Great short story in Public Management, the magazine of the International City/County Management Association, by a village manager in Michigan. Read the whole article (if you can, it might be behind a paywall), but the part that strikes me:
The moral of the story is that most of our communities have faced tremendous challenges in recent years due to the economy. These changes have seen many hard choices made, often involving the reduction of staff and services. The needs of our communities, however, have not changed. In fact, they likely have grown.
I remind my staff that we are in the business of serving the public, and that we work for a company where everyone we interact with is an owner of that company. Everyone we deal with has value and is someone important who should command our full attention.
This is such an inspiration (it’s great to see I’m not alone in this mindset) and it is an honor to work in this field!
The Washington Post has a great article on the retirement of Tony Griffin, Fairfax County’s county executive:
As Fairfax County’s county executive for more than a decade, Griffin has quietly managed one of Virginia’s most diverse and dynamic jurisdictions, a suburb of more than 1 million people that covers nearly 400 square miles. Only one person has held the post longer.
There is a reason I’ve gotten into government, and specifically city/county management. And Tony Griffin has lived a life of it. Go read the article, because this is what I want to do.
John Stewart interviewed Edward Glaeser on The Daily Show earlier this week. It was in reference to Glaeser’s new book Triumph of the City, which has seen rave reviews. It sounds academic, but as a student of local government, I can’t wait to read it!
This is a little bit late, but I wanted to write on here anyways (especially since I blogged my acceptance into the program and the first day of classes). Also, I can write this now, as the official commencement at KU was yesterday.
I’ve finished the Edwin O. Stene Master’s Program in Public Administration (MPA degree) at the University of Kansas, and I recently was hooded.
Here are a couple of pictures from the graduation banquet:
I started this program 2 years ago, having never been to campus before I accepted and having never lived outside of the State of Georgia. I applied on the recommendation of a mentor and professor at the University of Georgia, and I was accepted to the program (just barely).
I’ve moved to Kansas, been to Richmond and Montreal for ICMA conferences, made many new friends (who I already miss), worked in new places (the Unified Government and Jefferson County), found a job in and moved to Colorado, and become engaged (and getting married in a month). These have been a grueling, but refreshing, two years for this fresh-out-of-undergrad guy from Georgia. And I can’t believe it is already over (but really, the journey has just begun).
It still seems like just yesterday when I was sitting in that classroom in Blake Hall, listening to Professor John Nalbandian (pictured above, hooding me) as the tornado sirens went off outside on that first day. Wow.
Other updates will be forthcoming (I have a job!).
I’ve been meaning to link to these articles for a while. The International City/County Management Association (of which I am a member) has received some recent press on the Huffington Post. While the Huffington Post admittedly leans to one side of the political spectrum, it is exciting to see a wider viewership (and online, to boot) for the ideals of the city management profession.
The articles are written by Ron Carlee, the former county manager for Arlington County, Virginia, and the Executive in Residence and Director for Domestic Strategic Initiatives for ICMA. Ron’s first post on the Huffington Post explains what a city manager or county administrator is, why the council-manager form of local government came about, and about the profession in general. Overall, it is an excellent introduction to the profession for anyone to read (especially family members who might not be able to explain what we do).
Ron’s second article responds to some criticism of his first article (it was really only two people who did the criticizing).
In the most recent post, Ron responds to questions about the ethics of writing on a liberal leaning website. Ethics, and following the ICMA Code of Ethics, is the strongest tenet of ICMA membership, and I can see from the post that Ron and the ICMA are not taking this question lightly:
The Tenet and the Guidelines do not prohibit expression of opinions on issues, political ideas, or the association with people with political ideas. This I confirmed with the ICMA director of ethics. Publishing a non-partisan blog on this site it not a violation of Code of Ethics; however, not being a violation of the Code doesn’t make something a good idea.
I’m proud to see that ICMA has started a blog in a widely read website.
From John Nalbandian, 1999 Public Administration Review, “Facilitating Community, Enabling Democracy: New Roles for Local Government Managers”:
Many aspects of the [city or county] manager’s job remain the same: keeping the council informed, providing continuity and stability, telling the council what it does not necessarily want to hear, and balancing short-run interests against a long-run, “greater good” perspective. The difference between now and ten years ago is in the emphasis on the facilitative role of the manager.
This is my chosen and learned profession, and I’m excited.
A post on LinkedIn from a friend directed me to a news article about a new “hill station” (or city) in India that is being built from scratch. There are several quotes from Lavasa’s city manager, Scot Wrighton. Scot is a University of Kansas MPA program alum (a KUCIMAT) who previously worked at the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute. As one of the KUCIMATs in Georgia, Scot interviewed me during my application process for the University of Kansas. The Carl Vinson Institute has a small piece about one of Scot’s visits to India earlier this year. Way to go, Scot!
The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) released the list of participants in ICMA’s Local Government Management Fellowship program.
Fellows must be recently graduated from an MPA program. The Fellows acquire a position with an affiliated local government to work and get a real world introduction to local government management. Just like my MPA program at the University of Kansas.
The University of Georgia has one participant in the Fellowship (KU has none, which isn’t surprising because of its own internship program). 5 Fellows (of 13) were placed with Georgia local governments. I’m proud that my home state is taking so many of these local government students; this bodes well for management and government in Georgia.
And, the Fellowship program even has a blog.
I was reading an article in the 2009 Edition of The Municipal Year Book (from the International City/County Management Association) and found this interesting passage:
Our organizations will need to fundamentally adapt as these newcomers enter the workforce and take on positions of leadership. This point is magnified by data from ICMA, as 71% of city and county executives were under the age of 40 in 1971, while only 13% were under 40 in 2006.
That is an incredible statistic, and I think it shows the near-term challenge that local governments across the nation face. Even though this is a tough time for everyone, I couldn’t be more excited about starting my career in local government.
Saturday morning (very early) I am heading with my MPA class to the International City/County Management Association’s Annual Conference. I’m really excited about meeting lots of fellow KUCIMATs and learning lots. This is my first professional conference of any kind, so this will be a new experience for me.
The Annual Conference is in Richmond, Virginia this year. You can follow the happenings on the ICMA 2008 Annual Conference blog (run on WordPress!).