The Local Government Academy has created a program specifically designed to make intergovernmental cooperation as easy and hassle-free as possible. Called the Intergovernmental Consensus and Conflict Resolution Program, it provides assistance in forming agreements, creating conflict resolution processes to include in agreements, and also in-person facilitation for resolving conflicts as they occur.
Conflict? What Conflict?
When designing the ICCRP, we made sure to include both Consensus and Conflict Resolution in the title. Sometimes the word “conflict” troubles people. They don’t want to shine a spotlight on what might be seen as failures or shortcomings. However, the reality and purpose of our governing process is to provide a forum to handle conflict. Recognizing that conflict is inherent in governing, and then working proactively to handle it, leads to more functional operations.
Dealing with unique concerns and opportunities.
Learning about how comparable municipalities form intergovernmental agreements is informative and useful. However, successful intergovernmental endeavors cannot rely only on templates of agreements. Collecting samples and recommended templates are the start of your intergovernmental agreement forming process, not the conclusion. In addition to learning from others, effectively dealing with unique issues and concerns of the participants in your intergovernmental cooperation endeavor and managing the process through successful fruition are the keys to intergovernmental success. The ICCRP helps to deal with each municipality’s unique concerns and builds on that awareness to form an agreement that is viable now and includes the processes needed for handling future unknown disputes.
Sustaining the Effort
Just like the Founders included in the US Constitution processes for future modification, good intergovernmental cooperation agreements must have systems in place to keep them agile and meaningful in the future. Provisions for handling future, unknown potential disputes should be a part of that, but most municipalities lack the experience or expertise in dispute resolution to formulate those provisions on their own. The ICCRP overcomes that by providing a team of professionals to assist communities in coming up with a process that is agreeable now and useful in the future.
When to Call
Intergovernmental cooperation exists on a continuum. Sometimes municipalities have a strong track record for working together. Other times, they have a great history of mutual aid but can't always build on that because their citizens may not fully understand the possibilities of greater intergovernmental cooperation. When you feel there is a potential to benefit the community through an intergovernmental idea, but don't know how to get it off the ground, contact LGA. If you have an intergovernmental cooperation projected started and are concerned that it is losing momentum or are struggling to get to an agreement, contact LGA. If you are in an intergovernmental cooperation or shared service arrangement and a dispute has arisen, contact LGA. The ICCRP includes a group of professional mediators, some of whom are also trained as lawyers, here to assist. Their fees will be covered almost entirely by grant money that LGA has already procured. Municipalities who participate in the program will only be responsible for around 10% of the cost.
Intern, LGA Intergovernmental Consensus & Conflict Resolution Program