the future. While a common corporate practice at that time, such plans were a brand new concept for the public sector, and Hampton was among the first American municipalities to undertake such an effort. The Plan helped the City government undergo a process of reinventing itself. The City embraced an entrepreneurial culture, encouraged staff initiative and inputs, improved operations, and encouraged collaboration across agencies. By flattening its own bureaucratic hierarchy and devolving fiscal and administrative power downwards, the City hoped to release innovation, increase efficiency, and improve performance. Through an internal deliberative process, the City government adopted a new vision,"to bring together the resources of business, neighborhoods, community groups, and government to establish Hampton as the most livable city in Virginia."7 To meet the vision, the government expanded beyond its service delivery role to adopt a new identity as a convener of community stakeholders and a broker of community resources. Soon, the City would be presented with an opportunity to test this new identity. In 1989, Hampton had just completed its Comprehensive Plan, a policy document that outlines long range intentions regarding the direction and nature of future development in the city. One of its new recommendations concerned an east-west highway that would divide the city in half. The proposal quickly turned highly controversial, with citizens angry at the government for failing to inform them earlier about the proposal. Rather than squashing the public discontent, Robert (Bob) ONeill, the City Manager of the time, proposed a consensus building process that allowed road opponents and proponents to debate each other until they reached a consensus. A bold and risky step at the time, the City promised to postpone action until all parties agreed to a compromise, a process that took a full year of deliberation. In addition to the road, however, citizens also provided feedback on the other elements of the Comprehensive Plan. The revised plan was lauded for being creative and effective. To the great amazement of all city staff and citizens involved, the process that had begun with an "us versus them" mentality gave way to a realization that "were all in this together". Within the government, this process caused a radical internal shift, predisposing the City toward more deliberation and collaboration with its citizens. In 1990, the city government secured a three-year, $320,000 federal grant on community-based planning for youth at risk. The Mayor used this money to support a collaborative effort framed around the need to forge a consensus on top youth priorities. The City chose to invest in youth because they offered both a high return on investment and also because the opportunity cost of disinvesting in youth was high. Cindy Carlson, a government staff, was appointed to engage the City in a conversation with a group of twenty youth-serving stakeholders (department heads,
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directors or other high profile leaders from among city agencies, nonprofits, etc.). In parallel, Carlson also set up another group of twenty youth whose job was to gather and synthesize feedback from hundreds of their peers. What followed was a year-long planning and visioning process that engaged 5,000 youths and adults representing the broad spectrum of community stakeholders. The coalition converged upon a key message: Hampton would thrive in the future only to the extent that it possessed a strong local economy and a skilled workforce prepared for the challenges of the 21st century. Young people were at the heart of this message. To be successful adults, they needed to grow up in healthy families and in safe and vibrant communities, to be surrounded by caring adults, and to be empowered to take part in shaping their own development. The job of the City and the community at large was to create such supporting systems. The coalition, which eventually became known as the "Coalition for Youth", presented the City Council with a Youth Master Plan that identified four strategic initiatives: strong families, healthy neighborhoods, youth as resources to the community (youth civic engagement), and investments in the first two decades of life. The Council accepted the Plan and incorporated it as a separate but integral component of the 1993 Strategic Plan. The city then set out to create an institutional infrastructure to support these four initiatives. The Hampton Coalition for Youth was then integrated as a department within the city government and tasked with the implementation of the youthrelated recommendations. The neighborhood initiative evolved into the Hampton Neighborhood Initiative. The remaining two recommendations were institutionalized within the Healthy Families Partnership and the Hampton City Schools system. These Initiatives were not meant to become yet another city department in charge of running programs. Instead, their role was to support an ongoing deliberative process of consulting stakeholders, identify priorities and then translate them into concrete programs. Such programs would be then implemented through the means of City-community partnerships. The partnerships would be able to leverage existing resources and achieve efficiencies of cost and scale. The Initiatives were meant to serve as a catalyst, allowing the City to engage with citizens, provide capacity building, and create mechanisms for better collaboration between all stakeholders. The initiatives would also serve as core scaffolding upon which a subsequent civic infrastructure would be built and institutionalized. Dozens of civic groups would emerge under the umbrella of these initiatives, running the gamut from neighborhood associations, parent groups, youth groups, several city commissions with citizens in advisors roles, to community-based schools1 that provided training and skills building to local citizens, and others. 4. Structure, Process and Activities Today, the City government engages citizens across the entire city in multiple ways. The City enables opportunities for engagement on issues that pertain to a particular constituency, for example, on youth and neighborhoods, as will be described later on in this section. Citizens can 1 Hampton Commissions include: Youth Commission, Planning Commission, Neighborhood Commission, Clean City Commission, and the Unity Commission. Schools include: the Neighborhood College, the Diversity College, the Codes Academy, and the Citizens Police Academy. These schools are community-based, yet benefiting in various forms from the support of the City government.
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also engage in a wide range of citywide consultation process, through which citizens have a chance to express views on issues important to them and their constituencies as well as learn about other peoples viewpoints. Once every five years, the City updates its Community Plan (a fusion of the previous Comprehensive Plan and the Strategic Plan). The Plan integrates the visions of city residents, businesses and local officials into a secure strategy for managing changes within the communities. The new Community Plan Update 2011, currently under development, began in October 2010 when 300 citizens participated in a large forum aimed at identifying ten top focus areas that the City should focus on. Since then, they have continued to meet in ten small focus groups that refine development priorities for each of these areas. Topical concerns (e.g. water management) and the views of specific constituencies (e.g., senior citizens) percolate upwards to inform strategy development for the Plan. It is expected that this Plan update will take about six months to complete. With every Community Plan, a separate Youth Component is prepared, updating and accurately representing the full spectrum of youth constituencies and the diversity of their views. The Youth Component, an integral part of the premiere policy document in Hampton, grants youth the power to influence strategy development at a citywide level. Every two years, the City conducts a Quality of Life survey, which gathers feedback from the community, serves as a measure of government performance, and highlights new emerging issues. Every year, the school system organizes a Community Priority Workshop that identifies priorities for each school. Annually, youth advisors and leaders carry out youth surveys in schools and in the community to gather youth feedback on various issues. There are multiple other formal and informal channels for citizens to convey feedback to the City. Every year, the City Budget provides financial support for capacity building the public consultation process, and the work of various commissions, advisory groups, and neighborhood leaders. The System of Civic Engagement in Neighborhoods Back in 1993, city leaders were instrumental in building support for the Hampton Neighborhood initiative. "Leadership with a vision" made the difference, as city leaders were willing to take a calculated risk to create an initiative and then handing it over to a community who had "no clue how to take care of it." With appropriate capacity, support systems, and the wisdom that accumulates over the years, the Initiative has since grown into an expansive scaffolding, supporting partnerships between the City and 70 neighborhood organizations, the Neighborhood Commission, area businesses and a range of nonprofits committed to a high quality of life in Hampton. The Initiative has been successful because of its ability to mobilize the government across functions and departments and to work strategically across dozens of partnerships with the community to achieve better outcomes. The Initiatives triple bottom line is inclusiveness, collaboration and effectiveness. Inclusiveness is key, as every neighborhood in the city and all residents within their neighborhood have a chance to participate. Expectations are very clear: the City government enables neighborhood work and creates opportunities, while citizens must also act. City-neighborhood partnerships coalesce around priorities identified by residents in each neighborhood. In the early days of the Initiative, neighborhoods would be encouraged to create their own neighborhood plan. Consulting all residents and deliberating upon top priorities sometimes took six months to a year. Deliberation
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has been essential to sustaining partnerships over time. Partnerships have always remained results-oriented, with a clear bias for action. Today, less emphasis is placed on individual neighborhood plans. This is because needs have already been identified in the course of the long history of neighborhood planning. In addition, the deep deliberative processes built into the preparation of the Community Plan help identify emerging concerns. Neighborhood priorities usually align with strategic goals in the Community Plan through a natural (not a forced) process. The Citys Housing and Neighborhood Services Division (henceforth called The Neighborhood Division), housed within the Community Development Department, represents the central hub for internal alignment for government policies and programs. The Neighborhood Division also provides staff support to the Neighborhood Initiative. Eight staff act as consultants to neighborhood groups, supporting them as they move through the process of outreach, organizing, planning and project implementation. The type of assistance to each neighborhood and the frequency of meetings are tailored to the issues faced by each neighborhood and the level of engagement with city staff. In the midst of a neighborhood planning process, for example, city staff will attend large meetings quite frequently. Other neighborhoods may only want city staff to attend their meetings several times a year. In the early days, the attendance of high profile city staff, for example Terry ONeill, the Division Administrator, helped give "the neighborhood process prestige" and motivated local people to come and participate as well. When asked to reflect upon their relationship with city staff, residents comment, "We have relationships, and we have contacts"; and, "They always care for us. Theyd always get back to us with an answer. It was always, what can we do for you?" The Neighborhood Division administers the Neighborhood Development Fund, the main source of funding for neighborhood projects. Since 1995, the City has spent $2,120,595 funding 368 projects in Hamptons ten neighborhood districts. An additional $700,000 was leveraged through resident contributions. This figure does not capture contributions made by other public private and nonprofit organizations working at neighborhood level. Grant Applications must demonstrate that all residents had a chance to identify neighborhood priorities and that everyone has an equal opportunity to engage in project implementation. With city staff deeply embedded in neighborhoods, they spot early signs of trouble and can "read between the lines of a proposal". The Fund supports physical, social and civic projects, such as installing neighborhood signs, youth festivals or neighborhood celebrations. Small grants are funded below $5,000 and large grants up to $100,000. They both require community contributions in the amount of 100% and 10%, respectively. Community contributions in the form of direct volunteer work are preferred, as they build project ownership and lead to better outcomes. Donated professional services and in-kind resources are also accepted. An example of City-neighborhood co-production would unfold as follows. A neighborhood identifies the lack of safe places for children to play and develops a proposal around the idea of building a playground. The City would then fund a contractor that does the actual building work while the neighborhood residents organize a clean-up to prepare the site for installation, paint fences or plant flowers. Two notable examples of city-neighborhoods co-producing public goods include one museum and a community center. The Aberdeen Gardens Historical Museum documents the history of the Aberdeen Gardens, the first neighborhood where the federal government built modern homes for African Americans back in the 1930s. This housing development was also designed and built by an
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African American architect and a construction crew. The Y.H. Thomas Community Center partnership grew amidst a scene of open-air drug dealing, violence, and blight. When the neighborhood approached the City asking for funds to transform a dilapidated school into a community center, the City made it clear that it could not fund the project. However, the City would fund the renovation if the community assumed full responsibility for program development and daily management and operation. To date, the Center has operated dozens of tutoring, mentoring, afterschool and athletic programs, annually providing a safe, nurturing, and fun environment for 2030,000 beneficiaries. A large roster of volunteers, the youngest of whom is 7, donates approximately 600 hours on a monthly basis. Importantly, City support enabled residents in both of these neighborhoods to leverage additional $2-3 million to support these projects. Aside from the concrete programmatic benefits, both projects also generate significant neighborhood pride and self-esteem. "Resources have always been limited", said one resident, but "we had partnerships when we did not have any money." While the City provides partial funding for neighborhood projects, it is actually the Neighborhood Commission (NC) that provides the leadership, policy guidance and support to the Neighborhood Initiative. The 21 members that comprise the NC meet regularly for conversation and deliberation. Members are appointed by the City Council and include three city officials, ten residents representing the ten neighborhood districts, one representative each from the business sector, the faith community and the Hampton City Schools, and two youth leaders, who also serve on a separate Neighborhood Youth Advisory Board. The NC is tasked to vote on the final selection of neighborhood groups who apply for grants. Thus, while the Neighborhood Development Fund is administered by the City, it is actually the NC that decides the allocation of funds. A City Council that trusts a community group to decide on the allocation of funds from the City Budget is an uncommon practice in the U.S. Capacity building has always been as the dividing line between success and failure. The early years of working in neighborhoods identified the need to build internal capacity within the city government and external capacity in neighborhood residents. City officials needed to learn how to become skillful facilitators, coaches, mediators, and consultants. While residents were willing to engage, only a small percentage knew enough about the workings of government to be really effective. The Neighborhood College was created in 1995 to build stakeholder capacity. To date, it has graduated a critical mass of 500 civic leaders, three quarters of whom are now serving in various leadership positions in the city. Civic capacity has had an important political spillover effect. For example, Will Moffett, a Neighborhood College graduate and a neighborhood resident instrumental in supporting the Y. H. Thomas Center now serves as a City Council member. An annual class of 55 citizens attends workshops focused on two areas: learning the functioning of the local government and acquiring communication, organizing and visioning skills. Faculty is composed of neighborhood leaders, college graduates and city officials, ranging from the Mayor, the City Manager, to top department administrators. Upon graduation, citizens understand what goes on in the City Hall, have main contacts in each department, and as one participant put it, they "have friends in the City Hall". City officials also have a unique chance to look at neighborhoods through the citizens own eyes. As they interact in a non-contentious setting, they build relationships, strengthen existing networks and generate social capital.
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The Youth Civic Engagement System in Hampton Hampton sees investment in youth as an investment in the future. Youth civic engagement (YCE) promotes prevention outcomes and positive youth development outcomes as youth build knowledge, confidence, life skills, and bond with their community. YCE also has community development benefits because current leaders not only understand youth needs, but engage the creativity, energy and insights of young citizens to make better decisions today. Therefore, the benefits are both present and future. In addition, Hampton's experience demonstrates that YCE must be pursued in a systematic way, intentionally recruiting and giving youth the space and necessary supports to collaborate with youth peers and adults alike, in a way that supports their personal development and also delivers public value to the entire city. Civic engagement is also clearly linked to political engagement. As an African American senior citizen explains, "We need to... develop and grow leaders so that you have a strong base from where to elect leaders, from within. How you grow and elect those leaders matters." The institutional scaffolding for Hamptons system of civic engagement includes both government agencies and youth structures. Four departments have been instrumental in institutionalizing civic engagement: the Department of Youth Education and Families Youth Engagement Division (which replaced the Coalition for Youth as of 2010); the Community Development Departments Housing and Neighborhood Services Division; The Parks & Recreation Department and the Hampton School System. Youth advisory groups and youth leadership groups include: the Youth Commission, two Youth Planners, four Principals Advisory Groups, the Superintendents Advisory Group, the citywide Neighborhood Youth Advisory Board, and the Teen Center Youth Board. Additional youth advisors and leaders serve on boards of other city departments such as Parks and Recreation, the School Board, city commissions, nonprofit boards of directors, as members of neighborhood groups, and other public-private partnerships. The Youth Engagement Unit taps into extensive networks with public, nonprofit, and business institutions. The Unit is responsible for strategic planning for youth and convening stakeholders around youth issues. The Unit prioritizes and advocates for the needs of children, youth and families within city government, generating internal support for YCE and coordinating a citywide strategy of institutional culture change around civic engagement. The Unit supports training and mentoring services contracted out to Alternatives, Inc., a local youth development nonprofit; oversees the Youth Commission by close mentoring and support to youth leaders; and leverages national funding to further ongoing innovation. In past years, the Coalition for Youth had an average annual budget of $400,000 and a staff of three full-time employees, one part-time employee and two student interns. Funding in FY09 was $257,780, whereas in FY10 funding decreased to $127, 481. The drop of funding is due in part to the transition to a new unit, which entailed staff reallocation. Funding also decreased because City revenues across the board experienced a decline so the City Budget had to be adjusted accordingly. Aside from funding for the Unit, additional funding is set aside for the Youth Commissions mini-grants program that fund youth-led service projects. Through the Planning Division and the Neighborhood Division (in the Community Development Department), youth engage in formal opportunities to influence priorities on city planning. Youth are also given formal, direct roles to support city planning efforts and work in neighborhoods.
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Operating through a youth-adult partnership, Division staff provides support to the Youth Commission, the Neighborhood Youth Advisory Board, youth members of the Neighborhood Commission, the youth who serve in neighborhood groups, and youth volunteers at neighborhood level. The Division also employs two Youth Planners, staffed by two high school students, and houses In-Sync Partnerships that supports after-school programming and neighborhood-based youth civic engagement opportunities. The Parks & Recreation Department intentionally leverages youth talent to engage directly with local residents. For example, youth advisors talk to residents who may fear the consequences of having a skateboard park in their neighborhood. Last year the Department inaugurated the $2.8 million, 30,000 sq feet Teen Center, with a capacity to serve 8,000 youth. The Center, the brainchild of the Youth Commission, became a reality after ten years of hard work and skillful partnerships - thus proving the Citys commitment to youth as this precious real estate resource could have served other purposes in the city. City agencies also benefit from the support of Hampton City Schools (HCS). HCS embeds opportunities for civic engagement in 8th grade civics class through Project Citizen ­ a course unit in which over 1,000 students are involved to identify community issues and propose policy solutions. In addition, approximately 300 elementary students are involved in service learning through the after-school programming. High school students graduating with honors must have a ,,seal of service stamp on their diploma, attesting that they have performed 200 hours of community service. Alternatives, Inc., a local youth development nonprofit, has been a trusted City partner since 1981, an invaluable thesaurus of institutional memory. Alternatives Inc. has assisted with strategy development, helped mainstream relationship building and culture change in city-youth partnerships, and helped create seamless continuity in civic engagement support systems across generations of youth and across citywide partnerships. The nonprofit recruits, trains, facilitates, and supports most youth civic engagement efforts in Hampton - building the capacity of both youth and adults. Alternatives, Inc. employs eleven staff, two college interns and 20 college volunteers through AmeriCorps. The Hampton system of youth civic engagement (YCE) is built upon three structured pathways for civic engagement. Visually depicted as a pyramid, with pathways, the system engages youth to progressively access more demanding civic roles and responsibilities. (See figure 18) As youth embark on a first pathway, they can progressively increase the quantity and complexity of their engagement, moving up from simple forms of volunteering to more sophisticated and progressively more ambitious civic leadership roles. The first pathway of service to community engages thousands of young people every year in service learning or in episodic volunteer activities that provide a concrete service to the community.
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Youth may tutor children, clean up a streambed, fundraise, or help the elderly. There are no barriers to entry, no prerequisite skills, only a willingness to engage and serve. Episodic volunteerism is deeply engrained - with opportunities offered in schools, through nonprofits and churches, and through various YCE community initiatives. The second influence pathway engages youth in advisory capacities on boards and leadership groups, where they meet at least monthly regarding policy, procedures, organizational and community issues. Examples of youth advisory groups include the four Principals Advisory Group, The Hampton City Schools Superintendents Advisory Group, The Neighborhood Youth Advisory Board, and UthAct, a youth organizing group. They are trained to interview their peers, aggregate data, deliberate and suggest policy options for issues such as safety, hiring teachers, diversity, or cell phone policies. In 2007, one advisory group impacted 900 ninth graders through the RELATE Project (Relationship Education Leading Adolescents Toward Empowerment), increasing students understanding of sexual and peer violence and increasing competencies to recognize and resist it. The Superintendents Advisory Group researched a major service learning initiative and proposed to the Superintendent the most appropriate design for Hamptons school system. UthActs biggest policy accomplishment was the successful adoption of school policy that created a youth representative on the Hampton School Board, an effort that took two years to complete. The third leadership pathway engages youth in shared leadership, the highest level of participation and influence - to share power, responsibility, and accountability with adults for delivering outcomes. Youth leaders sit as voting members on city boards and committees, work as Youth Planners, and administer funds as Youth Commissioners. They focus on broader areas of impact such as policy, strategic planning, and systems change. The broad base of youth who enter through the democratic portal of service opportunities creates a robust feeder system that cultivates exceptional youth, highly skilled and knowledgeable for their age. The Hampton Youth Commission (HYC), created in 1997 and reporting to City Council, represents the linchpin in the system of youth civic engagement. Elected at large, the HYC is comprised of 24 students, broadly representative of Hamptons demographics. Commissioners influence the Citys decision-making processes, provide inputs into policy making, and administer a small grants program to support youth-led projects. Commissioners meet twice monthly, in full session and in subcommittees to work on specific tasks. In addition, the HYC organizes one annual large youth forum, focused on specific topics such as youth rights, violence, or multiculturalism. During local elections, forums are held with mayoral candidates to discuss youth-friendly policies and programs. Forums typically attract one to two hundred youth, and even more, when the topic for discussion is hotly debated. Often, the HYC presents formally to the City Council, in a televised session, and to the Planning Commission. Commissioners commit to active outreach to involve a broad range of young people in commission deliberations, and efforts extend to school groups, teachers, and friendship networks. An outreach video, DVD, and website help in recruitment and publicity. Since 1996, The Planning Unit within the Community Development hired two Youth Planners, competitively selected from a pool of qualified high school students for a period of two years. Planners work an average of 15 hours per week at a rate of $8-9/hour (for an annual total of $13,000), Planners must be skilled communicators with collaboration and facilitation skills to run meetings and focus groups, make public presentations and interview stakeholders. They conduct surveys and analyze data, write reports, deliberate with the HYC, and engage in concrete actions.
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Youth Planners conducted the original survey of 1,100 teens in 1998-1999, out of which the Teen Center emerged as a priority. They also assessed 240 businesses and youth organizations for their "youth friendliness" and provided guidance for those with a low rating to improve. To date, Youth Planners contributions have saved the city thousands of dollars in improved planning and infrastructure development. Although in the pyramid of opportunities, the service pathway does not require specific skills, as youth progress toward advisory and leadership roles they require greater skill sets and more sophisticated ongoing training. Various opportunities for skills and leadership training are built into every step of the process of engagement. So is mentorship by youth peers and staff from every city department and many community partners such as Alternatives. The Hampton experience shows that youth leaders can be phenomenal. They challenge adult bias and change perceptions on whos entitled to sit at the table. 5. Outcomes and Impact Collaborative partnerships between the city, community stakeholders and citizens have worked to create a better, more effective and accountable government. City officials draw from their own professional expertise, existing bureaucratic knowledge, and the collective wisdom and power of citizens to help define and address complex and challenging issues. The city enables respectful, inclusive and deliberative conversations among community stakeholders which then enables and generates democratically-grounded definitions of complex issues. Based upon these democratic inputs, stakeholders then deliberate upon the best menu of policies, programs and strategies used to respond to them. Finally, through collaborative work, the city along with these stakeholders pool resources and human power to implement the chosen course of action. This process results in more effective governance because the government uses limited resources to choose appropriate strategies for action. For example, investing in youth was an effective strategic response to the 1984 economic crisis. The Y. H. Thomas Community Center has met multiple needs in the community. The decision to fund resident-run neighborhood projects has galvanized civic capital and unleashed neighborhood resources. While it is true that the early stages of deliberation and consultation require a substantial investment of time, this upfront investment of time is not simply an additional expenditure; instead, it is seen as a "substitution of effort". This early-on effort improves problem definition, informs the right course of action, and leads to better outcomes. It also reduces the possibility of making mistakes, adjusting course midstream and wasting precious resources. One example drives home this point: Several years ago, the City was ready to spend $2 million on a new trade school that was supposed to help curb the high school dropout rate. The HYC conducted focus groups and surveys among local youth and identified that the issues causing the dropout would not be solved by a new school. With tact and diplomacy, Commissioners advised the Mayor against the plan. He accepted their findings and redirected the money toward existing local schools. Accountable governance requires public officials to facilitate deep and broad public participation processes so that citizens priorities and needs have an equal chance of being considered. Another goal is also to obtain a representative view of citizens priorities as filtered through the lens of race, ethnicity, age, gender, or geographical location. This is clearly reflected in the process of
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identifying eight strategic goals for the Community Plan and the many other initiatives in the city. Such processes make it possible to design public programs and deliver public goods in a fair and equitable way that benefits all residents. In Hampton, however, citizens believe that its not just the government that must be held accountable. Since citizens partner with the government, they are also mutually and reciprocally accountable to their government and their fellow partners and citizens. Residents know that "you must be accountable for yourself" and "the government cant do it all for you." Transparency and accountability are built into the process as citizens and community stakeholders take responsibility for doing their fair share of work, selecting projects that genuinely represent community needs and being held accountable for follow through. They are accountable for implementing change in a way that is fair, transparent, representative, and inclusive, with benefits that accrue to the entire community. For example, leadership skills that youth commissioners acquire clearly benefit them individually, but their primary goal is to generate public value. Achievements in policy area There is ample evidence that Hamptons accomplishments would have never been possible if the City and all other stakeholders acted on their own. As described so far in this paper, the intentional effort to leverage and channel civic capacity and social capital through collaborative partnerships have resulted in physical improvements, such as playgrounds and community centers, and also strengthened the social fabric of the community. The Hampton 2008 Quality of Life Survey, conducted bi-annually on a representative sample, is a quick way to estimate citizens evaluation of government performance along multiple indicators. The Survey results show that more than 80% of citizens were satisfied with a range of twenty services provided by the city (e.g., fire, police, recycling, entertainment, parks, parenting programs, public libraries, culture and arts, adult recreation, Youth Sports, application for City permits etc.), with twelve of these services being rated above 90%. Citizens overwhelmingly agreed that the City encourages an appreciation of diversity (85%) and that their neighborhood receives the City services it needs (90%). The majority of citizens thought that the City employees were courteous (94%) and were satisfied with their overall performance (93%). One in two Hamptonians had called the City in the last year; of these, 88% being satisfied with the overall quality of the response to their questions or problems, 84% were satisfied with how quickly the City handled things. Three out of four citizens feel that they know how to inform the City about the way they feel on important issues; 57% of citizens read the "The Hampton City Page" in the Daily Press newspaper. Number of participants, representativeness, inclusion City staff makes a deliberate effort to engage as broad of a number of citizens as possible. Intentional outreach to marginalized populations helps ensure fair representation based on race, ethnicity, gender, age, socioeconomic background, and geographic location. As an example, the Youth Commission is composed of 65% African American, 27% White, and 7% Asian American youth; females dominate at 58%. Some of them are A students, but this is not the norm. Of the 21 Youth Planners who have served the city to date, 54% were African Americans and 42% were White. This pattern of diversity is clearly evident on all other boards and commissions. Throughout Hampton, diversity is stressed as a resource, unity as a goal, and inclusiveness as a way of coexisting peacefully in the City.
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Its difficult to quantify the citywide impact of civic engagement, although a few examples are illustrative. In FY10, the Neighborhood Division provided training to 300 residents in the form of educational workshops and through the community schools. A total of 1,500 citizens participated in meetings and events. Division staff participated in 1,200 face-to-face meetings with residents. These figures reflect only the activities supported directly by the Division. In addition, staff provided support to many other partnerships, such as the "I Value" participatory budgeting campaign, which involved a few thousand citizens. One must also consider the multiplier effect of civic leaders who reach out through their families and social networks to a greater number of citizens. In addition, the cumulative effect of civic engagement is very important, as each community school has graduated hundreds of leaders to date. Since 1999, the City has had an average annual roster of 518 youth who have been either employed by the City or who served in advisory or leadership roles. The City actively supports youth employment within its structure. In FY11, there is a total of 221 youth employed by the City, of whom 31 are under the age of 18. In any given year, close to 300 youth serve as youth advisors and leaders. The HYC roster has averaged 22 Commissioners every year; to date, it has 161 former members, with nine commissioners on average returning for a second mandate. Annually, the HYC holds two to four public meetings, each with 50-150 participants, with a current cumulative impact of at least 10,000 youth. The Commissions youth philanthropy small grants program has disbursed to date approximately $500,000 dollars for youth-led projects. These projects reach 1,000-1,500 youth per year, for a cumulative value of at least 12,000. Creating and rewriting the Community Plan also involved significant youth participation. During the last update in 2006, there were 700 youth surveyed and 100 youth who participated in focus groups. Impact on democratic capacities Hampton citizens have high and growing expectations on how the government interacts with them, how much information it shares, and how many opportunities it provides for engagement. Citizens know they have a voice and they use it. Their inputs clearly influence the process of setting priorities and taking action. They have a say in how their tax money is being used. Capacity building and leadership training is built into the process, so that citizens acquire needed skills and knowledge and become better problem solvers and collaborators. Its very important that citizens learn necessary skills, because "without having good skills you can't have a good democracy."9 As people listen to each others perspectives, as they deliberate on issues important to them, as they begin to see different views and priorities when compared to theirs, they begin to understand the difficulty of reconciling diverse perspectives at an aggregate, macro level and gain a deeper, more sophisticated understanding of the process of governance. By working with city officials, they also learn about their local government, its potential for positive change, and the constraints within which it operates. Citizens realize that the government can't do it all, and they have a responsibility to act as well. Public officials have also progressed toward greater accountability to their constituents. They are responsive to citizen needs and represent citizen interests fairly. Like their citizens, they have come to realize that working together with the community is a better alternative, as it is both less contentious and delivers better results. Yet successful collaborations do not occur naturally. Skilled trainers and neutral facilitators enable public officials and citizens to engage in a respectful dialogue and effective collective work. The institutional culture in Hampton has changed
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dramatically over the course of time. Public officials are no longer simply managers and bureaucrats. They have evolved into new roles, becoming conveners, facilitators, negotiators, mediators, and collaborators. Above all, public officials have become civic enablers, tasked with empowering citizens to share in the process of self-governing their city, and giving them power and responsibility to do so. 6. Evaluation of the Project: Challenges and Lessons Learned Lessons Learned Making progress toward the broader vision of making Hampton the "most liveable city in Virginia" has been possible only by carefully calibrating and aligning systems and actors to meet the strategic goals that underpin the vision. Adopting only such new programs or policies that clearly align to specific strategic goals or indicators creates more effective partnerships, builds synergies and momentum and speeds up the process of change. The City plays an important role in using City resources to fund actions that are clearly tied to the vision. In addition, the Citys vision for Hampton serves as a point of convergence for strategies and work plans for other local stakeholders. For instance, the Board of Directors for Alternatives, Inc., relies on the Community Plan to inform its strategic planning and scope of work. At macro level, this helps to focus policies and programs into one beam of light, instead of having it disperse into space. From the beginning of the reform back in 1980s, the Citys strategy has been to institutionalize through culture, instead of institutionalizing through statutes. This meant that the City leadership would promote a culture of relationships, coalescing around partnerships as vehicles of change. However, instead of simply mandating partnerships through statutes or implementation agreements and enforcing them top-down, the leadership would create a set of incentives that organically nurtured long-term relationships based on mutual trust, respect, and appreciation of diversity. As stakeholders began to trust each others intentions, as their worldview became enlarged by understanding points of view other than their own, partnerships would naturally emerge as the vehicle through which positive changes could be achieved. As such, culture change is really a transformation of the heart, with stakeholders willingly participating in partnerships instead of simply complying with a top-down directive. Clearly, such partnerships that are valued by everyone are inherently democratic and also more sustainable in the long run. Once youve unleashed an appetite for civic engagement, it keeps increasing. To sustain engagement is hard work, tests patience and challenges the notion of whos in charge. You must "go slow to go fast". If you involve neighborhoods at the beginning, you've done a lot of the work up front. According to city staff, civic engagement is a "messy process, to say the least", a "controlled chaos". City staff keeps track of multiple priorities; and while "most communities have one document, they have ,,zillions of documents." Yet this is "democracy at work, it's inclusive and representative, even as things don't always work out the way you want them to work." Hampton turns every crisis into an opportunity by tapping into its civic base. In 2010, the City had a 5% budget shortfall ($19 million), the worst budget crisis in the last couple of decades. To respond to it, the City has "reinvented itself" again, going through another internal reorganization process reminiscent of its 1980s experience. This process helped achieved higher efficiency through reorganizing departments and consolidating operations wherever possible. Following this, the City
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opened up the budgeting process to the entire community, something it had not been done before. In the past, passing city budgets had not been a contentious issue, since budgetary allocations were linked to citywide priorities captured in the Community Plan. In addition, there was never a public outcry caused by a gross mismanagement of funds because the public management system had been efficient. However, new cuts from an already lean budget were bound to upset citizens, so the City did what it knew to do best. It opened up the budgeting process to the citizens, helping them understand the constraints and seeking their assistance so that together they may tease out the communitys "needs" from its "wants". The resulting "I Value" participatory budgeting campaign engaged thousands of citizens. More than 30 communication methods were used, including public hearings, surveys, online content, live online chats, videos, etc. Mary Bunting, the City Manager, and city staff met citizens on their turf, in cafйs and community centers. Audience polling technology was used with 600 citizens, with 200 questions asked during a two-hour session. Attendance at public hearings on the budget jumped to 2,900%. A marketing analysis showed that on average, each citizen was exposed to the campaign message on 14 different occasions. While budget cuts still had to be made, and they were painful, the City was again able to innovate again, with the least needed city services being reduced. Bunting remains committed to the services and programs that were cut, and whenever possible, she has kept them on a "pilot light". Challenges While the City Budget was approved without controversy, it was a painful transition for departments that had to adapt to reduced staffing and funds. While "core areas" such as public safety and investment in economic development have remained untouched, many other non-core areas have seen deep cuts. Both the Youth Engagement and the Housing and Neighborhood Services Division have seen reductions in their staffing and funding in the order of 25-30 %. Contracting services to Alternatives, Inc. were also cut by a quarter in the course of three months. Yet these cuts are not disproportionately higher when compared to other non-core services that have also seen cuts. City officials working on youth and neighborhood issues are currently in the process of adjusting to these new constraints. Changing leadership is an emerging challenge. Since the initiative is 15 - 20 years old, the city has had a turnover of mayors, several city managers, and various department heads. The recent reorganization within city government changes how department functions are configured and the personnel/leadership within those departments. Baby boomers are retiring so the institutional memory of the vision has a tendency to become lost. Hampton is also faced with a generational shift in how citizens engage with their governments and how relationships are formed. City staff grapples with the challenge of linking online to offline deliberation and consultation and finding new ways to engage busy young professionals and working parents. Along the same lines, Hampton is growing more diverse in terms of cultural differences, as a growing numbers of new residents may not speak English at all or speak English as a Second Language.
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7. Next Steps and Visions for the Future The Housing and Neighborhood Services Division will continue to push civic engagement deeper and broader in the neighborhoods and adjust to the staffing and funding reductions. In addition, the Division is particularly attuned to the generational shift described above. The Division plans to spend time learning about new cultures in the city, so that they can better understand how to engage with them. The youth civic engagement agenda will be enhanced in the near future as follows. First, the scope of training and preparation for young people who are currently engaged in school and community leadership positions (e.g., athletic team captains) will be broadened, so that these leaders would also acquire a set of basic leadership skills. A second step is to provide consistent leadership training and facilitation process for higher-level youth civic engagement groups (advisors and leaders), which is achieved by allowing city staff to serve as "subject matter experts" and Alternatives, Inc., to take on the responsibility for the "process" expertise, i.e., recruiting, training, and facilitating the youth groups. A third step is to improve coordination of leadership training with workforce development preparation for youth. Plans include the use of a "portfolio" of leadership opportunities/experiences for each young person, which would then be linked to a "workforce development" certificate, recognized by local employers. 8. Transferability to Germany The development and implementation of a model of deliberative and cooperative governance, in which citizens have an influential role in the decision-making process, is surely an attractive goal. In principle, a similar culture of participation could well be established in Germany. The significant question is whether political and administrative decision-makers put their full support behind the development of a participatory culture, which would allow real and extensive co-determination. Many of the methods used in Hampton could readily be applied to Germany and in fact are already being implemented here on the local level, for example youth commissions or youth parliaments. However, there are drastic differences in the way that the methods are being applied in Germany versus Hampton. First, the level of commitment to and the depth of citizen participation are higher in Hampton and second, the arrangement of methods into an integrated system of citizen engagement is specific to Hampton. Looking at, for example, the Youth Commission and its relatives in Germany the differences become obvious: (1) whereas the HYC has far reaching influence on political decisions, a noteworthy budget and benefits from skills trainings, etc., Youth Parliaments rarely reach a level of comparable significance in Germany. (2) The HYC reaches its full potential because it is embedded within a system in which youth learn early on that they matter, that their voices are being heard. They learn to take on responsibility for themselves and others and experience that decision-makers in their city actually listen to them just as they listen to citizens in general. This deliberate integration into a system is still lacking in Germany, so that separate initiatives oftentimes fail to reach their full potential. There are however no legal obstacles that would prevent these differences from being lightened and "The Hampton Way" becoming a viable model to be transferred to Germany. A prerequisite is
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that attention be paid to building a strong culture of civic engagement and citizen participation both in politics/administration and among citizens. Two factors should be pointed out in addition: (1) the disposition for civic engagement, one of the pillars on which the Hampton example rests, is higher in the US than in Germany. A recent Gallup poll comparing the disposition for civic engagement in 130 countries ranks the US Number 1 as compared to Germany Number 21. Transferring ,,The Hampton Way" to Germany requires either an alternative to the reliance on volunteers or alternatively different and meaningful incentives to get people to devote their time. (2) Germany does not have as strong a tradition of civic education as the US. As pointed out above, lifelong civic education is one necessary factor for success in Hampton. Citizens need to be able and have the right set of skills to use their opportunities for participation responsibly and well-informed. 1 There are five categories of local governments in the United States: municipal governments; town or township governments; county governments; school districts; and special district governments. Each state has jurisdiction over their local governments, determining the range of powers and responsibilities. Local governments are not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. 2 Virginia Workforce Connection. (2010). Online Query Tool. Population selection for Hampton City. Data downloaded as excel file. Author's own computations. 3 American Communities Survey. Population and Housing Narrative Profile: 2006 ­ 2008. Data Set: 2006-2008 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates. Available Online: http://factfinder.census.gov 4 The Mayor and the six council members are elected at large, whereas the Council appoints the Vice-Mayor and the City Manager. The citizens of Hampton elect council members to four-year terms, in staggered elections in even years. The City Manager is the chief administrator and executive officer of the city, responsible for implementing policies of the City Council. The City Manager and the Assistant City Managers provide continuity from one administration to another, as they are not subject to termination at the end of a four-year election term. Local government elections in Hampton are nonpartisan, marked by an absence of party labels on the election ballot. 5 Mayor James Eason, in 1984. Source: City of Hampton. (2003) Chapter 1: The Big Picture. Hampton Neighborhood Initiative Replication Manual. P. 1. Available online http://www.hampton.gov/neighborhoods/neighborhood_initiative_replication_manual.html 6 For most of this document, names have been withheld out of a consideration for space. However, if the readers are interested in a particular quote, the name of the author can be provided upon request. 7 Personal interviews with Hampton city officials and secondary review of official city documents. A useful overview of Hampton's early beginnings is this source: City of Hampton. (2003) Chapter 1: The Big Picture. Hampton Neighborhood Initiative Replication Manual. P. 1. Available online http://www.hampton.gov/neighborhoods/neighborhood_initiative_replication_manual.html 8 The Hampton Coalition for Youth. (2010). Brochure "Young Voices, New Visions: The Power of Youth to Improve Communities." 9 Mike Monteith, a former assistant city manager for Hampton. Quoted in: Hampton Commons. Hampton embraces April 10 summit on civic engagement. March 28, 2010 Available Online: http://hamptoncommons.com/hampton-chronicle/78-hampton-embraces-april-10-summit-on-civic-engagement

D Schor, C Tillmann

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