In 2010, and in response to citizen concerns about uncivil behaviors at public meetings, F.O.C.U.S. convened a deliberate group of citizens including experts representing Syracuse University Maxwell School’s Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC), to discuss ways to strengthen our community’s capacity to ensure that respect-based norms for individual and group behavior are known and voluntarily adhered to at public events. In February, 2011 F.O.C.U.S. partnered with CNYSpeaks to co-host a public forum; “Making Public Meetings work for the Public: A Forum on Finding Ways to make Public Hearings, Forums and Meetings More Civil, Constructive and Productive.” With the guidance of trained facilitators from the PARCC program, community members produced recommendations for promoting constructive, productive and civil public meetings.
As a result, we invite you to check out PARCC’s new Public Engagement Toolbox, a collection of links to reliable, research-based sources of information for public officials charged with holding meetings to involve the public in decisions. Created under the direction of Prof. Tina Nabatchi, this website offers step-by-step guidance on engaging with communities and constituents effectively.