Dad. Assistant City Manager. Surviving.

Category: Media

The State of Local Government Websites

Kansas classmate Josh Rauch and I wrote an article for the August issue of Public Management magazine. Josh and I opined “Overlooking Your Website? If so, residents and businesses may be overlooking you” for the International City/County Management Association members publication.

Ask yourself: Is your community’s website just a line-item expense? Or is it something your organization is using to give back to and engage with your community? Does your current design support users who visit your site? Does it look good? Can visitors read it? Can they use it easily? Are they getting the messages about your community that you want to deliver?

We believe government websites don’t have to be ugly. It may not seem like a pressing issue in the whirlwind of other responsibilities and challenges, but a well-designed website can be a tremendous help to staff, community residents, and visitors. Be sure to pay attention to it!

I’m really glad Josh asked me to help write this article. The two of us often discuss the state of local government websites, especially those of small towns. Many of these cities, towns, counties, and districts outsource their IT, and their website is an afterthought. And it shouldn’t be.

Josh and I are pretty passionate about providing small municipalities with a better option for a website, so I hope you’ll go read the article. I hope you’ll be hearing more from us on this topic in the near future.

Kansas MPA in New York Times

I couldn’t be prouder than to see my Masters of Public Administration (MPA) program, the University of Kansas, get a prominent mention recently in the New York Times:

Classes in local government were first offered at the University of Kansas in the late 1940s, when city management was becoming professionalized in reaction to corruption, says Marilu Goodyear, chairwoman of its department of public administration. Students today — including civil engineers, firefighters and police officers seeking to advance to leadership positions — are often interested in careers in city management or finance. Internships are part of most M.P.A. programs. Kansas’ are distinctive: students intern full time in city government their second year. With campuses near Fort Leavenworth, the university also attracts military personnel involved in nation building and reconciliation in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Maj. Robin W. Montgomery, aide to Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, graduated last summer.)

Kansas tops the U.S. News & World Report rankings for city management and urban policy.

My friend and classmate Rob (Robin) got a huge mention!  Way to go, Rob!

Public administration is an incredible field, but it often gets confused.  You tell someone you work in government, and they assume you are a politician.  Public administration is typically about the professional government worker (nonpartisan during working hours and unbiased) implementing policies handed down from politicians.

I would recommend an MPA for anyone looking to start, or further, a career in professional government.  If you are starting out, I would recommend attending a program that has very good connections to internships.  Or, find a job in a government and later go back and get an MPA.  Either way, the important part of the degree is the application of real-life experience to MPA classes.

And with all this talk of MPA degrees, I have to brag about the one I just received!:

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