Local Officials Meet With DOE To Initiate
Sponsored by the Joint Center for Sustainable Communities, a dozen local officials met with Denver regional Federal Department of Energy staff March 14-15 on how to better meet the needs of local communities in promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. The Joint Center is a collaborative partnership between the United States Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties to promote multi-jurisdictional cooperation. Bill Becker, Director of DOE’s Denver Regional Support Office, said that DOE can help cities and counties address most of the points in A New Agenda for America’s Cities, the ten-point plan listing the goals of communities in the next presidential season.
While a meeting of local officials might in many ways seem ordinary, its methods and outcomes are indeed notable. It is not often that a federal agency asks for and is willing to implement such candid feedback from its customers especially when those customers are local governments. Normally the federal agencies work through a middleman to communicate with local governments – the states. By convening a multi-jurisdictional, non-partisan group of practitioners to solicit new ideas, DOE hopes to make its services more user-friendly and value added to local governments.
Stephanie Foote, Deputy Mayor of the City of Denver, kicked off the meeting saying “Working together is key to addressing our regional energy challenges. Not only must we work together at the grassroots level, but we need to engage our neighboring cities and counties, the state and federal governments and the private sector.”
The Joint Center will sponsor another Communities of the Future Forum in Chicago June 26-27. By incorporating feedback from the Denver and Chicago meetings, the Joint Center will help DOE formulate a plan to better work with local governments and will test the new approaches in several pilot cities.
This Communities of the Future Forum was directly designed to make governments more responsive to local priorities and metro economies and to modernize infrastructure of the United States while protecting our environment for future generations. Both of these subjects are addressed by the Action Plan of the Conference of Mayors as Points 1 and 10. (For more information on the New Agenda see USCM’s website at www.usmayors.org .)