New Guide Available on the Role of Local Elected Officials in Economic Development

Article excerpt

NLC's Center for Research and Innovation has published a new guide on "The Role of Local Elected Officials in Economic Development: 10 Things You Should Know." NLC believes that elected officials can and should actively participate in and lead long-term development strategies.

"From the bully pulpit to the design and coordination of public policies, mayors and council members have opportunities every day to effect change and promote a strategic vision of economic growth for their community," notes the new NLC guide.

According NLC's recent State of America's Cities Survey on Jobs and the Economy, three in four city officials (73 percent) report that they are more involved in economic development in light of the recession. However, due to the increasingly complex nature of economic development, local elected officials cite that they often do not have the necessary information to be effective leaders.


The guide identifies fundamental ways elected officials can become more informed and strategic decision makers. Specifically, it discusses the top 10 things elected officials should know about economic development, including:

1. Local economic strengths and weaknesses. A stronger understanding of the community's economic profile will help local officials create a realistic vision and strategies for economic development.

2. The community's place in the broader regional economy. With a firmer grasp of how the community fits into the broader region, local officials are better prepared to work with other jurisdictions to share responsibility for regional economic success.

3. The community's economic development vision and goals. Local elected officials can play a key role in building consensus for a vision and goals that provide clear direction for local economic development.

4. The community's strategy to attain its goals. A strategic approach means linking economic development goals to specific activities, allocating a budget and staff to these activities and evaluating performance based on measurable outcomes. …