December 2016


President Obama Establishes Community Solutions Council

traffic-night.jpgOn November 16, President Obama signed an executive order establishing a Community Solutions Council in an effort to improve the way the federal government works with cities, counties and communities across the nation. The council aims to provide a foundation for federal agencies to strengthen partnerships with communities and enhance coordination across the federal government to more effectively deliver assistance.

Local leaders, including county officials, have informed Congress over the years of the need for a federal partner that is more effective, responsive and inclusive in addressing the needs and challenges of local communities. While the policies and programs established by the federal government are intended to guide local officials and coordinate efforts, local leaders are often left on their own to find federal resources and implement costly programs. This executive order attempts to respond to these calls by moving from a one-size-fits-all approach toward a bottom-up approach.

The Community Solutions Council will include leadership from agencies, departments and offices across the federal government and the White House charged with developing and implementing policy that puts local priorities first, highlights successful solutions based on best practices and streamlines federal support for communities. Further, the council will be directed to engage with representatives and leaders of local organizations, businesses and communities to expand and improve partnerships.

Counties are responsible for supporting and maintaining public infrastructure, transportation and economic development assets, providing justice, law enforcement and public safety services and protecting the public’s health and well-being. Because of our role as an essential component of the federal-state-local intergovernmental partnership, counties support strengthening communication and collaboration with the federal government to support local plans and visions that will benefit their residents.

Executive orders carry over into a new presidency, but can be withdrawn by a future president. Executive orders may also be overturned by either the U.S. Supreme Court or Congress.

The Executive Order builds on the last seven years of work done by Federal leaders—many working behind the scenes--and the successful efforts of the Community Solutions Task Force (Task Force) launched in 2015.  The Task Force worked to solidify progress made beginning with budget guidance issued in February 2009 to develop a customized Federal approach to working with cities and towns. 

The Federal programs launched since then—from Strong Cities, Strong Communities to the Partnership for Sustainable Communities and beyond— have revealed ways the Federal Government can work better with local places to drive desired outcomes.

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