John Hope Bryant: Opening Session Video

October 9, 2009

Miss the opening session of the ICMA Annual Conference? John Hope Bryant has posted video from his presentation on his Web site. Check it out here!


And the Academy Award Goes to…ICMA?

September 30, 2009

Did you know ICMA has a YouTube site full of videos on local government? The run the gamut of topics and production quality, but all provide valuable information about ICMA and the profession. A personal favorite are films ICMA members submitted as part of our 2nd Annual Video Contest. This year’s challenge was to make a video that demonstrates the value of professional local government management and/or ICMA membership. The results are spectacular!

Some of my other favorite videos are the ones added most recently. Before and during the 2009 ICMA Annual Conference, staff coordinated the filming of several “PSA’s” to highlight various ICMA programs and services. There’s a mix of staff and members featured on camera talking about everything from credentialing to ELDP to the new design of PM Magazine to the benefits of 311 and CRM. Check them out to learn about the exciting opportunities that are out there. In the meantime, here’s a taste of what to expect:

Another great resource is ICMA TV, who produces high quality videos on local governments and various aspects of the conference. You can find their content at

Update: Virtual Conference Archive Accessibility

September 18, 2009

As most of you know, ICMA ventured into the world of virtual conferences this year by live-streaming selected onsite conference content from Monday and Tuesday to a virtual audience.  The best part about this new offering? The content is being archived and will be available to both virtual and onsite attendees in a few short days! When released, you will have access to two keynote addresses for a week, 20 educational sessions for 30 days, and all of the solutions tracks for a year.

We expect the content to be available early next week.  Here’s how it will work for the following groups of members:

  • Virtual attendees will use their username and password to access the e-conference gateway page, where the content is hosted.
  • Onsite registrants will receive login and Web site information from Granicus (ICMA’s partner in this endeavor) via email as soon as the materials are ready. Non-attendee Managers in Transition will receive complimentary access at this same time.

Please note: you can only receive this information if you have an email address on file with ICMA. Visit and make sure your record is current.

Thanks for your patience in understanding the slight delay in providing access to the archived content—we promise it will be available shortly! In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact

Thoughts From a First Time Attendee

September 16, 2009

The second annual ICMA video contest offered two members the opportunity to attend a conference who had never attended one before. We had the chance to catch up with Sam Feldman, the winner of this year’s conference, and he offered his thoughts: 

“The opportunity to attend this conference was just unbelievable.  In addition to being in the always-active international city of Montreal, the conference itself has been so valuable to my continuing education and inspiration.  I have met some current, former, and aspiring managers, and the sessions have supplied me a view of the various gears of the machine of local government.  In particular, the opening keynote by John Hope Bryant was inspiring, and the session on the whys and why-nots of regional consolidation was fascinating, coming from the megapolitan Phoenix region.  Thank you, ICMA, for this wonderful opportunity.  I hope to see you again in San Jose next year!”

You can watch Sam’s winning entry below, and keep an eye out for next year’s contest.

Pres. Earley: Get Passionate about Our Profession

September 16, 2009

During his first speech as ICMA president, Darnell Earley (City Manager; Saginaw, Michigan) encouraged each ICMA member to rediscover and act on their passion for the profession and public service. He highlighted professional development and personal health as 2 ways to get invigorated and invested, and also talked about the ICMA Fund for Professional Management. The Fund, as many of you know, exists to support professional local government management through civic education initiatives and involvement in form-of-government campaigns.

Darnell experienced a challenge to the council-manager form in his own community 2 years ago, so he knows firsthand how valuable the Fund and ICMA can be as resources. He says that the Fund’s support, in particular, meant so much because it represented his colleagues reaching out a helping hand in what was a very difficult time.

The Fund, as Darnell sees it, is a perfect way for ICMA members to act on their passion. During the next year, he pledged to be an advocate for the Fund with the goal of significantly increasing the number of members who donate (currently it’s only 10% of the membership). To get things started–and to show that he’ll practice what he preaches this year–Darnell wrote a check to the Fund for $1,000 and presented it on stage. But the point isn’t to have everyone at that giving level…it’s to have everyone giving.  That’s why he also encouraged people to take a first step toward donating by tossing their leftover Canadian coins and bills into buckets at the exits of the hall.  Every dollar and every donor matters!

To learn more about the Fund, visit; to make a contribution, establish a pledge, or set-up an automatically drafted recurring gift, visit Any questions you have can be directed to

Miss the closing session keynote?

September 16, 2009

Dr. Linda Duxbury showed data from Canada revealing that 20 years of talking about life-balance has led to … LESS balance. More work, more stress, less satisfaction, less productivity. At the same time, more technology means work is everywhere, all the time. For instance, some people waited to have children later – and now balance child care AND elder care. Add in economic stress and city managers are doing more, sleeping less, and lacking time to manage. How do we fix this daily nightmare? What do we need to know? Here are some of her thoughts:

1. Adjust expectations. It is unreasonable to expect all email to be read overnight.

2. Model better balance. As leaders, our staff watches us to learn what is expected.

3. Don’t do two things at once. Turn off your cell, bb or pda when in a meeting.

4. Don’t expect immediate responses, or people to be always available.

5. Managing your in box is not the same as managing your life.

6. Work-life conflict, especially over loading, is major predictor of absenteeism and illness. So we must pay attention to this.

7. If these issues are not addressed during time of boomer retirements, we will lose in the efforts to recruit new talent.  For the next 20 years, there will be only one next gen person available to replace two boomer.

8. Boomers are boiled frogs. Slowly, over time, water heated up around these ever more stressed hard workers. Work dominates their lives. The next gen says no, I will not live that way.

9. Boomers say “where is the work ethic of the next gen?” Their models were their WWII parents, and stay-at-home moms. The next gen had an entirely different experience : many of them saw their parents give their all to their work – and fail at family life. Often they say “Work broke my mom’s heart.”

10. Focus more on HR and managing human capital. Do more coaching, training. Move beyond just talking about balance. Suppprt employees. Change your org culture – overwork is the modern madness.

11. Say no – we cannot do everything. Set priorities and stick to them.

A Visit to Ethics Court

September 16, 2009

The Ethics Court explored five cases ripped from today’s headlines to determine whether the actions were violations of the ICMA Code of Ethics. Attendees were grouped at different tables and debated the issues without necessarily reaching the same conclusion.

Sample scenarios included:

What if the mayor advocates a crackdown on undocumented immigrants and attacks the police chief, blaming rising crime on inaction. The city manager disagrees with the mayor but chooses to retire. Is that ethical?

Who is right when an assistant manager reports to HR that the manager was viewing inappropriate information, and the manager says it was merely part of an investigation to verify an employee’s misuse? What if they both file ethics complaints against each other?

Like we said, no easy answers but lots of thoughtful discussion.