River Falls, Wisconsin

Want to watch citizen engagement in action?

In the City of River Falls, Wisconsin you can….on YouTube! City Administrator, Scot Simpson, and his team have developed a number of creative ways to reach out to River Falls residents and get valuable input from the community.

Back In 2014, the city began producing one minute informational videos on a variety of topics. These “City Raps” usually feature a city staff member sharing information with the public on issues and topics that they might not have been aware of otherwise.

The videos appeal to those who might not have time to watch longer programs. The raps cover topics such as the city taxi service, programs at the public library, information on parking, parks and more. One recent video features international students talking about the city’s bike share program in their native languages with captions.

Police Community Relations

Another way the city encourages public engagement is through the “Coffee with a Cop” events. Held at a different place around the city every month, residents get a chance to ask questions, voice concerns and get to know city police officers in an approachable environment.

The police department also recently added a community policing specialist to the public safety ranks. Police Chief Gordon Young believes it’s critical to form a better connection with the community—families, businesses, churches, and schools. The new officer intends to work hard to understand what the community’s perspective is on what problems need to be addressed.

Kinnickinnic River Project

Community Development and the River Falls Municipal Utilities are teaming to host a three-year community engagement process to imagine the future of the Kinnickinnic River Corridor including the future of the two hydroelectric dams owned by the City. The City successfully sought and was granted license extensions by FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) to allow the community to decide the future of the two city hydroelectric dams.

Simpson said he believes that every department has an obligation to engage with the community and he depends on his team to come up with creative and effective ways of making that happen.


Meet the Manager


Scot E. Simpson

City Administrator
Scot E. Simpson was appointed City Administrator in 2009. He was City Administrator in Lancaster, Wisconsin from 2004 to 2009 and prior to that he was a Management Analyst in Janesville, Wisconsin. He received an Masters Degree in Public Administration from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelors Degree from Carroll College. In 2008, he received the Community Partnership Program Excellence Award from ICMA. In 2015, he received the Program Excellence Award for Sustainability from ICMA.