All Press Releases for August 26, 2020

Survey of 386 Local Government Officials & Staff Reveals Scope of COVID-19 Impacts

Results highlight negative impacts on morale, budget but opportunity for innovation


Elle Hempen, The Atlas
[email protected]

Kirsten Wyatt, ELGL
[email protected]

Steve Machesney, SeeClickFix by CivicPlus
[email protected]

SAN DIEGO, CA, August 26, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Today the results of the Local Government Next Normal survey have been released. The survey was distributed to local government officials and staff across the country and 386 responded to provide their perspective on how local government work and public service delivery might look different in the future because of COVID-19.

The survey makes clear that rapid shifts in priorities and concerns about revenue shortfalls have negatively impacted employee morale and operations. However, respondents clearly signaled that local governments are more open to investing in technology and software than before, opening the door for future innovation and efficiencies.

68% of respondents worked for local governments that served populations of less than 100,000 residents, highlighting the particular challenges of small communities which are often underrepresented in public discussions, but representative of most communities across the country. Respondents included mayors and city managers, planners and fire chiefs, communications directors and chief innovation officers. The full report summarizing the results of the survey can be found here:

Topline findings of the survey are included below.

Shifting priorities: Top priorities for local governments in the next 12 months include community engagement (45%), public health (44%), small business support (39%). Priorities that have decreased due to the pandemic include climate change, traffic & congestion, and homelessness.

Budget concerns: 61% identified capital projects budgets were most likely to be significantly impacted by revenue shortfalls.

Managing people: 70% of respondents in larger communities say that planned retirements are being put on hold. 91% of respondents indicated the pandemic has neutrally or negatively impacted employee morale.

Silver linings: 60% of respondents in smaller communities indicate that "new leaders" have been uncovered during the pandemic. 76% said their cities will adopt more software to streamline public services moving forward.

"The findings that showed significant effects on local government employee morale deserve careful attention," said Kirsten Wyatt, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL). "Local governments continue to provide essential services during this uncertain time and remembering how this is affecting employees should be a top priority for local leaders."

"The survey results indicate that local government officials understand that this crisis has created a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leapfrog to more equitable, affordable and sustainable ways to provide resident services, despite budget shortfalls." said Elle Hempen, Co-founder & CEO of The Atlas. "City officials need access to improved virtual resources to ensure this opportunity is not wasted."

"Residents' expectations of the government's use of technology has skyrocketed in recent years. This survey shows that local governments are adopting technology at an accelerated pace in order to keep public services up and running amid the pandemic. We expect this trend to continue." Steve Machesney, Marketing Director, SeeClickFix by CivicPlus

About ELGL
Focused on all levels of local government (from analysts to mayors; librarians to planners; and everyone in between), ELGL's mission is to engage the brightest minds in local government by providing timely and relevant content through podcasts, blogs, webinars, social media and conference gatherings, with the objective of fostering authentic and meaningful connections that are grounded in practices of equity and inclusion.

About The Atlas
The Atlas is a free online community for local government officials & staff to browse city case studies, follow trending local government topics and post questions to colleagues. Since its launch in April 2019, The Atlas has grown from 0 to 2K+ monthly active city members. Its database includes more than 500 member-generated city case studies that cover topics as diverse as scooters, homelessness and green infrastructure. It is a recent graduate of 500 Startups, one of San Francisco's premier tech accelerators.

About SeeClickFix by CivicPlus
SeeClickFix by CivicPlus is an end-to-end 311/citizen request management solution that builds trust by giving citizens a way to speak, officials a way to listen, staff a way to act, and government a way to share results.

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Contact Information

Elle Hempen
The Atlas
San Diego, CA
Voice: 858-217-4415
E-Mail: Email Us Here