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Developing policy for NLC is a group effort.

Every year in March one of the most extraordinary processes at the National League of Cities begins at the Congressional City Conference. It is NLC's policy process. For March marks the first time some 1000 elected officials from cities and towns of all sizes will gather, meet, and begin to lay the groundwork for shaping national municipal policies, positions, and priorities for the year.

There they will meet and hear from national leaders. More importantly, they will hear and learn from each other what is happening and what are the most critical local issues affecting America. And at that point, they will have already started to ensure change.

It is an incredible process involving leaders of diverse communities and interests coming together to reach consensus on some of the toughest issues of our times.

The policy process brings community leaders who have been shaped by different experiences, perceptions, and beliefs to develop national public policy together.

Perhaps more than any other activity at NLC, the policy process brings out the very best in community leaders. It is the anvil on which the emotional issues of communities are brought together in a national forum and hammered out. And yet it is a process through which both fast friendships and mutual experience can become the greatest rewards.

Despite the seeming large size of each of NLC's policy committees, they have also proved places where any one member with the ability, interest, and conviction has been able to influence the process--and create change--not just for his or her own city, but for all cities.

The challenging business of developing NLC policy is the charge of five standing committees, each with its own issue area of expertise. The 200 member committees, appointed by the state municipal leagues, will begin the task of establishing priorities at the Congressional Cities Conference, March 7-10 in Washington, D.C.

The five standing policy committees are:

Finance, Administration and Intergovernmental Relations

The FAIR committee must grapple with national and federal issues that may impact the operation, management and governance of municipalities. These issues include national economic policy, general financial assistance programs, liability insurance, intergovernmental relations, municipal bonds and capital finance, municipal management, antitrust issues, citizen participation and civil rights, labor relations and fire policy.

Energy, Environment and Natural Resources

The EENR Committee is charged with responsibility for NLC policy on highly controversial environmental issues of increasing importance to all municipalities. In addition to air quality, water resources, wastewater treatment, energy, waste management, infrastructure and, urban esthetics, the EENR Committee has jurisdiction over noise control and disaster relief.

Community and Economic Development

The CED Committee is responsible for national issues of critical importance to municipalities. In addition to local economic development, community development and community development block grants, housing and neighborhood development, federal building, land use, recreation and parks, and historic preservation, CED Committee members are also actively involved in the debate over foreign trade agreements, tariffs and trade embargoes.

Human Development

The tasks and responsibilities of the HD Committee transcend employment, job training, Social Security and income support programs, to include the broad range of issues arising out of immigration reform and refugees, health care benefits and education excellence, equal employment opportunity, social services, and criminal justice.

The Transportation and Communications

The T&C Committee is responsible for assuring that U.S. markets remain competitive through the development of effective transportation systems and the prudent regulation of cable and telecommunications lines. It is also the T&C Committee which develops national policy to address intrastate public transit, streets and, highways.

Each January, the NLC President appoints Chairpersons of the five Policy Committees who, in turn, select 35 city officials to serve as members of their Steering Committee. Over the coming year, the five Steering Committees will develop the priorities identified in March by the Policy Committees.

The Policy Committees meet again in the late fall at the Congress of Cities to review and act on the policy developed by the Steering Committee.

NLC's policy committee structure works for members

The policy process employed by the National League of Cities is a vehicle which empowers members to set organizational priorities by working through the leadership of five committees organized by topic. They are:

[subsection] Finance, Administration and Intergovernmental Relations (FAIR) [subsection] Energy, Environment and Natural Resources (EENR) [subsection] Transportation and Communications (T&C) [subsection] Human Development (HD) [subsection] Community and Economic Development (CED)

Each Committees is divided into two levels, the policy committee and the steering committee.

A Policy Committee consists of slightly more than 200 people appointed by state municipal leagues at the beginning of each year. The Policy Committee's role is to select priorities for work during the year at the Congressional-City Conference in March and act upon proposals developed by their Steering Committee, in response to these priorities, at the Congress of Cities (held annually near Thanksgiving time).

A Steering Committee is made up of 35 members and is charged with developing proposals in response to the concerns of Policy Committees. The chair of the steering committee is selected by the NLC President and members of the steering committees are appointed by each commmittee chair near the beginning of each year. Each of the Steering Committees meet twice during the year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

Committee Jurisdictions

The Finance, Administration and Intergovernmental Relations (FAIR) committee deals with national economic policy, general financial assistance programs, liability insurance, intergovernmental relations, municipal bonds and capital finance, municipal management, antitrust issues, citizen participation and civil rights, labor relations and fire policy.

The Energy, Environment and Natural Resources (EENR) committee is responsible for policy on air quality, water resources, wastewater treatment, energy, waste management, infrastructure, urban esthetics, nosie control, and disaster relief.

The Community and Economic Development (CED) Committee responsibilities include national policy, local economic development, community development and community development block grants, housing and neighborhood development, federal building, land use, recreation and parks, and historic preservation.

The Human Development (HD) Policy Committee analyzes the development policy on such issues as employment and job training. Social Security and unemployment insurance, income support programs, immigration and refugees, health and education, equal opportunity, social services, and criminal justice.

The Transportation and Communications (T&C) Policy Committee is responsible for policy on public transit, streets and highways, air transportation, railroads and waterways, and cable television and telecommunications.
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Title Annotation:includes related information on National League of Cities' committee structure
Author:Peterson, Doug
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Feb 10, 1992
Words:1057
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