Policy Process

Purpose/Background

On July 7, 2015, City Council adopted a process to define and take action on Policy Positions (PDF)

The City receives numerous requests for policy positions. These can come from other governmental entities, non-profit organizations, special interest groups, citizens, our own Boards and Commissions, or community groups – either directly or through Council members. They can also come from staff of the Colorado Municipal League, National League of Cities, State or Congressional representatives or other governmental entities. The process outlined on the flowchart below includes several decision points that lead to a particular type of Action. The Actions are divided into those that are related to Policy making, and those that are not. Policy-related Actions include ordinances, resolutions, and letters that convey the support (and unified voice) of Council, while Non Policy-Related Actions include Council direction to staff, proclamations, and letters signed by individual Council members.


City Council Infographic View Larger Image Opens in new window

Policy-related Actions

Action
Taken by
Requires
Conveys
Ordinance


City Council


Council majorityOfficial Action of the City and Unified Voice
ResolutionCity CouncilCouncil majorityOfficial Action of the City and Unified Voice
Letter signed by mayor with Council support


City Council


Council majority


Official Action of the City and Unified Voice
Letter signed by city manager with Council support


City Manager


Council majority


Official Action of the City and Unified Voice
Administrative PolicyCity ManagerCity Manager approvalAdministrative policy direction
No Action

N/A

N/A

N/A

Non Policy-related Actions

Action
Taken by
Requires
Conveys
Council Direction to StaffCouncilCouncil majorityDirection by Council
ProclamationMayorFollowing policySupport of mayor
Letter signed by individual Council member(s)Council member(s)Individual support of signatorySupport of individual Council member(s)
Letter signed by city manager or department directorsCity Manager or Department DirectorsCity Manager approvalSupport of City Staff
City Manager Direction to StaffCity Manager or Department DirectorsCity Manager approvalDirection from City Manager
No Action

N/A

N/A

N/A

Policy Process Steps

The first step in the process is to determine if the request is related to City Council goals. If the request is related to Council goals, it is assigned to City staff for further analysis and determination. Some requests do not have policy implications (i.e. the action will not have citywide ramifications) and are either individual requests (such as a letter of support) or are related to operations of the City. These requests may result in a Non Policy-Related Action.

Those requests that do have citywide ramifications make up the Policy Process. The first step is to determine if the policy is City or State/federal. If the policy is citywide, Staff completes a policy analysis and recommends a Policy-related Action. If the policy is State or federal and the City's position is aligned with that of the Colorado Municipal League (CML) or National League of Cities (NLC), Staff will recommend a Policy-Related Action. If the policy is not aligned with CML or NLC, Staff will complete an analysis before making a recommendation for a Policy-Related Action.

The Colorado Municipal League and National League of Cities each have their own processes for adopting policy positions. Staff from the City Manager's Office is appointed each year to the CML Policy Committee, which recommends policy positions to the Executive Board (Mayor Pro-tem Rinderle was elected President of the CML Executive Board at the annual CML conference last week). Staff from the City Manager's Office also serves on one of the NLC Policy Committees. Policy documents from both CML (www.cml.org) and NLC (www.nlc.org) are available on their respective websites. In addition, many of the City's Executive Team staff are members of professional associations that often have a legislative committee recommending policy positions. All of this information factors into the Staff Policy Analysis.

In addition to the above, there are additional components that factor into the Staff Policy Analysis. Depending on the issue, the following are also considerations that become part of the Analysis:

  • Who is requesting the policy and why?
  • Is it a partisan issue?
  • What are the pros and cons of the policy?
  • Who will benefit from the policy?
  • Could the policy adoption have unintended consequences?
  • Has there been a fiscal analysis completed?
  • What is the history of the issue?
  • What position have others adopted? (e.g. CML, NLC, SWCCOG, other governmental entities, recommendations from City boards & commissions, professional associations, etc.)
  • What is the anticipated effect on City operations?
  • Is this an unfunded mandate?
  • Are we the best organization to take a position?
  • Where is the proposed legislation in the process?
  • Is City Action needed to Pass/Kill the legislation?
  • When is the most effective time for Action?
  • Is this a good use of political capital?
  • What is the most effective way to achieve the desired outcome?
  • Is this good policy for the city of Durango?

Applicability to City Council Goals

The Public Policy Process is consistent with City Council goals, specifically Goal 2: Foster Civic Engagement and Democracy by encouraging citizen and youth participation, open and transparent government, and regional leadership.