Carnegie Mellon University

Program for Deliberative Democracy

Department of Philosophy

Good Government Forum (Allegheny County, PA)

A comprehensive initiative to promote public discussion and feedback about municipal services in Allegheny County is being launched as the biggest-ever opinion-gathering exercise around local government improvement.

The initiative, called Allegheny Forum, has been developed by The Pittsburgh Foundation, with support from funding partners and will provide public officials with feedback and ideas from citizens on improved efficiencies and cost-effectiveness among Allegheny County’s 130 local municipalities, including the City of Pittsburgh.

“Strong, effective local government is essential to the overall quality of life for our community,” said Grant Oliphant, President and CEO of The Pittsburgh Foundation, who announced the organization’s initiative. “Our goal is to canvass a full and diverse spectrum of public opinion and provide those opinions and ideas to help inform future decision-making of public officials.”

A major part of the initiative was a day- long citizen deliberation on local government improvement held on September 25, 2010 with over 180 citizens randomly selected from communities across Allegheny County. 

“This is an historic opportunity for our community to register its opinions and ideas and to give voice to what they would like to see happen in local government,” said Jane Downing, Senior Program Officer. “Financial pressures are forcing decisions about how to do more with less and the public has a vital role to play in exploring every possible opportunity to reduce costs, improve services and seek new and different ways of managing government.”