March 16th Webinar focuses on Citizen Participation for Budgeting

March 16th Webinar focuses on Citizen Participation for Budgeting

The UNC School of Government will offer a new webinar, “Citizen Participation in Local Government Budgeting” on Wednesday, March 16th, from 1 to 2:30 pm.  The cost is $95 per viewing site, and attendees can register online here.

The session will feature solutions and communication methods developed by local governments in North Carolina to engage citizens in the budgeting process with respect to sharing information, encouraging feedback and building common ground.  The session will also include an overview of the use of new technologies and media, including video, to present budget information to broader citizen audiences.

Click here to register!

Below is a description of the session from the School of Government:

Webinar: Citizen Participation in Local Government Budgeting

March 16, 2011; 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

As a public leader, you have identified some tough cuts that might need to be made to your city or county budget.

  • How do you inform your citizens?
  • How do you think they will react?
  • What can you do to make this process most effective for you and your citizens?

Budget decisions in 2011 will be challenging as local governments face service cuts, increased fees, and other difficult choices. Citizen concern about the effects of increasingly tighter city and county budgets will be high. Informing citizens, listening to them, and having multiple ways to encourage informed opinions will be more important than ever.

This 90-minute webinar will help you:

  1. Inform your citizens about your proposed budget
  2. Run effective community meetings
  3. Learn more about citizen outreach and involvement

Registration: To register online, visit The registration fee is $95, whether the webinar viewed by a group or an individual.

Faculty Coordinator: John Stephens, Associate Professor of Public Administration and Government

For more information: Contact Lisa Sheffield, program manager, at 919.962.3464 or

Berner authors new book on practical use of statistics

Please take a look at the information below about Statistics for Public Administration: Practical Uses for Better Decision Making, a new book written by UNC School of Government’s Dr. Maureen Berner.

ICMA Members can order this book for the discounted price of $39 through the ICMA Bookstore.

This book can also be ordered from the School of Government Bookstore.

From ICMA Press:

“As a public administrator, you need to be able to analyze and evaluate policies, and understand analysis and evaluations done by others. This means having a solid working knowledge of how to apply statistics to the types of data used in local government so that you make good decisions.

Statistics for Public Administration: Practical Uses for Better Decision Making, a completely updated edition of Statistics Unraveled, focuses on demonstrating how statistics can help you do your job better, rather than on a mastery of statistics. The goal of this book is to make you, as a public administrator, an educated consumer of statistical information—and an effective translator of statistical information. You get the tools you need to design an analysis, gather, analyze and interpret data, present results, and make recommendations.

“This book is a hands-on, practical, and easy-to-understand introduction to the basic concepts and methods used to analyze data in local government. Vignettes at the beginning and end of each chapter illustrate the concepts through the dialogue of fictional local government employees as they attempt to identify and solve problems. Packed with tables, charts, figures, and review questions to reinforce the concepts, the author’s conversational tone and casual style will set you at ease and make you forget any math phobia you might have!”

About the Author

Maureen Berner first joined the School of Government in 1998, teaching program evaluation, statistics, and budgeting. Between 2003 and 2005 she directed efforts to provide new outreach activities for local governments based on the UNC model at the University of Northern Iowa. In 2005 she returned to teaching and writing for MPA students and public officials at the School of Government. Berner has been active in research and teaching in both academia and in government, and her publications include a variety of books, textbooks, and journal articles. She worked for four years with the Budget Issues Group at the U.S. General Accounting Office, including a rotation to the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee while serving as a Presidential Management Intern. Berner received an MPP from Georgetown University and PhD in public policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin.

New UNC MPA Capstone Papers – Now Available Online

New UNC MPA Capstone Papers – Now Available Online

Last month, the UNC School of Government MPA Class of 2011 presented their Capstone papers during their annual conference. I had the opportunity to attend this conference and was once again impressed with the professional research, investigation, and analysis provided by these students on a variety of topics pertinent to public administration and local government.

The School of Government has now published these papers online for review and utilization. Several papers focus on issues related to finance and budgeting, as well as other subjects of interest to our membership that include:

Business as Usual or Political Suicide: Property Tax Increases in North Carolina — Lana Hygh

The Food Fight: An Examination of the Prepared Meals and Beverage Tax as a Viable Revenue Generation Source in North Carolina D’Anna Wade

Pension Obligation Bonds: Are States and Localities Behaving Themselves or Do the Feds Need to Get Involved? — Allan Beckmann

The Why’s and How’s of Citizen Satisfaction Surveys: An Examination of the Relationships between Data Use and Achieving Desired Outcomes Among National Citizen Survey Participants — Bo Gattis

Collaboration Incentives: Local Government Experiences with ARRA — Catherine Durham

Managerial Effect: Comparing Forms of Local Government — Terry Waterfield

Municipal PerformanceStat: How is Success Defined? What Factors Contribute to Success? — Jonathan Palmer

The Role of North Carolina County Finance Departments in Emergency Management — Daniel Sargent

Employee Perceptions of Furlough Fairness: The UNC-Chapel Hill Case — Ingrid Rosiuta

Special thanks to Susan Lynch and the UNC School of Government staff for taking care of posting these papers online.

UNC School of Govt workshop offers guidance on delivering difficult budget news to citizens, elected officials

On Thursday, May 20th, from 12 Noon to 1 p.m., the UNC School of Government will host an important webinar for local governments:


What will you say to your citizens, constituents, or the media about upcoming budget cuts or tax increases in your community?

This webinar will help elected officials and public administrators be prepared to communicate about these and other challenges currently facing local governments. Presenter Mark Weaver is a national communications advisor with two decades of communication expertise. He is president of Communications Counsel Inc. and a frequent presenter in the School of Government’s Public Executive Leadership Academy.

Topics will include:

  • Application of communication principles of primacy, inoculation, and cognitive dissonance
  • How public officials can effectively respond to public concerns
  • The role of blogs and other social media
  • Points on public disagreement
  • The changing role of traditional news media outlets

Registration for this webinar can be done online. Cost is $95 per site.

For more information, contact Susan Jensen, (919) 962-0940 or