Center for Local Governments: Connecting, Collaborating and Creating Solutions
History of the Center
The Center for Local Governments is a joint venture of Western Kentucky University and the Barren River Area Development Agency, which was established in 1968 and offers regional planning, administrative and technical support to rural communities in a ten county region of southwest Kentucky. The Center for Local Governments was formally created in 1988, although the relationship between WKU and the BRADD was established years earlier through the collaborative efforts of the late Dr. Wayne L. Hoffman, Head of the Geography and Geology Department, and Jack Eversole, then BRADD Executive Director. Now, the Center is housed in the Political Science Department of WKU and is directed by Dr. Victoria Gordon.
Goals of the Center
* To provide a mutually beneficial relationship of applied research and practical assistance to meet the needs of local governments with the expertise of WKU faculty.
* To provide an opportunity for students to gain experience from working directly with local public officials.
* To provide for better mutual understanding of the needs of both the University and local governments through collaborative efforts toward the pursuit of efficiency in service provision to citizens.
Benefits of Partnerships
* A first point of contact to coordinate local governments and university resources.
* Practical research opportunities for WKU faculty in a variety of disciplines.
* Expert assistance for community leaders with activities including training and development, strategic planning, grant proposals, assistance, and analyses.
* Network for the provision of qualified students from a variety of academic disciplines to assist city/county governments through internships.
Services Provided by the Center
* Technical Assistance
* Grant Research and Proposal Preparations
* Educational Programs
* Training/Workshops for Elected Officials and Governmental Employees
* Applied Research and Analysis on Local Issues
* Human Resource Management Assistance
* Budget and Finance Assistance
For example, in 2007, the Center for Local Governments prepared a wage and benefit survey for the Owensboro Economic Development Corporation that surveyed manufacturing firms in the Greater Owensboro area. The results were compared to a previous study conducted in 2002. The Center for Local Governments has conducted several small studies for the City of Bowling Green on topics relevant to local administration. When possible graduate students are utilized in these projects to give the students experience in learning about real world issues.
Recent and Upcoming Events
In partnership with BRADD and the Office of Continuing Education at WKU, the Center for Local Governments provides training opportunities for local government officials on the topic of grant proposal preparation and administration. Interested persons should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout the course a variety of topics are covered, which include:
Grants Research-What is really going on in the current funding environment? How do we find funding sources? What are the differences between public and private sources of funding? Once we find a funding source, how do we get our foot in the door?
Building Partnerships-What are the real secrets to networking? How can we make our proposal more appealing through the use of partnerships?
Professional and Technical Writing-How do we tell our story in a way that will appeal to the reviewers? How do we get through writer's block? Who cares about typos?
Proposal Development-Dissecting the RFP. What do they really want? Is my proposal organized logically and does it meet the requirements set forth by the funding agency?
Budget Development-What do all of these terms mean- overhead, indirect costs, direct costs, hard match, soft match, in-kind contributions?
Evaluation- Can we really do what we say we are going to do? Is our organization capable of carrying out what it proposes?
Ethical considerations in the pursuit of grants.
Grant Administration-We got the funding! Now what do we do?
The Center for Local Governments, along with the Lincoln Trail Area Development District, sponsor Planning and Zoning workshops in Elizabethtown, featuring guest speakers on a number of topics. These workshops qualify for HB55 credit for attendees.
The Center for Local Governments, along with the BRADD, sponsor Planning and Zoning workshops in Bowling Green, featuring guest speakers on a number of topics. These workshops qualify for HB55 credit for attendees.
Other Projects Include
- External Wage/Salary Survey
- Customer Satisfaction Survey Sloan Convention Center
- Customer Satisfaction Survey PW, HCD
- Customer Satisfaction Survey Code Enforcement
- Customer Satisfaction Survey Business License
Dr. Victoria Gordon, Center Director
Department of Political Science
Grise Hall #306
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Boulevard #11060
Bowling Green, KY 42101
Dr. Victoria Gordon is an associate professor in the Political Science Department and serves as director of the Center for Local Governments at Western Kentucky University. Dr. Gordon received her Doctor of Public Administration degree in 2004 from the University of Illinois- Springfield. Her research interests include regional economic development and human resource management.