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Intergovernmental Consensus

Local Government Academy provides technical assistance to improve and sustain intergovernmental cooperation projects for municipalities in southwestern Pennsylvania at no or low-cost for eligible projects.

Pennsylvania local governments have the power to work together to strengthen their ability to provide public service. Examples of success, from multi-municipal comprehensive plans to regional police departments to joint purchasing, can be found throughout southwestern Pennsylvania.

This remarkable flexibility to create local intergovernmental solutions exists even with the narrow, and sometimes specific, definitions of municipal power outlined in the codes defining boroughs, cities, township and other political subdivisions. A complete description of the law is found in Title 53 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (Act 180 of 1972), were it clearly states that two or more “local governments” may “jointly cooperate in the exercise or in the performance of their respective governmental functions, powers or responsibilities.”

However, even with this flexibility, cooperative projects, at times, struggle to achieve success. Why?

Sometimes, a fragmented political structure is cited as an obstacle to overcome; or a failure to resolve past disputes is believed to be a barrier to future collaboration. These situations can be factors. But, most times, it’s more complicated than that. The kinds of complex issues our local communities face evoke divergent viewpoints on how to respond and proceed. Regardless of the causes, local officials and the public at-large are often frustrated when opportunities to work together are missed.

Local Government Academy’s Intergovernmental Consensus and Conflict Resolution Program can make the difference in keeping joint government projects moving in the right direction.

If your municipality is initiating an intergovernmental cooperation endeavor and you want to take proactive steps to ensure its success, or if you’re already involved in an intergovernmental project that is stuck or heading towards gridlock because of a dispute, your should contact Local Government Academy for assistance.

Local Government Academy can provide independent assistance to communities to:

  • Develop lasting intergovernmental cooperation agreements
  • Facilitate consensus, provide dispute resolution and conflict management services
  • Provide professional conflict resolution services at low or no-cost for eligible projects

Local Government Academy’s Intergovernmental Consensus and Conflict Resolution Program can provide your project with a variety of forms of assistance, ranging from facilitation to dispute resolution. The Academy has done the legwork finding qualified consultants and funding for eligible projects. Examples of project that will receive first priority for services at low or no-cost include:

  • Projects involving multi-municipal planning efforts directly impacting the region’s ability to attract and retain private sector investments
  • Programs reducing the overall cost of public services
  • Programs improving the delivery of vital public services

Most municipalities will be responsible for approximately 10 percent of the service cost.

Getting Started
For more information about the Intergovernmental Consensus and Conflict Resolution Program and to discuss your local government’s interest in utilizing qualified and independent facilitators and conflict resolution professionals, please contact Local Government Academy Executive Director Susan Hockenberry at 412-586-5659.  You can also download the printable brochure by clicking here.

The Intergovernmental Consensus and Conflict Resolution Program is made possible through the generous support of Allegheny County, The Pittsburgh Foundation and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.