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Mayraj Fahim
City Mayors' Local government adviser

Mayraj Fahim is a Senior Fellow of the City Mayors Foundation and its local government adviser. Her occupational focus in local government has been in the areas of municipal finance in the United States and in municipal finance monitoring internationally. She also advises on local government reorganization in the United States and internationally.

Articles by Mayraj Fahim
| Most recent | Government | Finance | Society | Education |


MOST RECENT
The North Carolina model is more relevant
than ever to US local government finance

5 March 2013: North Carolina’s municipal finance and oversight system demonstrates how to limit the number of fiscal crises. As a result of its local government default history in the issuance of municipal bonds during the Great Depression, the State of North Carolina developed a system that continues to influence others in following the path it took in the early 20th Century. Today when a number of US states are forced to take over the financial management of municipalities and school boards, North Carolina’s system of state supervision of local government finances has become more relevant than ever. More


GOVERNMENT
A review of the pros and cons of increased
interlocal cooperation in local government

17 November 2009: What characterizes the local governance system in the United States is not only fragmentation of governmental units, but increasing fragmentation of service delivery. This has been more extreme in metropolitan areas owing to the rate of population growth following the end of World War II. In this article, Mayraj Fahim argues that, however, now is the time for inter-governmental cooperation and collaborative service delivery. More

Federated local government offers advantages
over more centralised or fragmented systems
10 November 2009: The collective experiences of Europe, South East Asia (in particular China), Canada, the UK and the US offer instructive lessons on how to unlock the potential of substantive federated local government systemic frameworks - as well as offering demonstrative evidence of either successful or problematic adaptations. More

Multi-tier local government systems
adopted in many parts of the world
13 August 2009: Anyone living in a region where there are counties, or similar counterparts with a different terminology, and municipal units, is familiar with what can be termed a federated (multi-tier) local system. However, what is not commonly known is that from the 1950s onwards, integrated federated frameworks were, and still are, being increasingly adapted for local regions in many countries. More

British Columbia’s local government
system relies on mutual co-operation
28 June 2009: Since the 19th century regional planning and cooperative efforts have taken root in Canada, Europe, the United States and to a lesser extent in other developed countries. A major source of inspiration has been the growth of city regions and their importance to the national economy. Urbanization, which took on a new dimension after the second world war as a result of rapid growth in suburban communities, led to more substantive and sophisticated efforts than previous examples. More

Local government in India still carries
characteristics of its colonial heritage
24 May 2009: While India, like many other regions, has always had local councils of some sort, the mechanisms in existence today are rooted in the period during which it was a colony of the United Kingdom. A major foundation of the British roots of Indian local government was Lord Ripon’s resolution of May, 1882, on the subject of local self-government covering the structure and establishment of local bodies, their functions, finances and powers. This is the root of local self-government in post-Independence India. More

Arguments for and
against term limits
10 November 2008: Term Limits can be a productive if not blunt instrument despite the powerful passions they may evoke. Term limits are currently a revived topic for action at both state and local level in the United States. New York City and San Antonio are two major cities where this subject, the bane of elected officials and favored by their electorate, is once again on the front burner. More

Local as well as state government must
address the issues facing large US cities

12 February 2008: The state of Massachusetts is rapidly losing its labor force through migration. The problem, which peaked last year, is a lack of affordable homes – with Boston being the primary engine in this human ‘hemorrhage’. Similar population shifts, with Massachusetts representing the most extreme example, are driven by a continuing need for suitable housing. More

Louisville Metro has shown other regions
how mergers can change balance of power
24 December 2006: The merger of Louisville (Kentucky) with neighboring Jefferson County has created much excitement in US regions looking at this option to improve their local conditions. The Louisville merger, which took effect on 6 January 2003, after voter approval in November 2000, has gained much attention. It was the first large consolidation of an American city with its surrounding county in 30 years, when Indianapolis and Marion County (Indiana) merged. More

Council managers are running
more and more American cities

18 December 2005: In an age when local governments in general, and urban local governments in particular, have been subject to increasing fiscal stress as a result of receding federal and state aid together with a more regulatory environment that has made municipal management more complex, the council-manager system has risen to dominance in the United States. In a council-manager system, policymaking is vested in elected representatives and management in an appointed professional manager. More

Karachi’s federated structure has led
to more responsive city government

12 July 2005: Karachi, Pakistan, with its 14 million inhabitants, is the largest city by population with a federated city government structure. The federated city system was implemented in Karachi over a three-year period - from 2001 to 2003 - and has been followed by other cities in three different regions of the world, including Birmingham (UK), Los Angeles and Montreal and, more recently, Baghdad. More

US voters are not convinced that
big is better in local government
25 April 2005: Federal and state aid to US towns and cities is dwindling in an age when costs are rising for local government. Increasingly communities are looking to the consolidation mechanism as a way of achieving efficiencies of scale in response to citizen demands for services. However, voters are more often than not reluctant to approve mergers between neighbouring communities. More


FINANCE
The North Carolina model is more relevant
than ever to US local government finance

5 March 2013: North Carolina’s municipal finance and oversight system demonstrates how to limit the number of fiscal crises. As a result of its local government default history in the issuance of municipal bonds during the Great Depression, the State of North Carolina developed a system that continues to influence others in following the path it took in the early 20th Century. Today when a number of US states are forced to take over the financial management of municipalities and school boards, North Carolina’s system of state supervision of local government finances has become more relevant than ever. More

Municipal bonds have been issued
by US local government since 1812

18 March 2012: Infrastructure in the US is generally financed through sub-national capital financing vehicles, termed municipal bonds, which encompass the issuance of bonds by state and local governments, their agencies and quasi-public bodies generically termed special districts. While the term comprises issuers other than municipalities, the first bond of this trail-blazing genre was issued in 1812 by New York City. More

US cities under increasing
financial strain, says study

4 January 2006: A study by the US Brookings institution found that increased the costs of providing homeland security, education as well as health care and pension provisions for employees are putting US cities under an increasing financial strain. The study also reveals that in order to make up for lost federal aid, cities are relying more on state aid. They also enhance revenues by dipping into reserves as well as increasing user charges and fees. More

Additional revenue sources are hard to find
as US cities face increased responsibilities
4 May 2005: In the United States most local government revenue derives from three areas - local sources, state and federal aid. A breakdown of the components provides a clearer picture of local government revenue sources. It should be kept in mind, however, that revenue sources that have been tapped, and their adequacy in meeting local needs, are two different things. More


SOCIETY
China is at the forefront of the greatest
urban-industrial revolution of all time

14 June 2006: As the United Nations reports, urban growth today is proceeding at a pace unheard of in history. Nowhere in the world is this more evident than in the cities of the People’s Republic of China. It has been described there as being part of the greatest urban-industrial revolution of all time. More


EDUCATION
US education needs to prepare
for 2042 demographic time bomb

11 May 2009: Attention to education, and its importance, has been made the subject of a renewed and sharper focus following President Obama’s call for reform and the announcement of a new program of advancement. More

No magic solution available for
improved education in US cities
19 September 2005: At a time when it is almost fashionable for mayors to take over city school systems one should first wonder how such things have come to pass, especially as urban schools - until the 1940s - had set the desired standard. More

Cities are targeting cell phones and
the internet as new revenue sources

18 June 2005: Cell phone and Internet sales taxes are becoming new technology income sources for governments looking to shore up their fiscal positions. Newspaper articles across the United States are reporting how state and local governments are seeking new technology-based revenue streams. As this is an era of rising costs, governments are looking to add income from sources previously left untapped - even non-governmental organizations (NGOs). More





The City Mayors Code of Ethics serves as a benchmark to honest and open local government


CITY MAYORS
Code of Ethics

The City Mayors Foundation was established in 2003 to promote, encourage and facilitate good local government. To strengthen local government further, City Mayors has now instituted a Code of Ethics for city leaders who wish to perform their duties beyond all reproach.

Mayors featured by City Mayors and those shortlisted for the World Mayor Prize have been asked to confirm that they and their administrations adhere to the letter and spirit of the Code. Ultimately, City Mayors aims to establish the professional title of Chartered Mayor in recognition of city leaders who bring high integrity and competence to public service as well as adhere to the code of ethics. More