Access Local Government Brings Information Age to Municipal Officials

Article excerpt

More than 150 local officials have joined Access Local Government (ALG), NLC's new on-line information service which was unveiled at the Congress of Cities in December. Included among the active ALG on-line users are 25 state municipal leagues.

Access Local Government, a state-of-the-art, on-line information resource for local officials, offers electronic mail, message boards, on-line conferencing, and libraries with up-to-date information on local issues. The message boards have proven to be a particularly popular tool as subscribers post questions about local issues or concerns, share ideas about effective strategies, or simply network with each other on-line. The recently-enacted telecommunications law has been a frequent on-line topic as local officials raise questions about the potential impact and about the resources they will need to respond to the law.

Current information about the law has also been posted in a corresponding library on telecommunications--a library that will be a key spot for keeping local officials informed about the law as its implications are analyzed during the coming weeks and months.

"I'm pleased with the initial response to Access Local Government," said Executive Director Don Borut. "The idea exchange on the message boards has been interesting to watch. The potential for productive on-line networking once the subscriber base grows is even more exciting."

NLC First Vice President Mark Schwartz, councilmember from Oklahoma City, who recently joined Access Local Government, said the quick connection with NLC staff has been valuable. "As we prepare for the upcoming Congressional City Conference, I've been able to ask questions, provide information about my travel plans, and coordinate details for the conference quickly and easily," Schwartz said. "I'm pleased that NLC has taken this important step, and I encourage other elected officials to seize the opportunity offered by this unique resource."

Many of the state municipal leagues, who were actively involved in shaping the service, have also become active ALG users. Michigan Municipal League Director George Goodman said he hopes to use the service both to strengthen the daily connection between the league and the NLC staff on current issues and to establish an electronic connection with cities in Michigan. …