Thursday, January 21, 2016
New Menino Survey of Mayors Reveals Top Priorities For Cities Across The Country (Citi)
The U.S. Conference of Mayors in partnership with The Boston University Initiative on Cities, with the support of Citi, today released the 2015 Menino Survey of Mayors, which details the most pressing needs and policy priorities of mayors in cities across the country. America's mayors are on the front lines of promoting prosperous and safe communities, with aging urban infrastructure, policing, municipal finance, and their relationships with constituents, other cities and higher levels of government as top concerns. The Menino Survey of Mayors, the only nationally representative survey of American mayors, sheds light on these areas and more.
Released during the Conference's 84th Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with the 2016 Mayors Compact for a Better America, the survey – named in honor of the late Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston – also underscored the mayors' collective call for the presidential candidates and Congress to focus on issues of importance to cities and their metropolitan areas, urging national leaders to invest in and help protect communities.
Notably, mayors shared common perspectives, despite city size and location or their party affiliation. Mayors cited the need to fix crumbling roads, grow mass transit, and repair water infrastructure, as well as a desire to improve pedestrian and bike infrastructure while raising concerns about receiving too little financial support from federal and state government. On the issue of policing, mayors overwhelmingly supported efforts such as body cameras, civilian review boards, and data-driven evaluation.
"While the findings of this study are revealing, they are not surprising," said USCM CEO & Executive Director Tom Cochran. "The fact that crumbling infrastructure and policing reforms top the list of priorities only underscores that the fact that mayors are less focused on ideology, and are more interested in getting things done. Mayors know the needs of their residents and they are committed to responding to those needs."
The Menino Survey of Mayors sought to gain insight into the specific needs of mayors within a broad spectrum of mayoral challenges and contemporary realities. The researchers interviewed mayors in person at the 83rd Annual Conference of Mayors in San Francisco, and over the phone or by email in the months that followed. The survey was made possible by support from Citi.
"Mayors are innovators, collaborators, and problem solvers by nature, often taking action when other levels of government cannot. The BU Initiative on Cities was co-founded by one of America's greatest mayors, Tom Menino, and we have a profound respect for the job mayors do every day," said Graham Wilson, Director of the BU Initiative on Cities. "We hope that the Menino Survey shines a light on their leadership and helps mayors communicate the needs, challenges, and achievements of cities today."
Significantly, the Survey reveals that mayors often turn to each other for inspiration and help in tackling their challenges. As the Survey shows, "Mayors draw policy ideas from a wide array of cities, with New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Denver, Austin, Salt Lake City and Boston garnering an especially high number of mentions… and the list of responses included a range of cities with a variety of traits. The prominence of the city may matter less than their reputation for policy innovation as the majority of mayors said they look to cities that are leaders in tackling specific challenges that mayors are facing at home."
"The findings of this survey illustrate the importance and appeal of The U.S. Conference of Mayors as an organization," said USCM President Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. "The Conference provides mayors an arena for like-minds with shared challenges to convene, exchange ideas and debate policy solutions. The data shared here is invaluable and helps us to advance our policy goals to uplift working families who live in our cities and metropolitan areas."
"The Menino Survey was a great opportunity to bring together mayors from across the country to hear directly from them what they see as the top priorities facing their cities. From aging infrastructure and the need for quality affordable housing to crime prevention and budget constraints, mayors face a common set of challenges that require drawing upon the best of the public and private sectors," said Ed Skyler, Citi's Head of Global Public Affairs and a former New York City deputy mayor. "The survey reveals the deep frustration among mayors, who feel they are ultimately responsible for fixing what is broken but aren't getting the support they need from the state or federal government to do so."
The key findings of the survey can be read in full at www.usmayors.org - http://www.usmayors.org/meninosurvey/2015/2015survey-finalreport.pdf