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Public Policy Students to Help Advise D.C. Council

Ed Montgomery

GPPI Dean Edward Montgomery said the partnership between the school and the Council of the District of Columbia "represents an exciting opportunity ... to combine service to the community with expanding educational opportunities for our public policy students."

March 3, 2011   In a partnership between the Council of the District of Columbia and Georgetown's Public Policy Institute the university's students and faculty will conduct research to inform the legislative body on ways to provide the public with greater transparency and accountability.

Service and Learning

GPPI students conducting the review will learn about real-world policy challenges and have the opportunity to help enhance local government. Students will play a prominent role in reviewing the effectiveness of the District of Columbia’s Office of Policy Analysis (OPA).

“This partnership represents an exciting opportunity for GPPI and Georgetown to combine service to the community with expanding educational opportunities for our public policy students,” said GPPI Dean Edward Montgomery.

The effort is part of ongoing research that GPPI has conducted in the area of juvenile justice, education reform and child welfare.

Great Good

The students who will analyze options for restructuring OPA are in GPPI’s Public Management course, taught by Associate Dean Joseph Ferrara.

Students in the course participate in consulting projects each semester for various Washington-based policy organizations.

“The consulting projects give our students an opportunity to put their policy education into action for the greater good of the community,” Ferrara said. “And it gives Georgetown an opportunity to contribute to an improved policy process.”

The university is also providing advice to the council on creating an ethics office.

Best Practices

Council chair Kwame R. Brown has asked Montgomery to review best practices nationwide and recommend options about creating an office to conduct ethics investigations and provide ethics regulations advice to council members.

According to the council, any number of agencies could get involved in an ethics matter under the current system, including the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Inspector General, the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics and the Office of Campaign Finance.

Streamlined Review

All of these agencies could be asked to engage to conduct ethics investigations or make recommendations for legal action. But Brown said he believes the council should be able to turn to one office when ethical questions arise.

“The establishment of this one body is a subject that has been discussed for years,” Brown explained. “This is the first time this council will take a definitive step toward streamlining ethics review and investigations, and I look forward to Dr. Montgomery’s findings.”

Recommendations on both the council body dedicated to ethics and OPA are expected later this year.

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