History of the Center
The newly named McClure Center for Public Policy began as the Bureau of Public Affairs Research which was established at the University of Idaho in 1959 as a unit within the Department of Social Sciences. Its main purpose was to provide research, training, and consulting services for state and local government agencies in Idaho. It also works closely with state agency personnel and city and county governmental associations in planning Bureau activities and identifying major problem areas for research and training.
In its first 10 years of existence the Bureau completed 17 major research studies: nine on city government, two on county government, two on the state legislature, and four compilations of election statistics. This level of activity continued until the retirement of Sidney Duncombe who directed the Bureau from 1973-88.
The Bureau also published handbooks for elected city and county officials that contain descriptions of the responsibilities and duties of local officials in Idaho. Other publications reported the results of studies into specific problems in local government, such as municipal home rule for Idaho cities, centralized purchasing for local governments, and use of annexation and extraterritorial powers of cities in solving urban fringe problems.
In addition to its research function, the Bureau, using federal grant funds, sponsored training programs for state and local officials in Idaho from 1967-81. Among the institutes were those for mayors and councilmen, county commissioners and clerks, city clerks and treasurers, city fiscal officers, legislative budget staff, local law enforcement administrators and tax assessors. The Bureau also provides consulting services to state and local agencies.
Going forward, the McClure Center will continue with this civic minded work with a specific research agenda to be determined in 2010.