A Texas city turns to its residents for answers

Name: Jackson Daly

Title: Assistant to the City Manager

City: Georgetown, Texas

Working out of the city manager’s office, Jackson Daly is used to jumping into a wide range of projects, from responding to resident complaints to managing city communications. But before last year, he’d never done anything quite like overseeing Georgetown’s entry in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge, which went on to win a $1 million prize. While the city had a great idea — to become the first energy-independent community in the country — it didn’t have a winning strategy until it engaged residents in a prototype of the plan. The prototype uncovered people’s strong interest in the reserve power the proposed grid could provide — especially helpful after a Texas thunderstorm — and the city’s plan was adapted to better meet that need. “We’re typically cautious about sharing a half-baked idea with the community,” Daly said. “But the public comment we received helped us pivot the idea and communications strategy around it.” Now, Daly is bringing this citizen-driven approach to other initiatives, such as an update to the city’s comprehensive plan. Daly’s team coordinated an open dialogue between the city council and more than 1,500 residents about their vision for the city’s future. They then analyzed this data, and are going back to the public with a synthesized list of goals. “This iterative approach helping build consensus around long-range planning for the city,” he said. “We want to be candid with the community and reflect how we’re changing things based on public input.”

“Involving the public early, and showing them how their input is affecting the outcome of a project, will help make community buy-in higher than trying to execute projects on your own.”

Celebrating public sector progress and innovation in cities around the world. Run by @BloombergDotOrg’s Government Innovation program. bloombergcities.org

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store