An important element in the operation and delivery of County services is the relationship we maintain and develop with other governmental jurisdictions. “Intergovernmental relations” is the term we use to generally describe these activities, but intergovernmental “cooperation” would really be a better word to use as we view several examples of Hennepin County’s on-going efforts to ensure that legislative and service initiatives are well grounded in the broader community.
In the legislative area, the Hennepin County Board annually approves a legislative program which is developed through the Office of the Intergovernmental Coordinator with the assistance of the Legislative Team. The Team is an interdepartmental group of staff representing various departments from all County bureaus, as well as staff from the County Attorney’s Office, Public Defender, and the Courts. The Bureau of Social Services has members on this Team representing the Bureau Administrator, Economic Assistance, Community Services, and Training and Employment Assistance. The Team meets regularly throughout the year, and its activities include developing legislation, reacting to existing legislation, exchanging information, and working to coordinate the County’s response to proposals.
In the service area, Hennepin County staff participate on numerous local, state, and national committees. Of particular interest to this readership would be several committees currently in action addressing the needs of persons with disabilities:
Community Transition Interagency Committees
County staff participate on the (4) transition committees operating in Minneapolis and South, West, and Northwest Hennepin County. These committees plan and coordinate services within school, county, and state programs to assist students in making successful transitions from high school to post-secondary education opportunities and adult community life.
Department of Human Services – Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Committee
This committee advises the State Traumatic Brain Injury Program and makes recommendations on program development and issues and concerns regarding health and human services for survivors of traumatic brain injury. The committee includes representation of consumers, family members, advocates, professionals, and State and County staff.
Metro Deaf Awareness Committee
This group is made-up of service providers from the State’s Deaf Services Program and Division of Rehabilitation Services, Hennepin County, Ramsey County Health and Wellness Clinic, and others concerned with improving the development and coordination of services to deaf/hard of hearing individuals. Particular focus in this committee has been to address “systems” issues that may be barriers to more effective and efficient service delivery.
The above activities are only a brief sampling of the many efforts currently in place to assure citizens and staff of Hennepin County that services and initiatives are carried forward in the most informed and cost-effective manner possible. In these times of scarce resources and diminishing state and federal funding, it is imperative that we take every opportunity to collaborate and cooperate across administrative and governmental boundaries to not only avoid unnecessary duplication, but to maximize and extend our ability to meet the needs of the community.