Do you trust West Whiteland Township to do what is right?
This is the question at the heart of a West Chester University doctoral dissertation study. From about 1930 into the 1960s, the majority of citizens trusted the government to do what is right. But, as the country advanced through the middle of the century, this idyllic state transformed, and the public’s trust in government steadily declined. While some distrust is essential and desirable in a democracy, incessant distrust threatens to erode the democratic principles on which this nation is founded.
This study specifically contemplates whether the way in which citizens and local public officials communicate impacts the level of public trust citizens have in their local government.
There are many factors that influence whether a person decides to trust another person – or in this case, a governmental entity. These factors include whether someone is similar to you, whether their interests align with yours, and whether they are kind, ethical, and responsive to your concerns and needs. Communication plays a particularly important role in trust building. It is only through communication that citizens can gauge public officials’ credibility.
In addition to communication, size of government seems to be important, too. Attitudes about local government have fared well over time when compared with higher levels of government. Generally speaking, the closer the level of government is to citizens, the higher the level of trust.
The study focuses on property owners that live within the West Chester Area School District in Chester County. This includes residents of East Bradford Township, East Goshen Township, Thornbury Township, West Chester Borough, West Goshen Township, West Whiteland Township, and Westtown Township.
West Whiteland Township hopes that the results of this study will provide insights that we can use to improve our communication with residents. To learn more and participate in the study, visit https://wcupa.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8kyub9UzB3X8NXE.