The Indiana University Public Policy Institute presented the John L. Krauss Award for Public Policy Innovation to the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council on Monday night. The Krauss Award is given biennially to an individual or entity for applied research or activity that helps the state of Indiana and/or Indiana communities with real-world solutions.
In 2019, the council engaged PPI to measure the council’s legislative efficacy. Researchers at PPI and IU’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs conducted public surveys, structured interviews, and reviewed administrative data. They could not find a similar project where a legislative body sought to objectively evaluate its effectiveness in order to serve its constituents better.
“What distinguishes the City-County Council from other legislative bodies is its desire to use objective research and analysis to inform members on key issues, and to help them improve service and responsiveness to their constituents,” said PPI director Tom Guevara.
The partnership allowed PPI to conduct additional research and analysis on the council’s behalf. A recent project evaluated the organizational structure of the Council staff to determine how staff can serve their councilors more effectively.
Additionally, the City-County Council can continue to call upon PPI researchers to provide analysis on a particular issue being deliberated or to provide analysis of ordinances and resolutions under council consideration.
Council President Vop Osili said the Krauss Award recognition is a “wonderful reminder that it’s not just what we do that matters, but that how we do it matters, too.” He noted that the council has already implemented several of the recommendations PPI made in its 2019 report.
“I believe the entire team at the Public Policy Institute understands the risk that feels inherent for any governing body to open itself to the level of scrutiny applied in academia, and I very much appreciate PPI’s commitment to not only encouraging us in that regard, but to challenging us to continue seeking opportunities to do better,” Osili said. “To receive an award named for (John Krauss) is an incredible honor.”
The council also has utilized PPI’s services to facilitate community discussions on sensitive and important issues such as police race relations. Guevara said the council’s approach to objectively analyze and understand public policy and governmental process issues is a model for other legislative bodies to emulate to create real-world change for Indiana communities.
The award is named after John Krauss who founded PPI in 2008. Prior to joining Indiana University in 1991, Krauss served as deputy mayor of Indianapolis from 1982 to 1991 during the Bill Hudnut administration.
Past winners of the Krauss Award include Brain Payne, president and CEO of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, and Moira Carlstedt, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership.