An inquiry of citizen participation in local governance

Thesis (M.P.P.A., Public Policy and Administration)--California State University, Sacramento, 2020.

Over 40 years ago, Sacramento County implemented what are now known as Community Planning Advisory Councils (CPACs) where citizens would have a means to keep abreast of local projects, be a sounding board for County staff and project managers, and ultimately provide input to future hearing bodies. CPACs have gone through several structural transformations since their inception; however, the current CPAC model of citizen participation in Sacramento County is proving to be inefficient and CPACs are acting out of their intended scope as community sounding boards. This thesis seeks to discover how Sacramento County can best implement the legally mandated citizen participatory process in local governance. I used a criteria alternatives matrix (CAM) analysis as well as interviews with members of all key stakeholder groups to evaluate three alternatives. Results from my CAM analysis found bolstering education of CPACs on County processes to be the best alternative. I conclude the thesis by comparing my alternative to a County staff proposal that was submitted to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors at the same time this thesis was written.