What is Coordination?
The “coordination process” as directed by Congress is simply that: a process by which local government and federal agencies are to meet in a government to government dialogue in order to attempt to reach consistency between federal plans and actions and local plans and policies.
Congress has directed every federal agency to engage in that government to government process with local governments.
Congress has recognized that local government has a position in planning and policy making that is superior to that of the general public. The reasons should be clear: local government is dependent on revenue from the tax base in the unit to provide necessary services to the citizens. The unit of local government has the duty to provide for the public safety, health and welfare, so must be involved in development of plans and policies that affect the human and natural environment and resources within its jurisdiction.
The process is not mystical, overly technical or hard to understand. The statutes and agency regulations spell out the steps to be followed in the process. They are written in layman friendly terms, not “legalese”. Once you read the terms, from there on the process is successful if the local governing body develops an effective strategy, designed for the particular issues faced.
Strategy cannot be taught in cookie cutter fashion; a particular strategy for a particular local governing body to deal with a particular agency on a particular issue must be developed on the specific facts and issue.
Development of that strategy is almost totally akin to development of trial strategy in litigation. For that reason, once a local government has been introduced to the general concept of the “coordination process”, it often contracts for assistance with development of the strategy by which to make the process effective and by which the desired result can be reached. How Does Coordination Work?