Lauderdale County's Council of Governments now has a different look. All elected officials from Marion, Meridian, and Lauderdale County may not only participate in the discussions, but also vote on policy and resolutions.
"This was done in an attempt to reinvigorate COG. To make it again a forum where the various levels could come together and discuss problems that they are having or successes that they want us to know about. It is, in essence, what happens, on a mini-version, what happens at the United Nations," said Dr. Kathy Baxter, who acts as a consultant for group.
At one time, COG did operate this way, but years ago changed to allow voting only by members of legislative bodies, but participation and attendance by some eligible members has been lagging of late.
"Communication is the key to understanding," Baxter said. "And we envision COG as a place where all those who are elected to represent us come together in a very informal and familiar way to look at our problems from many different angles."
And members say they hope expanding who is involved in these discussions will lead to more problem solving.