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The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy  >>  University of Michigan

Michigan local leaders want their citizens to play a larger role in policymaking, but report declining engagement

Key Findings •

Most local leaders in Michigan (54%) believe their jurisdictions offer “a great deal” of opportunities for their citizens to engage with their local governments. Only 5% say they offer few opportunities, or none at all.

However, reported levels of citizen engagement have declined since the last MPPS on this topic in 2012. While the percentage of local leaders who say their citizens are very engaged (10%) is unchanged since 2012, the percentage who say their citizens are somewhat engaged has declined from 55% in 2012 to 46% in 2016.

By Natalie Fitzpatrick, Thomas Ivacko, and Debra Horner

This report presents Michigan local government leaders’ assessments of issues related to citizen engagement with their local governments and the role that citizens play in local policymaking. The findings in this report are based on statewide surveys of local government leaders in the Fall 2016 and Fall 2012 waves of the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS). >> The Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) is a census survey of all 1,856 general purpose local governments in Michigan conducted by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) at the University of Michigan in partnership with the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Townships Association, and Michigan Association of Counties. The MPPS takes place twice each year and investigates local officials’ opinions and perspectives on a variety of important public policy issues. Respondents for the Fall 2016 wave of the MPPS include county administrators, board chairs, and clerks; city mayors, managers, and clerks; village presidents, managers, and clerks; and township supervisors, managers, and clerks from 1,315 jurisdictions across the state.

Michigan Public Policy Survey July 2017

For more information, please contact: closup-mpps@umich.edu/ (734) 647-4091. You can also follow us on Twitter @closup

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The percentage of local leaders who believe that most of their citizens are not willing to take the time to become well-informed on issues facing the jurisdiction has increased from 67% in 2012 to 77% in 2016.

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The percentage who say that the citizens they hear from are more interested in complaining than in finding solutions has increased from 50% in 2012 to 69% in 2016.

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Significant majorities of local leaders also report that citizens are only engaged on issues that affect them directly (86%), and that they struggle to find enough citizens to serve on their jurisdictions’ appointed boards and commissions or elected positions (72%).

Local leaders today are more likely to say citizens should play a more active role in the local policymaking process than they did in 2012. In particular, 17% of local leaders in 2012 believed the proper role of citizen engagement efforts was only to keep citizens informed about issues facing their jurisdictions, while this has dropped to only 4% today. Meanwhile, the percentage who believe citizens should recommend specific decisions for their jurisdictions has doubled, from 12% in 2012 to 25% in 2016. »»

Over the same time period, local leaders have come to increasingly believe that their citizens prefer for themselves a very limited role in policymaking, with a significant increase in the percentage who say their citizens believe their own proper role is only to stay informed.

Overall, satisfaction among local leaders with citizen engagement in their jurisdictions has decreased from 58% in 2012 to 51% in 2016.

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The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy

Background As noted when the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) first covered issues of citizen engagement in 2012,1 the idea that elected officials and public administrators have both an obligation and a self-interest to engage the citizens in their communities is a staple of democratic theory2 and is routinely promoted by good governance efforts nationwide.3 Studies find positive benefits resulting from citizen engagement, including increased trust in government4 and a greater willingness to pay taxes when citizens think their preferences have been taken into account in the policymaking process.5 However, while many analysts tout the goal of citizens as “co-producers” of local government services, some have wondered whether the benefits of citizen engagement may be outweighed by its challenges and unintended effects, such as potential budgetary costs and instances of misaligned goals between citizens and local leaders.6 To get a better understanding of citizen engagement in Michigan, the MPPS went directly to local officials themselves, first in 2012 and again in 2016, asking what roles they believe citizens should play in their government’s policymaking, and the current state of citizen engagement in their jurisdiction. These MPPS surveys have focused specifically on citizens’ place in local governance, not wider issues of civic participation such as volunteering in community non-profits, or engaging in larger state, national, or international issues. Although there are a wide variety of definitions and models of citizen engagement and collaborative public management,7 one popular model, developed by the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2), identifies a spectrum with very limited engagement opportunities on one end, spanning to very deep engagement opportunities on the other.8 The MPPS used this framework to explore Michigan local leaders’ views and to understand how they have changed over time.

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Michigan Public Policy Survey

A majority of Michigan local officials say their jurisdictions offer many opportunities for citizen engagement Overall, a majority of local leaders (54%) in 2016 say their jurisdictions offer “a great deal” of opportunities for citizens to engage with their local governments, while 39% indicate they offer “some” opportunities, and just 5% report they offer few opportunities, or none at all (see Figure 1). These overall percentages are similar to those found when the MPPS first asked about citizen engagement in 2012.

Figure 1 Local leaders’ assessments of the extent of citizen engagement opportunities in their jurisdictions 2% 5% A great deal Somewhat Very little

39%

54%

Not at all Don't know

Drilling down into the data, however, a number of differences are revealed across jurisdictions as of 2016 (see Appendix A). For instance, 60% of Michigan’s smallest jurisdictions (those with fewer than 1,500 residents) report offering a great deal of engagement opportunities, compared with 50% of the state’s largest jurisdictions (those with more than 30,000 residents). The extent of reported opportunities for citizen engagement also varies regionally across the state. The percentage of officials reporting a great deal of opportunities ranges from 49% in Southeast Lower Michigan, to 65% in the Northern Lower Peninsula. And differences are also reported by jurisdiction type. County officials are less likely to say their jurisdictions provide “a great deal” of engagement opportunities (31%) compared with officials from townships (53%), cities (58%), and villages (60%). In addition to offering opportunities for engagement generally, some local leaders say their jurisdictions also reach out proactively to specific groups of citizens that might not normally engage in the policymaking process. Just over a quarter (27%) of local leaders say their jurisdictions conduct this type of outreach, including 41% of the state’s largest jurisdictions. It may not be surprising that larger jurisdictions are more likely to report taking these actions, since they are also more likely to have additional staff capacity to do so, and may have more citizens who are new to their communities, compared with small jurisdictions.

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The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy

Local officials report declining levels of engagement Whereas a majority (54%) of local leaders say their jurisdictions offer a great deal of engagement opportunities to their citizens, only 10% report that their citizens are in fact very engaged with their jurisdictions’ policymaking and/or operations. Another 46% say their citizens are at least somewhat engaged. And as seen earlier, there are differences in these reports based on jurisdiction population size. Whereas 73% of officials from the largest jurisdictions say their citizens are somewhat or very engaged today, the same is true of 51% from the smallest jurisdictions (see Figure 2a). Not surprisingly, citizen engagement is also reportedly higher in jurisdictions that say they offer more engagement opportunities, compared to those that don’t. The same is true in jurisdictions where local leaders say they reach out to groups that typically might not engage in the jurisdiction’s policymaking process, compared to jurisdictions that do not conduct this type of outreach. Among the 27% of jurisdictions that say they undertake extra outreach efforts, 67% of local leaders say their citizens are somewhat (53%) or very (14%) engaged. In jurisdictions where local leaders say they do not conduct such extra outreach, only 43% of officials say that their citizens are somewhat (35%) or very (8%) engaged (see Figure 2b).

Figure 2a Local leaders’ assessments of the level of citizen engagement in their jurisdictions, by jurisdiction size

8%

9%

10%

43%

47%

42%

16% 57%

Very engaged Somewhat engaged

38%

37%

Not very engaged

39%

Not at all engaged

33% 25% 3%

9%

Population <1,500

6% 1% Population 1,500-5,000

8%

4%

1%

Population 5,001-10,000

Population 10,001-30,000

Don’t know 2%

Population >30,000

Figure 2b Local leaders’ assessments of the level of citizen engagement in their jurisdictions, by outreach

14% 53%

8% 35%

Very engaged Somewhat engaged

47%

Not very engaged Not at all engaged

26%

Don’t know

6%

10%

Jurisdiction conducts extra outreach

Jurisdiction does not conduct extra outreach

1%

4

16% 47%

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Michigan Public Policy Survey

However, despite these opportunities and jurisdictional efforts, local leaders statewide now report lower levels of citizen engagement in their jurisdictions, compared to when they were asked in the 2012 MPPS. Although there has been no change in the percentage of jurisdictions where citizens are described as “very” engaged, there has been a decline in the percentage where they are described as “somewhat” engaged, and an increase where they are described as “not very” or “not at all” engaged. Today, 56% of local leaders say citizens in their jurisdictions are somewhat (46%) or very (10%) engaged, compared with 65% in 2012 who said their citizens were somewhat (55%) or very (10%) engaged at that time. And while 43% today report their citizens are not very (36%) or not at all (7%) engaged, those percentages are up from 2012, when just 34% said their citizens were not very (31%) or not at all (3%) engaged in their jurisdictions’ work (see Figure 3). These declines in engagement are reported by officials from all jurisdiction types (counties, cities, townships, and villages), and among all but the state’s largest jurisdictions. These assessments of declining citizen engagement are similar to findings from the 2015 Michigan Civic Health Index,9 conducted by the Michigan Nonprofit Association and the National Conference on Citizenship. Compared to the 2012 Civic Health Index,10 there have been declines in two key measures of political engagement: the percentage of Michigan residents who say they’ve attended a public meeting, and the percentage saying they’ve visited or contacted a public official. These declines have been in both absolute percentage, and in Michigan’s rank among all 50 states for these two categories. At the same time though, Michigan continues to rank highly for other measures of engagement, such as voter registration (8th in the country), voting in the 2012 presidential election (14th), and voting in local elections (17th).

Figure 3 Local leaders’ assessments of the level of citizen engagement in their jurisdictions, 2012 vs. 2016

10%

10%

55%

46%

Very engaged Somewhat engaged 36%

Not very engaged

31%

Not at all engaged Don’t know 7%

3%

2012

2%

2016

Figure 4 Local leaders’ assessments of the level of citizen engagement in jurisdictions with a great deal of engagement opportunities, 2012 vs. 2016

18%

57%

15% 49%

Very engaged Somewhat engaged 31%

Not very engaged Not at all engaged

24%

Don’t know 6%

2%

2012

2016

While local officials from jurisdictions that offer more engagement opportunities report that their citizens are more engaged than in those jurisdictions offering fewer opportunities, even among jurisdictions that say they offer a great deal of opportunities, citizen engagement has reportedly dropped slightly since 2012. Back then, 75% of these jurisdictions reported their citizens were somewhat (57%) or very (18%) engaged, while this has fallen to 64% in 2016 where leaders say their citizens are somewhat (49%) or very (15%) engaged (see Figure 4). Overall, in 2016, 78% of local leaders say that they make opportunities for engagement available, but citizens rarely take advantage of them.

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The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy

Local officials have increasingly negative perceptions about a range of citizen attitudes and behaviors In addition to lower levels of reported engagement overall, Michigan’s local leaders also have increasingly negative views about a number of specific attitudes and behaviors they perceive among their citizens. Over three-quarters (77%) of local leaders say that most of their citizens are not willing to take the time to become well-informed on issues facing the jurisdiction, up from 67% in 2012 (see Figure 5a). This comes despite the fact that local leaders say that their jurisdictions are making more information available to their citizens­­­—87% say their jurisdictions’ decision-making is transparent, compared to 72% in 2012. Local leaders also say that the citizens they hear from are more interested in complaining than in finding solutions. The percentage of local leaders who agree with this statement has increased from 50% in 2012 to 69% in 2016, and in particular the percentage who strongly agree has doubled, from 14% in 2012 to 29% in 2016 (see Figure 5b).

Figure 5a Local leaders’ agreement or disagreement that most citizens are not willing to take the time to become informed, 2012 vs. 2016

2012

2016

Strongly disagree

Perhaps related to these reports of decreasing levels of overall citizen engagement, informal engagement around the community (such as at the grocery store, in a restaurant, etc.) appears to be increasingly important. In 2016, 74% of local leaders say that some of the best engagement with their jurisdictions’ citizens happens through informal encounters around their communities, an increase from 65% of local leaders who said so in 2012 (see Figure 6).

10%

8%

2%

44%

23%

48%

Somewhat disagree

29%

Somewhat agree

Strongly agree

Note: Responses for “Neither agree nor disagree” and “Don’t know” not shown

Figure 5b Local leaders’ agreement or disagreement that most citizens they hear from are more interested in complaining than in finding solutions, 2012 vs. 2016

2012

As shown in Appendix B, as of 2016, large majorities of local leaders also believe their jurisdictions’ citizens are only engaged on issues that affect them directly (86%), and say they struggle to find enough citizens to serve on their jurisdictions’ appointed boards and commissions or in elected positions (72%). (Note: over-time comparisons are not possible here, because these items were not asked on the 2012 survey.)

3%

8%

2016

16%

2% 10%

Strongly disagree

36%

40%

Somewhat disagree

14%

29%

Somewhat agree

Strongly agree

Note: Responses for “Neither agree nor disagree” and “Don’t know” not shown

Figure 6 Local leaders’ agreement or disagreement that some of their best engagement happens informally around the community, 2012 vs. 2016

2012

3%

6%

44%

21%

4%

2016

Strongly disagree

1%

Somewhat disagree

47%

27%

Somewhat agree

Strongly agree

Note: Responses for “Neither agree nor disagree” and “Don’t know” not shown

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Michigan Public Policy Survey

Local leaders increasingly believe citizens should play a more active role in local policymaking One way to think about the role of citizen engagement is along a spectrum from low engagement to high engagement. At the low end, a jurisdiction’s citizen engagement efforts might focus just on keeping citizens informed about issues facing the local government. At the high end, citizens would actually make decisions for the jurisdiction. The 2012 and 2016 MPPS asked local leaders where on that spectrum they believe is the proper role for citizen engagement in local governance.

Figure 7 Local leaders’ own views on the role of citizen engagement in local governance

3% 3% 4% Low engagement: Just keep citizens informed

25%

Have citizens provide input Have citizens recommend decisions High engagement: Have citizens make decisions

64%

Don't know

In both surveys, most local leaders said the proper role is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. In the 2016 MPPS, 64% of local leaders say citizens should not just stay informed, but should provide some input to their jurisdictions’ work. Another 28% think that citizens should have an even larger role, either by recommending decisions (25%) or actually making decisions (3%). Today, only 4% of local leaders think the proper role of citizen engagement is to just keep citizens informed (see Figure 7). These views represent a large shift of opinion since the 2012 survey. In particular, in 2012, 17% of local leaders thought the proper role was just keeping citizens informed, more than four times higher than the percentage who feel this way today (4%). Meanwhile, the percentage who believe citizens should recommend specific decisions for their jurisdictions has doubled, from 12% in 2012 to 25% in 2016. This large shift in preferences occurred across the state, and among a broad range of officials, whether elected or appointed, Republican, Independent, or Democrat, and among all age groups.

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The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy There have also been changes towards the upper end of the scale as well. In 2012, just 10% of local leaders thought that the proper role of citizen engagement was for citizens to recommend or make specific decisions for the jurisdiction. Today 28% of local leaders feel this way.

Figure 8 Local leaders’ views, and their perceptions of their citizens’ views, on the role of citizen engagement in local governance

4% 26% 64%

Beyond examining what local leaders themselves think is the proper role for citizens, the MPPS also wanted to see what local leaders believe their citizens think about this question. And the survey finds that, while an increasing percentage of local leaders prefer a larger role for citizen engagement in local governance, many also believe their citizens actually see their own proper role as very limited (see Figure 8). While only 4% of local leaders themselves believe the proper role is just to keep citizens informed, 26% believe their citizens think just staying informed is indeed the proper ceiling for citizen involvement. And while 28% of local leaders themselves believe citizens should recommend or even make decisions, only 15% believe their citizens see these as the proper roles for citizen engagement.

49%

Have citizens provide input Have citizens recommend decisions 35%

Don't know

3% 10%

Respondent believes citizens' proper role is…

Respondent thinks majority of citizens believe their proper role is…

Figure 9 Percent saying the proper role of citizen engagement is to just keep citizens informed, 2012 vs. 2016

Respondent believes citizens’ proper role is to just stay informed 26% 17%

In other words, even as local leaders increasingly want their citizens more deeply engaged in local governance, they are also more likely now than they were four years ago to believe their citizens feel they should have a particularly limited role: just staying informed about local governance issues.

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High engagement: Have citizens make decisions

12% 3% 3%

And this mismatch appears to be worsening, compared to findings from 2012. Overall, the percentage of local leaders who believe their citizens think they should only stay informed has doubled, from 13% in 2012, to 26% today (see Figure 9).

Beyond regular citizen engagement, local leaders were also asked about the proper role for citizens in terms of decision-making for the most controversial issues facing the jurisdiction, and here local leaders are even more willing to involve citizens deeply: 20% think that citizens—rather than government officials—should have the final say on the most controversial issues. This varies by jurisdiction size. In the smallest jurisdictions, 26% of local leaders say that citizens should have the final say on the most controversial situations, compared with 11% in the largest jurisdictions (see Figure 10). And while elected and appointed officials have similar views on the general role of citizen engagement in local governance, elected officials (23%) are more likely than appointed officials (10%) to think that citizens should have the final say on the most controversial issues.

Low engagement: Just keep citizens informed

13%

Respondent thinks majority of citizens believe their proper role is to just stay informed

4%

2012

2016

Figure 10 Local leaders’ views on their citizens’ role on most controversial issues, by jurisdiction size

26%

67%

20%

10%

10%

11%

87%

85%

Citizens should have the final say

71%

Public officials should have the final say

79%

Don’t know

8%

9%

10%

Population <1,500

Population 1,500-5,000

Population 5,001-10,000

4% Population 10,001-30,000

4% Population >30,000

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Michigan Public Policy Survey

Lower satisfaction with citizen engagement Overall satisfaction with citizen engagement has decreased among local leaders since 2012, as levels of citizen engagement have appeared to decline even while local leaders’ desires for their citizens’ role in local policymaking have increased. While a slight majority (51%) of officials today still report being satisfied with citizen engagement in their jurisdictions, this is down from 58% who were satisfied in 2012. Over the same time, the percentage of local leaders who say they are dissatisfied with citizen engagement in their jurisdiction has increased from 18% to 23% (see Figure 11). Unsurprisingly, local leaders’ satisfaction with their citizens’ engagement is strongly correlated with the levels of engagement they report. Among officials who say that their citizens are very engaged, 40% are very satisfied (and another 42% are somewhat satisfied). This drops steeply to just 13% who are very satisfied among local officials who say their citizens are only somewhat engaged, and to just 4% among those who say their citizens are not very engaged. The overall decline in satisfaction from 58% in 2012 to 51% today is driven by jurisdictions where local leaders say their citizens are not very engaged or not at all engaged (see Figure 12). This may reflect the change among local leaders’ increasing preference for their citizens to be more deeply involved in local governance.

Figure 11 Local leaders’ satisfaction with levels of citizen engagement in their jurisdictions, 2012 vs. 2016

2012

4%

2016

7%

14%

16%

40%

Somewhat dissatisfied

Very dissatisfied

16%

42%

11%

Somewhat satisfied

Very satisfied

Note: Responses for “Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied” and “Don’t know” not shown

Figure 12 Local leaders’ satisfaction with levels of citizen engagement in their jurisdictions in 2012 vs. 2016, by level of citizen engagement

40%

42%

17%

13% 8%

52%

57%

28%

1% 5% 26%

4% 26%

3%

42% 39% 25%

29%

20%

Very satisfied Somewhat satisfied

10% 40%

Somewhat dissatisfied Very dissatisfied

4% 2%

3% 2012

1% 10% 1% 7% 2016

Very engaged

2012

2016

Somewhat engaged

18% 9%

8%

2012

2016

Not very engaged

2012

2016

Not at all engaged

Note: Responses for “Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied” and “Don’t know” not shown

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The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy

Conclusion Public affairs in the U.S. seem to have become a hotbed of citizen engagement in the wake of the 2016 national elections, with protesters in the streets, congressional town halls packed to capacity, and phone lines on Capitol Hill ringing off the hook. But it is less clear what is happening at the local level. It may be that citizens themselves don’t feel the need to be more active at the local level. For example, Michigan citizens consistently report that they trust local governments more than they trust state and federal government.11 And this may be reflected in activity levels, as the 2015 Michigan Civic Health Index found decreasing levels of citizen participation in specific types of engagement activities compared to data from 2012. However, local leaders seem to wish to see more. On the MPPS, a majority (54%) of Michigan local government leaders report that their jurisdictions offer a great deal of opportunities for their citizens to engage with their local government, but only 10% say their citizens are very involved. And while they increasingly report a number of negative perceptions regarding citizens in their jurisdictions—for instance, that citizens won’t take the time to become wellinformed, and that they mostly want to complain rather than find solutions—local leaders nonetheless increasingly want their citizens to become more actively engaged. Rather than just keeping citizens informed about local affairs, local leaders more and more want citizens to provide input and recommend decisions for their jurisdictions. Unfortunately, local leaders also increasingly believe their citizens themselves think they should play a very limited role: just staying informed about issues facing their local governments. As local leaders’ desires for a more engaged citizenry run up against what may be more limited goals among citizens themselves, leaders’ satisfaction with citizen engagement has fallen, from 58% satisfied in 2012, to 51% today.

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Michigan Public Policy Survey

Notes 1. Ivacko, T. & Horner, D. (2012). Citizen engagement in the view of Michigan’s local government leaders. Ann Arbor, MI: Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan. Retrieved from http://closup.umich.edu/files/mpps-fall-2012-citizen-engagement.pdf 2. Theiss-Morse, E., & Hibbing, J. R. (2005). Citizenship and civic engagement. Annual Review of Political Science, 8, 227-249. 3. National League of Cities. (2013). Governance & civic engagement. Retrieved from http://www.nlc.org/find-city-solutions/center-for-research-and-innovation/governance-and-civic-engagement 4. Keele, L. (2007). Social capital and the dynamics of trust in government. American Journal of Political Science, 51(2), 241-254. 5. Torgler, B., & Schneider, F. (2009). The impact of tax morale and institutional quality on the shadow economy. Journal of Economic Psychology, 30, 228–245. 6. Irvin, R., & Stansbury, J. (2004). Citizen participation in decision making: Is it worth the effort? Public Administration Review, 64(1), 55 – 65. 7. Cooper, T. L., Bryer, T. A., & Meek, J. W. (2006). Citizen-centered collaborative public management. Public Administration Review, 66(Special Issue: Collaborative Public Management), 76-88. 8. International Association for Public Participation (IAP2). (2013). IAP2 spectrum of public participation. Louisville, CO: IAP2. Retrieved from www.iap2.org/resource/resmgr/foundations_course/IAP2_P2_Spectrum_FINAL.pdf 9. Kruman, M. W., Hanlin, A., Martin, C., Weiker, R., Coates, J., & Blossom, C. (2015). 2015 Michigan Civic Health Index. Lansing, MI: Michigan Nonprofit Association & National Conference on Citizenship. Retrieved from https://www.mnaonline.org/research-publications/michigan-civic-health-index/file 10. National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC). (2013). 2012 Michigan civic health index. Washington, DC: NCoC. Retrieved from https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mcsc/2012_MIchigan_Civic_Health_Index_416098_7.pdf 11. Ballard, C. L. (2016). State of the State Survey Winter 2016. Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University. Retrieved from http://ippsr.msu.edu/sites/default/files/soss/SOSS72.pdf

Survey Background and Methodology The MPPS is a biannual survey of each of Michigan’s 1,856 units of general purpose local government, conducted once each spring and fall. While the spring surveys consist of multiple batteries of the same “core” fiscal, budgetary and operational policy questions and are designed to build-up a multi-year timeseries of data, the fall surveys focus on various other topics. In the Fall 2016 iteration, surveys were sent by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) via the internet and hardcopy to top elected and appointed officials (including county administrators and board chairs; city mayors and managers; village presidents, clerks, and managers; and township supervisors, clerks, and managers) from all 83 counties, 278 cities, 255 villages, and 1,240 townships in the state of Michigan. The Fall 2016 wave was conducted from October 3 – December 13, 2016. A total of 1,315 jurisdictions in the Fall 2016 wave returned valid surveys (61 counties, 224 cities, 178 villages, and 852 townships), resulting in a 71% response rate by unit. The margin of error for the survey for the survey as a whole is +/- 1.46%. The key relationships discussed in the above report are statistically significant at the p<.05 level or below, unless otherwise specified. Missing responses are not included in the tabulations, unless otherwise specified. Some report figures may not add to 100% due to rounding within response categories. Quantitative data are weighted to account for non-response. “Voices Across Michigan” verbatim responses, when included, may have been edited for clarity and brevity. And questions that have been asked across multiple MPPS surveys may have changes in wording and/or question response options. For exact question text, see the survey questionnaires available at the MPPS website below. Contact CLOSUP staff for more information. Detailed tables of the data analyzed in this report broken down three ways—by jurisdiction type (county, city, township, or village); by population size of the respondent’s community, and by the region of the respondent’s jurisdiction—are available online at the MPPS homepage: http://closup.umich.edu/mpps.php. The survey responses presented here are those of local Michigan officials, while further analysis represents the views of the authors. Neither necessarily reflects the views of the University of Michigan, or of other partners in the MPPS.

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The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy

Appendices Appendix A Extent of opportunities available for citizen engagement, by region and jurisdiction type

Region of Michigan

To what extent do you feel your jurisdiction offers opportunities to citizens for engagement with your jurisdiction in its policymaking and/or operations?

Upper Peninsula

Northern Lower Peninsula

West Central Lower Peninsula

East Central Lower Peninsula

Southwest Lower Peninsula

Southeast Lower Peninsula

Total

A great deal

58%

65%

53%

50%

50%

49%

54%

Somewhat

33%

30%

40%

40%

43%

45%

39%

Very little

4%

3%

4%

7%

5%

6%

5%

Not at all

0%

1%

0%

1%

1%

0%

0%

Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know

5%

1%

2%

3%

1%

0%

2%

Jurisdiction Type To what extent do you feel your jurisdiction offers opportunities to citizens for engagement with your jurisdiction in its policymaking and/or operations?

12

Total

County

Township

City

Village

A great deal

31%

53%

58%

60%

54%

Somewhat

57%

39%

38%

33%

39%

Very little

5%

6%

4%

2%

5%

Not at all

0%

0%

0%

1%

0%

Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know

7%

1%

0%

4%

2%

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Michigan Public Policy Survey

Appendix B Agreement or disagreement with statements about citizen engagement in the jurisdiction, by jurisdiction size

<1,500

1,500-5,000

5,001-10,000

10,001-30,000

>30,000

Total

We make opportunities for engagement available, but our citizens rarely take advantage of them. Strongly agree

39%

30%

28%

28%

20%

32%

Somewhat agree

41%

47%

51%

49%

63%

46%

Neither agree nor disagree

11%

12%

11%

12%

6%

11%

Somewhat disagree

5%

8%

7%

7%

6%

6%

Strongly disagree

3%

2%

2%

5%

3%

3%

Some of our best engagement with citizens happens informally around the community (such as at the grocery store or in a restaurant, etc.). Strongly agree

26%

28%

35%

26%

16%

27%

Somewhat agree

50%

45%

43%

48%

50%

47%

Neither agree nor disagree

19%

17%

12%

17%

22%

17%

Somewhat disagree

2%

6%

6%

8%

5%

4%

Strongly disagree

0%

2%

0%

1%

3%

1%

Most citizens we hear from are more interested in complaining than in finding solutions. Strongly agree

31%

28%

27%

30%

21%

29%

Somewhat agree

39%

40%

42%

43%

44%

40%

Neither agree nor disagree

16%

17%

14%

18%

21%

17%

Somewhat disagree

11%

9%

13%

8%

12%

10%

Strongly disagree

1%

4%

4%

1%

1%

2%

Citizens in our jurisdiction want access to information about the governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s finances and operations. 9%

8%

9%

10%

24%

10%

Somewhat agree

23%

30%

26%

29%

34%

27%

Neither agree nor disagree

36%

33%

32%

36%

25%

34%

Somewhat disagree

19%

21%

20%

19%

17%

20%

Strongly disagree

8%

5%

11%

6%

0%

6%

Strongly agree

Most citizens arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t willing to take the time to become well-informed on issues facing the jurisdiction. Strongly agree

32%

25%

30%

33%

26%

29%

Somewhat agree

44%

52%

53%

51%

48%

48%

Neither agree nor disagree

13%

11%

8%

7%

15%

12%

Somewhat disagree

8%

8%

5%

7%

7%

8%

Strongly disagree

2%

2%

2%

2%

4%

2%

13


The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy Appendix B continued

<1,500

1,500-5,000

5,001-10,000

10,001-30,000

>30,000

Total

Our jurisdiction reaches out to groups that typically might not engage in our policymaking processes (e.g., low income or racially diverse populations). Strongly agree

6%

2%

6%

7%

8%

5%

Somewhat agree

22%

19%

20%

26%

33%

22%

Neither agree nor disagree

55%

53%

50%

35%

33%

51%

Somewhat disagree

8%

17%

17%

28%

21%

15%

Strongly disagree

6%

4%

6%

3%

5%

5%

Citizens tend to only be engaged on issues that affect them directly and not on issues affecting the community overall. Strongly agree

42%

44%

49%

46%

38%

43%

Somewhat agree

46%

46%

42%

49%

51%

46%

Neither agree nor disagree

6%

6%

3%

2%

6%

5%

Somewhat disagree

4%

2%

4%

1%

4%

3%

Strongly disagree

0%

0%

1%

3%

0%

1%

Our jurisdictionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s decision-making is transparent to our citizens. Strongly agree

58%

60%

55%

60%

66%

59%

Somewhat agree

27%

27%

31%

29%

29%

28%

Neither agree nor disagree

9%

9%

8%

6%

3%

9%

Somewhat disagree

2%

2%

4%

3%

1%

2%

Strongly disagree

1%

1%

2%

1%

1%

1%

We struggle to find enough citizens to serve on our jurisdictionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s appointed boards/commissions or elected offices. Strongly agree

50%

35%

30%

30%

18%

39%

Somewhat agree

29%

34%

38%

35%

37%

33%

Neither agree nor disagree

10%

14%

10%

7%

17%

12%

Somewhat disagree

6%

10%

16%

19%

18%

10%

Strongly disagree

4%

5%

5%

8%

10%

5%

14

www.closup.umich.edu


Michigan Public Policy Survey

Previous MPPS reports Improving communication, building trust are seen as keys to fixing relationships between local jurisdictions and the State government (May 2017) Local leaders more likely to support than oppose Michigan’s Emergency Manager law, but strongly favor reforms (February 2017) Local government leaders’ views on drinking water and water supply infrastructure in Michigan communities (November 2016) Michigan local leaders say property tax appeals are common, disagree with ‘dark stores’ assessing (October 2016) Local officials say Michigan’s system of funding local government is broken, and seek State action to fix it (September 2016) Michigan local governments report first declines in fiscal health trend since 2010 (August 2016) Michigan local leaders’ doubts continue regarding the state’s direction (July 2016) Hospital access primary emergency medical concern among many Michigan local officials (July 2016) Firefighting services in Michigan: challenges and approaches among local governments (June 2016) Most local officials are satisfied with law enforcement services, but almost half from largest jurisdictions say their funding is insufficient (April 2016) Local leaders say police-community relations are good throughout Michigan, but those in large cities are concerned about potential civil unrest over police use-of-force (February 2016) Report: Responding to budget surplus vs. deficit: the preferences of Michigan’s local leaders and citizens (December 2015) Michigan’s local leaders concerned about retiree health care costs and their governments’ ability to meet future obligations (October 2015) Fiscal health rated relatively good for most jurisdictions, but improvement slows and decline continues for many (September 2015) Confidence in Michigan’s direction declines among state’s local leaders (August 2015) Michigan local government leaders’ views on private roads (July 2015) Few Michigan jurisdictions have adopted Complete Streets policies, though many see potential benefits (June 2015) Michigan local leaders have positive views on relationships with county road agencies, despite some concerns (May 2015) Michigan local government leaders say transit services are important, but lack of funding discourages their development (April 2015) Michigan local leaders see need for state and local ethics reform (March 2015) Local leaders say Michigan road funding needs major increase, but lack consensus on options that would raise the most revenue (February 2015) Michigan local government leaders’ views on employee pay and benefits (January 2015) Despite increasingly formal financial management, relatively few Michigan local governments have adopted recommended policies (December 2014) Most Michigan local officials are satisfied with their privatized services, but few seek to expand further (November 2014) Michigan local governments finally pass fiscal health tipping point overall, but one in four still report decline (October 2014) Beyond the coast, a tenuous relationship between Michigan local governments and the Great Lakes (September 2014) Confidence in Michigan’s direction holds steady among state’s local leaders (August 2014) Wind power as a community issue in Michigan (July 2014) Fracking as a community issue in Michigan (June 2014) The impact of tax-exempt properties on Michigan local governments (March 2014)

15


The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy Michigan’s local leaders generally support Detroit bankruptcy filing despite some concerns (February 2014) Michigan local governments increasingly pursue placemaking for economic development (January 2014) Views on right-to-work legislation among Michigan’s local government leaders (December 2013) Michigan local governments continue seeking, and receiving, union concessions (October 2013) Michigan local government fiscal health continues gradual improvement, but smallest jurisdictions lagging (September 2013) Local leaders evaluate state policymaker performance and whether Michigan is on the right track (August 2013) Trust in government among Michigan’s local leaders and citizens (July 2013) Citizen engagement in the view of Michigan’s local government leaders (May 2013) Beyond trust in government: government trust in citizens? (March 2013) Local leaders support reforming Michigan’s system of funding local government (January 2013) Local leaders support eliminating Michigan’s Personal Property Tax if funds are replaced, but distrust state follow-through (November 2012) Michigan’s local leaders satisfied with union negotiations (October 2012) Michigan’s local leaders are divided over the state’s emergency manager law (September 2012) Fiscal stress continues for hundreds of Michigan jurisdictions, but conditions trend in positive direction overall (September 2012) Michigan’s local leaders more positive about Governor Snyder’s performance, more optimistic about the state’s direction (July 2012) Data-driven decision-making in Michigan local government (June 2012) State funding incentives increase local collaboration, but also raise concerns (March 2012) Local officials react to state policy innovation tying revenue sharing to dashboards and incentive funding (January 2012) MPPS finds fiscal health continues to decline across the state, though some negative trends eased in 2011 (October 2011) Public sector unions in Michigan: their presence and impact according to local government leaders (August 2011) Despite increased approval of state government performance, Michigan’s local leaders are concerned about the state’s direction (August 2011) Local government and environmental leadership: views of Michigan’s local leaders (July 2011) Local leaders are mostly positive about intergovernmental cooperation and look to expand efforts (March 2011) Local government leaders say most employees are not overpaid, though some benefits may be too generous (February 2011) Local government leaders say economic gardening can help grow their economies (November 2010) Local governments struggle to cope with fiscal, service, and staffing pressures (August 2010) Michigan local governments actively promote U.S. Census participation (August 2010) Fiscal stimulus package mostly ineffective for local economies (May 2010) Fall 2009 key findings report: educational, economic, and workforce development issues at the local level (April 2010) Local government officials give low marks to the performance of state officials and report low trust in Lansing (March 2010) Local government fiscal and economic development issues (October 2009)

All MPPS reports are available online at: http://closup.umich.edu/mpps.php

16

www.closup.umich.edu


University of Michigan Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy Joan and Sanford Weill Hall 735 S. State Street, Suite 5310 Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3091

Regents of the University of Michigan The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP), housed at the University of Michiganâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, conducts and supports applied policy research designed to inform state, local, and urban policy issues. Through integrated research, teaching, and outreach involving academic researchers, students, policymakers and practitioners, CLOSUP seeks to foster understanding of todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s state and local policy problems, and to find effective solutions to those problems. web: www.closup.umich.edu email: closup@umich.edu twitter: @closup phone: 734-647-4091

Michael J. Behm

Grand Blanc

Mark J. Bernstein

Ann Arbor

Laurence B. Deitch

Bloomfield Hills

Shauna Ryder Diggs

Grosse Pointe Denise Ilitch

Bingham Farms Andrea Fischer Newman

Ann Arbor

Andrew C. Richner

Grosse Pointe Park

Katherine E. White

Ann Arbor

Mark S. Schlissel

(ex officio)

MI local leaders want citizens to play larger role in policymaking, but report declining engagement  

This report presents Michigan local government leaders’ assessments of issues related to citizen engagement with their local governments a...

MI local leaders want citizens to play larger role in policymaking, but report declining engagement  

This report presents Michigan local government leaders’ assessments of issues related to citizen engagement with their local governments a...

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