The consultant group that drew fire for recommending this past spring that the state yank about 10 million dollars of support for cities and counties held a conference over the past two days with about 80 city, county and state leaders. Bob Rafferty, one of the Public Strategies Group consultants, says it was important to let local officials vent. Rafferty says there is certainly anger still there, but he says the focus is about moving forward and building a better relationship between the state and local governments to improve services for Iowans, and hopefully find ways to save taxpayer dollars. Rafferty says the conference was designed to start people talking about the new relationships which be formed. Rafferty says much of the discussion centered around getting clearer about what roles each level of government takes. One idea discussed was making it easier for governments to consolidate and share services. He says the group will meet again to chart details, and will hold regional meetings to get public input. Critics complained last year about the secrecy surrounding the consultant’s government “reinvention” ideas.
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