Devolution—the Opportunities and the Pitfalls
Governor Brown and others are discussing devolution—the pooling of powers (and hopefully resources) from central government to the regional or local level. Many believe that government closer to the people will be more efficient, effective and accountable as it will be easier to draw a line between efforts and outcomes. The less one is embodied in the community one is elected to serve, the more likely single interests and personal ambition can distract from the original mission. This leads to government spending--addressing symptoms and building bureaucracies-- rather than investing where there will be a return--infrastructure, education, etc. Today many communities are mirror images of the state and federal government—fragmented, symptom focused and competing over scarce resources and credit. Fresno’s evolution has prepared us for devolution.
We have learned a lot over the past decade about the importance of shared values, strategies and a commitment to outcomes. Overcoming the legacy of siloed thinking and funding in the government and nonprofit sectors has become more urgent with the prospect of devolution. The Four Sphere Approach, dubbed the new civic DNA of California, offers a steward’s view of the whole where opportunities to leverage resources become clear and we all share in success. To learn more about how this works, attend a workshop. Our next one is slated for next week. Let us know if you plan to attend or would like to have a presentation for your organization.