Communiqué: Senior Mayoral Policy Advisors Convene from America’s Largest Cities

November 3, 2010
Communiqué: Senior Mayoral Policy Advisors Convene from America’s Largest Cities
Mayor Anthony Williams served as a host for the fourth meeting of the Urban Policy Advisory Group

Share Ideas for Driving Urban Innovation and Networked Governance

By Kate Hoagland – Communiqué: Fall 2010, Volume 7

On August 5-7, 2010, the Ash Center, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Professor Anthony Williams hosted the fourth meeting of the Urban Policy Advisory Group (UPAG). Senior mayoral advisors representing 27 of the group’s member cities participated in a thoughtful and candid dialogue centered around the transformative capabilities of networked governance in three distinct areas: leveraging higher education institutions in community development; the role of philanthropy in economic development; and labor partnerships for increased public sector productivity.

The event also included a lunch question and answer session with Laurel Blatchford, chief of staff to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary (and former Innovations Award winner) Shaun Donovan.

The conference’s first panel, “Anchor Institutions and Neighborhood and Workforce Development,” featured panelists SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, Center for Community Partnerships Director Ira Harkavy, and Johns Hopkins University Special Advisor on Economic Development Andrew Frank. They discussed the importance of higher education institutional leadership in order to establish deep and meaningful partnerships with city government.

Creating collaborative networks was also the subject of the second panel, “Philanthropy and Economic Development.” Panelists Teresa Lynch, director of research at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, and Ronald Richard, president of the Cleveland Foundation, discussed how city-foundation partnerships often require a shifting perspective on how issues are presented to potential funders. “Foundations are ‘pull oriented,’” said Lynch. “They like to hear ideas, and if there is one that matches their interests, they will fund it.”

In the concluding panel, “Organized Labor and Municipal Budget Reform,” Andy Stern of the Service Employees International Union, Linda Kaboolian of HKS, and Marcia Calicchia of Cornell University addressed participants’ frustration working with local public sector unions in the current fiscal climate and the difficulty of creating effective productivity agendas. Panelists encouraged city representatives to adopt several overarching best practices to more effectively work with unions.

UPAG was founded in 2007 by Mayor Stephen Goldsmith – now on leave from HKS as New York City’s deputy mayor for operations – to encourage the replication of innovative, high-impact policy ideas in our nation’s 35 largest urban centers. Part of the Project on Municipal Innovation, UPAG is a joint venture of Living Cities, the Ash Center, and the Rockefeller Foundation. In addition to in-person biannual meetings, the group convenes quarterly webinars and provides technical assistance to cohorts of cities focused on specific policy areas such as transit-oriented development and economic growth.