As a statistician from a country with a very centralized statistics system it is difficult at first to understand such a decentralized system. I have only just arrived so clearly my attitude will mature over the next month but it appears that most county level statistics are for county consumption to assist administration in the county – developing.
Since I will do my month-long fellowship in Jackson County, Michigan, this means I will not get the chance to learn about larger statistical systems or data management issues as I wrote in my application. But as I try to look for the silver lining of it, I would get the chance to visit many departments in Jackson County and hopefully I can increase my professional expertise in governance process especially the open and good government practice.
At the start, I will spend a couple of days in the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. In this division I was given a chance to attend a monthly night meeting (public meeting and involvement) which in this meeting, public or citizen can come and interface with the decision made by the board of commissioners. In this meeting, the public are welcomed to give criticism or suggestion to the government itself as long as it is in a constructive sense (you can also do it online.)
This is something that is very new and interesting to me. I hope this will be a good reference to my local government when i go back to Indonesia.
Thanks ICMA! Thanks Jackson County!