Steve Schneider is the Executive Director of the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission and former town manager of Einfield, N.H. He brings a grounded perspective to municipal management,…
What is this place?
OPENCouncil is a community and a collection of tools to empower engaged citizens and elected officials in rural municipalities.
There are over ten thousand municipalities across the U.S. Most of them are small towns with limited resources. Most of them are facing the same problems. There are two barriers to knowledge that hamper effectiveness in rural government. The first is the barrier of institutional knowledge. The memory of historical decisions and reasoning is short and biased in most small towns. Short election cycles and high attrition mean that over the span of just a few years, a town government can turn over almost entirely. Of course, the opposite is true and bias against change can be a force to be reckoned with.
The second knowledge barrier is that which crosses from town to town. There are many towns and small cities across the country that have similar demographics and make-ups that are facing similar decisions. If an elected official or group of citizens is tackling a problem somewhere, chances are good that someone else has tackled a similar problem elsewhere and has valuable experience to share.
The Document Search allows you to instantly search the text of town minutes and ordinances from any device. This allows you to fact check in the moment, at meetings.
Check out the Community. It’s a place to ask questions and share ideas on governance and municipal management in small communities that anyone can join. You’re not alone, find others who are working on similar issues.