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Local Government Program

Public Policy and Community Conflict Management

What is it?

Public issues are matters of widespread concern in the community. They are resolved by group decision processes that create local public policy. We often assume the responsibility for resolving public issues is in the domain of government. But, as society becomes more complex and we acknowledge the limits of what government can achieve, we recognize the need for public and private interests to work together. Involving diverse interests in public issues, however, can often heighten local conflict and make the resolution of community issues more difficult.

How can this tool be used?

Keeping on Track: Strategies for Dealing with Controversial Public Policy is a series of publications for local officials and community leaders that deals with managing controversial public policy. The issues vary, but all too often the problem is the same. Whether it's corporate farming, school bond issues, or new development proposals, communities often get bogged down in controversy and nothing seems to get done. This series of publications presents strategies local leaders can use to navigate the minefield of controversial public policy so the community can get the issue resolved and keep moving forward.

What does it take to make this happen?

The publications are free here on the OLG Website. The entire series includes:

  1. Leadership in the Public Arena
  2. Informing the Public Debate: Public Education Strategies
  3. Meaningful Input to Public Policy: Citizen Participation Strategies
  4. The Public Relations of Public Policy
  5. Successful Negotiating Skills
  6. Resolving Multi-party Disputes

Individually or together, these resources are intended to help local officials and others develop greater leadership capacity.

Any local official and those who support Kansas local government is welcome to call for consultation and strategy development related to public issues.

How can I find out more?


Rebecca Bishop, Local Government/Public Finance Specialist
Office of Local Government
Department of Agricultural Economics

John Leatherman, Professor and Director
Office of Local Government
Department of Agricultural Economics