Civil Dialogue and Public Trust in Government
Citizens’ trust in government, at all levels, is on a downward trend. Perhaps increased partisanship is to blame; or, maybe the pressure to provide more for less is the culprit. Regardless, a lack of integrity, cooperation and open communication are becoming widespread problems in government. To reverse the downward trend, increasing civility among elected officials, government employees and citizens must be a primary objective. This page shows examples of what to do - and what not to do - to improve civility in your county.
- Presentation recording: Integrity and Civility Management (from February 2015 NACo Legislative Conference)
- In Search of Civility (NACo Resource)
- Beyond Civility: From Public Engagement to Problem Solving (National League of Cities, 2011)
- Promoting Civility at Public Meetings: Concepts (ICMA/Institute for Local Government, 2003)
- Promoting Civility at Public Meetings: Practice (ICMA/Institute for Local Government, 2003)
- The Institute for Civility in Government
- The Civility Center
- Civility in America: Annual Nationwide Survey Reports (Weber Shandwick)
- University Network for Collaborative Governance
- Dr. Forni's Civility Website (Johns Hopkins University)
- Improving Citizen Trust in Local Government: How online tools spur communication, improve transparency and boost accountability (Governing Institute Issue Brief, 2014)
- Reclaiming Civility in the Public Square: 10 Rules That Work, by Dahnke, Spath and Bowling (2007)
- Choosing Civility: The 20-5 Rules of Considerate Conduct, by P.M. Forni (Street Martin's Griffin Press, 2002)
- The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude, by P.M. Forni (Street Martin's Griffin Press, 2009)
- In Search of Civility (National Association of Counties, Research Publication, 2010)
Guidelines for Improving Civility
- The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct (from Choosing Civility, P.M. Forni)
- Ten Commandments of Public Civility (adapted from John C. Gillespie, Esquire, Parker Mccay P.A.)
- Ten Tips to Improve Civility (Allegheny College, 2010)
- The Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation (as transcribed by George Washington)
PowerPoint Presentations from Workshops On Civility(all files PDF)
- The Chair’s Role in Creating a Culture of Civility (Vaughn Upshaw, from Leading Your County Governing Board, 2015)
- Promoting Civility with Council and Your Community (Anna Berger, from South Carolina City and County Managers’ Association, 2011)
- Civility in City Hall (Panel Discussion at ICMA Annual Conference, 2013)
- Civility: The Good, the Bad, and the Costly (Ray Gosack, ICMA Annual Conference, 2014)
Examples of Civility and Incivility
- An example of civility in a public meeting: Clackamas County, Oregon, Board of Commissioners Business Meeting (October 9, 2014)
- Examples of incivility:
Today’s political environment is intensely polarized along partisan lines.
Civility is critical for sustaining the democratic principle that we are all entitled to hold and express our opinions. Read on...
More can be done to bring people into the civic conversation. It's good for governments, communities and our civic process. Read on...
Countering the public's cynicism and mistrust starts with honest, open communication. Read on...