Focus on Civility in Local Government

What do we mean when we talk about establishing civility in local government?
Civility is a tool for working with strongly held different views, not a way to silence or ignore them. Civility is a broad topic that can mean anything from facilitating constructive council-staff relations to engaging community members in helpful dialogue, learning how to diffuse a tense situation, or simply saying “please” and “thank you” more often.

What does it mean for my community?
Civility (or rather, incivility) can rear its ugly head in a variety of situations. Not managing these situations properly can lead to staff turnover, lawsuits, negative media coverage, stagnating business growth, slow or stalled economic development, and a generally dissatisfied public. It is simply hard to get things done when we can’t work through our differences.

How is ethics connected?
Ethics is a closely related topic and a focus on ethics may contribute to improved civility. The League’s Model Statement of Values and Template Code of Conduct are available for consideration by cities and city officials. Each city council is encouraged to decide for its city whether and how to utilize these tools.

Resources to help your community get back on the right track
The League and the Minnesota City/County Management Association (MCMA) have compiled a variety of resources to help you spot many of the common indicators of pending incivility, help prevent it from happening, and give you the tools to help get your community back on the right track when it occurs.

Choose a topic area below to access this collection of resources, which includes dozens of tips, tricks, tools, templates, and real life examples and is based on recommendations from the LMC/MCMA Civility Task Force.

Background

Political issues

Interpersonal relations

Community relations

Stressful situations

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