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Enhancing the Legitimacy of Local Government Pandemic Influenza Planning through Transparency and Public Engagement

Authors

  • P. Edward French

    Corresponding author
    1. Mississippi State University
      P. Edward French is an assistant professor and graduate coordinator in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Mississippi State University. He is also the Stennis Scholar for Local Government in the John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State. His teaching and research interests encompass local government administration, human resource issues, risk management, and selected topics in public policy and management.
      E-mail:efrench@ps.msstate.edu
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P. Edward French is an assistant professor and graduate coordinator in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Mississippi State University. He is also the Stennis Scholar for Local Government in the John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State. His teaching and research interests encompass local government administration, human resource issues, risk management, and selected topics in public policy and management.
E-mail:efrench@ps.msstate.edu

Abstract

Ethical issues in an influenza pandemic often require local government officials to make unprecedented, complex decisions. Effective planning with significant input from key community stakeholders is required well ahead of time in order to anticipate and mitigate a serious health crisis. The author evaluates the pandemic plans of 28 large cities across the United States using criteria derived from guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The analysis reveals that planning legitimacy can be enhanced by wider transparency and civic engagement, greater opportunities for the inclusion of all stakeholders in decision making, mock community-wide exercises and drills, as well as more public access to comprehensive emergency planning information.

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