Dad. Assistant City Manager. Surviving.

Category: Professional Page 2 of 3

Google Opens More Public Data

Google Public Data Explorer now has census data and state government finance data.

Twitter Helps Cory Booker Dig Out His Residents

I am a little late on this, but I wanted to point out a great public interest/public administration/politics piece.

During the most recent snow storm on the East Coast, Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey, patrolled the streets using Twitter to direct snow plows and city workers, and even shoveled out residents and cars himself.  The Twitter Blog has a great piece on Booker’s heroic efforts and it links to stories at several major news outlets.

You can follow Mayor Booker (@CoryBooker) on Twitter yourself.

These are the accomplishments we public servants can achieve with the help of social networking and social media.  These are the types of things I want to do in public service, and services like Facebook and Twitter can help us all improve our communities.

John’s Motto for City Management

Dr. John Nalbandian imparted these words on a soon-to-graduate class of future city managers:

Honor the past, capture the present, and shape the future.

That is how I hope to impact cities and counties during my career. Thank you, Professor Nalbandian.

The Purpose of a City

The Georgia Municipal Association posted a great article from Otis White on the purpose of a city:

Cities exist to create citizens. Not to generate economic gains (they do, but as a byproduct), or provide a home to the arts, entertainment or learning (again, byproducts), and certainly not to support a government (it’s a means to an end). I would argue that the real purpose of cities is to create a group of people who will take responsibility for their community. And it’s this willingness to accept responsibility that is the difference between a resident and a citizen.

I think we in government (and our residents) forget the ultimate purpose of what we do, which (for me) is to solve common problems that a single individual cannot solve on his or her own.  Things like roads, libraries, building codes, and public safety.  To do these things, citizens (not residents) formed collectives.  We need to continue to reinvigorate our populations and create citizens who get back in the habit of looking out for the greater good and who help create a better place to live.

I don’t know if it is the responsibility of city managers or elected officials to create citizens.  But we all need to do more.

I’m adding ‘creating citizens’ to my own mission in local government.

Younger Employees are Important

Just one more reason why younger people in government (or any field, really) are important:

To make matters worse, seniority rules resulted in the layoffs of younger tech-savvy employees who were among the most skilled in resolving computer problems, the report said.

“Those folks who were sleeping on cots to fix this system are the ones who were shown the door,” said one former employee.

Joining JeffCo

I hinted at it in my last post, but I’m excited to start a new job today.  I’ve been asked to start as a Budget Analyst for Jefferson County, Colorado.

I’m working in the Budget &  Management Analysis Division of the Administrative Services Department.  And I have a new office and everything.

I’m very happy to continue on at Jefferson County, and Emily and I are rooting quite a bit deeper in the JeffCo community.

Graduated from KU

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:

Graduation Group

Graduation Hooding

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!).

ICMA Starts to Blog

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.

Aspects of the Manager’s Job

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.

Georgia Contingent in ICMA Fellowship

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.

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