By Clodagh Bastian

– What does citizen engagement mean? What forms does it take? How can it be inclusive and responsive? What roles do city council, staff and citizens play? Should information flow be primarily city-driven or two/multi-directional? Are all topics suitable for engagement?

CAC Chairs sit in on task force discussion.

These are among the questions Raleigh’s newly appointed Citizen Engagement Task Force is grappling with. Formed to investigate what engagement means in a twenty-first century, in-flux and growing Raleigh; the group is taking a fresh look at what citizen-city discourse should encompass.

The Citizen Engagement Task Force is comprised of nine members, each selected by individual city councilors and the mayor. Their directive from council is to determine the best structure for citizen engagement and receiving citizen feedback in Raleigh. The group is to research best approaches to citizen engagement, review the strengths and weaknesses of the current Citizen Advisory Council (CAC) system, identify possible new structures, their governance, relationship to staff, operating procedures and funding.

The task force held its fifth meeting last week. Originally, a total of eight meetings were planned before presenting recommendations to council, but it appears the scope of work will make that deadline difficult.

SouthWestRaleigh will feature a series of articles on this citizen engagement process. Look for a report on the Citizen Advisory Councils, one of the city’s primary tools to connect with citizen groups to date. Also, we’ll share thoughts from task force members, staff, and city councilors and updates on the task force’s progress. Stay tuned!

Task force members and facilitator.

All Citizen Engagement Task Force meetings are open to the public. Meetings are held in room 305 of the Raleigh Municipal Building. Upcoming meeting dates and times are February 6, 6PM; February 16, 2PM; February 23, 2PM; February 28, 4PM.