Getting a Start on Citizen and Stakeholder Participation: An Overview for Agency Staff
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It would be hard to advance the MPCA's mission of helping Minnesotans protect their environment without using effective methods for getting their input on those issues that concern them. When done well public participation can provide important information as well as greatly enhance the value of a project to Minnesotans.
Effectively involving Minnesotans in government is tough stuff, though—it's really more of an art than a science. Nonetheless, there are some things that can be learned about the range of options available and what aspects of particular methods might make them candidates for your project.
The purpose of this document is to encourage the public-participation planning stage of a project to be a thoughtful process. It is by no means intended as a prescriptive guide. Included is an overview of the range of processes and a mechanism for comparing the pluses and minuses of several of the more common processes. It's intended that this remain a "living document"—that it change as we learn more and gain more experience.