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Redefining Government Structures

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Candi Choi
March 29, 2024

Thinking outside the confines of government can help to alleviate concerns that are critical to developing strong community relationships. Gallup reports that public trust in government has declined nationwide. People are frequently obliged to change their everyday habits in order to comply with government structures. Imagine if government organizations tailored their everyday routines to the convenience of the people. 

This can be done by mobilizing government into communities. Libraries and shopping malls have found their placement central to most every locality and even residential areas across the country. These entities offer locations where people easily access resources, services and information. Consider services available near these centers by even the most rigid government entities, such as the judicial system.

Government entities have long used technology funds to offer new ways of bringing the community into the perimeters of government. As technology continues to advance and people’s ways of doing business evolve, governments must develop ways to make their services more accessible to the public. Allocations for technology have helped lessen the difficulties of making government structures more adaptable, and courts are no exception.

For example, by merging the library model with modern technology, a mobile circuit court clerk service center has become population-adaptable. Seals on Wheels, an initiative in Prince William County, Virginia, mobilizes into library parking lots and community events. A mobile government facility can provide services and information necessary within the reach of the community.

It creates an opportunity for government services to be both proactive and reactive because of the ability to mobilize. Meeting people when and where they are reduces some issues that are frequently encountered at government buildings, like parking, transit and accessibility. Governments mobilized into the community can tackle these issues before people begin their everyday routine.

In post-emergency scenarios, the provision of government services is critical for residents to protect their fundamental constitutional rights. Following the wildfires in Hawaii, numerous locals were concerned about the loss of their property rights. Court services, as the primary example, are timely in providing records of property, marriages and probate-estate information. Being within reach in this reactive setting can help improve people’s well-being and sense of security.

Given the current economic condition, consumers prioritize convenience, time and money when seeking government services. The removal of these restraints can have long-term effects on the community. Being accessible at the lowest possible cost to the population can boost customer satisfaction and the advancement of good governance in the community.

Governments can bridge gaps by developing government processes and structures that are adaptable to the needs of the population. Community participation is strengthened in these settings because the location provides a comfortable space for discourse while removing the constraints imposed by rigid structures on the public. Furthermore, facilitating services within the community allows for proactive and reactive government, as needed. While not all government agencies are able to reach out to the public in this manner, flexibility can offer a fresh approach to rebuilding public confidence in the government.

Author: Candi Choi holds an MPA from Virginia Tech with specialization in local government management. She has experience with real estate, local budgeting,  public policy and affairs. Her contact email is [email protected].

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