Message from Kathy Nyland, Director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods:
On Monday, September 26, Mayor Murray presented his 2017-2018 Proposed Budget to the Seattle City Council. His proposal includes legislation that addresses equitable outreach and engagement and outlines a new citywide framework for community involvement to be led by the Department of Neighborhoods (DON).
The proposed legislation:
- Advances a citywide approach to outreach and engagement that prioritizes equity and recognizes barriers to participation;
- Demonstrates the City’s commitment to implementing equitable and inclusive community involvement strategies across all City Departments;
- Directs City departments to develop well designed, responsive, and culturally relevant public involvement plans; and
- Creates a Community Involvement Commission to advise on City plans, policies, strategies, and community grant funding processes and make recommendations that advance equitable public engagement and civic participation.
This legislation is now available on our Engage Seattle webpage or by clicking the links below:
- Proposed Ordinance on Public Outreach & Engagement
- Proposed Resolution on Community Involvement Principles
Impact on community groups:
Many of you have asked what the legislation means for the future of the District Council system. Let me be clear: the legislation does not dissolve or disband District Councils or any other community groups. It doesn’t replace face-to-face meetings or prohibit participation by any person or group – to the contrary, it helps create more opportunities for dynamic community engagement. As Seattle continues to grow and change, the City must continually revisit and expand its public engagement efforts to encourage broad participation across all demographic groups.
In addition to the legislation, DON has also identified and developed a strategy for implementing a suite of initiatives and tools designed to make it easier for individuals and community groups to participate in the civic life of our city. This work plan was crafted in partnership with other City departments and informed by responses to DON’s ongoing Engage Seattle survey effort.
Since launching Engage Seattle in August 2016, DON has collected over 3,500 responses and discussed the effort with community members at more than 30 local events. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to make your voice heard by filling out the survey.
Going forward, you can depend on DON to:
- Focus on more access and more opportunity. We will broaden our reach and work with many groups, knowing that no one speaks for all. Everyone has a voice, and it is our job to listen.
- Implement a broad range of new initiatives and tools to encourage greater and more diverse participation.
- Work with city departments to ensure their outreach and engagement work is equitable and transparent through consultation, collaboration, and tools to assist in their work.
We hope you will join us as we continue this important conversation.