Information Exchange
Performance Improvement
Municipal Independence

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Guidelines for Authors

To Submit an Article
If you have an approved article ready to submit or if you would like to have an article considered for publication, skip to here.  For additional information on becoming a contributing author, read on ...
How Can You and Your Organization Participate?
Start by telling us what your organization does well.  What do you and your colleagues do that might enable or inspire others to improve their performance?  These don't need to be organization-wide projects or major restructurings.  Even the smallest initiatives can make a big difference.  Don't overlook anything which, since you see the results every day, may seem too minor or too insignificant to matter to others.  In all our years of researching local government, we have yet to find an organization which didn't have something that would benefit others in our shared field.
Why Tell Your Story?
Judging by discussions with those who have contributed articles in the past, there is a multitude of reasons.  Here are 2 of the most compelling.  Firstly, you will be assisting your colleagues.  What your organization has done will likely help other local-government agencies to become more efficient, more effective, or more accountable.  It may even make the difference between their continued survival or their being merged out of existence.  Secondly, you will bring widespread recognition to your organization.  VFC (View from the Cordillera) is now read by those who govern, manage, assist, support, and sustain our municipalities on 4 continents.  So, your article will enjoy a broad exposure to your peers at home and in many other parts of the world.
Who Should Make a Submission?
Guest authors have included heads of council, other elected officials, municipal managers and staff, senior-government officials, attorneys, auditors, consultants, academics, and concerned citizens.  (For a list of individuals who have contributed articles to our publications, click here.)  While we welcome articles from local-government organizations of any size, we are especially interested in receiving submissions from small and medium-sized municipalities.  That's because much has been written about the achievements of larger cities like Indianapolis and Calgary and Melbourne and Phoenix.  Whereas, very little is available on smaller cities, on boroughs, on towns, on villages, or on rural municipalities.  So, other similar organizations, which want to improve their own performance but are unaware of what has been accomplished already, are left to choose between re-inventing the wheel or living with the status quo.  Yet, many of the real gems of local-government performance are found among these less-publicized organizations.  And, these innovators have not received the recognition they deserve.
What if You Don't Have a Writer Available?
While most cities have a communications or public-relations department, we recognize that many smaller organizations do not have writers on staff.  Don't let that deter you.  If you have an initiative, a program, a project, a process, or an achievement that might benefit others, tell us about it.  If you know of another organization in the local-government field which is doing something innovative or effective, we would like to hear about that as well.  Use your own words.  Don't worry if the grammar isn't perfect or if there are spelling errors.  Our editorial people will look after those matters.  If you would prefer to have us draft your article, just send us an email with the word 'Topic' in the subject line.  Please provide a 1- or 2-paragraph description of your initiative (or your referral to another organization).  Also, let us know the best time to reach you by telephone so that we may learn more details of your success story and answer any questions you may have.
What Should Your Article Contain?
Each article that we publish will accomplish at least 1 of the following purposes:
present a case study which offers our readers practical solutions that they can apply to their own situations;
introduce them to a resource (an individual, a group, a publication, a web site, etc.) which is advancing excellence in local government;
examine 1 or more of the success elements (principles, paradigms, policies, programs, or practices) and their application to local government;
advocate a new direction for local government, consistent with our guiding principles of efficiency, effectiveness and accountability; or
identify a wrong turn in public policy and offer an appropriate remedy.
How Long Should Your Article Be?
Our publication format accommodates about 600 words per page.  While we prefer articles of 2 to 3 pages (1,200 to 1,800 words) in length, articles of up to 5 pages have been published in a single issue and longer articles have appeared in 2 or 3 consecutive issues.
How Should You Submit Your Article?
Articles should be submitted by email with the word 'Article' in the subject line.  Please include your name, title, organization, and email address.  If possible, do not send attachments.  Instead, put your article in the body of your email.  (Since we prepare our publications on a Macintosh, this will help us avoid compatibility issues.)  If you have text already prepared in 1 of the popular Windows text formats (Microsoft Word, WordPerfect), we can probably translate it, as long as it is not compressed.  If you are sending data in a spreadsheet, it should be saved in SYLK (.slk) or TEXT (.txt) format.  If there is a graphic or database file you wish to send, please call us to discuss a mutually-compatible format.
What Else Should You Provide?
In each issue featuring a guest author, we like to include a paragraph entitled: To Learn More.  If there is any contact information at your organization that you would like readers to have, it would go here.  It would also help readers to have references to any material you cite in your article (ideally with a web address).  And, if there is anything relating to the subject of your article on your web site that you would like them to see, include that URL as well.
To give our readers some background on our guest authors, we like to include a paragraph entitled: About the Author.  So, please provide half a dozen sentences of biographical information.  And, if there is any contact information for the author which differs from that given in To Learn More, it would go here.
Finally, to help us respect the copyrights of others, please let us know if your article has appeared in another publication or if it has been submitted for publication.  Also, if the material in your article has been used in a public presentation, its copyright may belong to the organization which sponsored the event.  So, please let us know if that is the case.  While many copyright-holders readily consent to having their material appear in another publication, they normally expect to be acknowledged.
Where Does the Institute Come In?
If you are less familiar with the Institute, we urge you to read the introduction to our organization.
How Do We Prepare Your Article for Publication?
When your draft article is received, it is given a preliminary review by our Editor.  The Editor may contact you to clarify something in the article or to request additional background.  Once that is received, a revised draft of the article is prepared and circulated to our Editorial Advisory Board for their review.  We then discuss their comments with you, together with any recommendations for changes to the article.  Depending on the nature and extent of any changes, we may ask you to make them or we may make them here.  Prior to publication, a proof copy of the article will be prepared and emailed to you for approval.  To ensure your satisfaction, no article will be published without this approval.
The Bottom Line
Before we can expect to convince our senior governments to grant independence to local government, we must be able to demonstrate and document that we are capable of assuming that responsibility.  That means becoming as efficient, as effective, and as accountable as possible, given the current dependent status of local government.  The quickest way to do that is to learn what those who are most successful are doing and apply it to our own organizations.  And, to ensure that this process is win-win, you can share your achievements with others who may benefit from what you have accomplished.
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