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


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.

Time the Revelator

September 16, 2009



            RevelatorNoun – One who reveals, especially one who reveals divine will.


They say Time reveals all things.  Gillian Welch wrote a song called Time (the Revelator).  If you aren’t familiar with Welch you should check her out – she is in company with country/folk greats such as Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams.  I have no idea why Welch wrote the song, but to me it speaks to how Time is the great revealer of all things in life, especially who you are. Time will tell your story, and not only reveal that story to you, but to others.

As mentioned in my first post, I am unable to attend this year’s conference. I always enjoy the annual conference because it allows you an opportunity to learn more about current issues, new books,  management, but it also allows learning about oneself.  What did your time at the conference reveal about you to yourself and to others? Perhaps it taught you about a health care savings option that saves your organization dollars and keeps you from laying off an employee. Perhaps the Conference taught you that you really don’t understand Gen-X’ers and Y, but you’re willing to listen to what they bring to the table. Or, perhaps you discovered that you need more balance in your life…to spend that extra time with your spouse and kids rather than in the office. 

One of the “Ah Ha” moments I had in my life several years ago is that you can never go back – you have to make each day count.  It seems like a ridiculous light bulb moment because it is so obvious, and yet many of us punch our timecard without realizing that you’re punching the timecard of life.  I encourage you to make each day count – be better than the day before. LBJ use to ask his staff at the end of the day “What could we have done better?”  Decide to work each day at being a better spouse and parent, a better boss, a better son or daughter, take a class you’ve always wanted to like painting, guitar, or photography.  You hold the keys to what Time will reveal.

Go here to listen to Gillian Welch and David Rawlings perform the song:

Top 10 Conference Thoughts from a Non-Attendee

September 15, 2009

Ahh yes…Ohhhh Canada!  The land of cold, double-doubles (you know what I’m talking about coffee drinkers), and Neil Young. I am a little behind the blogging curve. I was out of the office without access to a computer….I know that sounds ridiculous to all of us tech junkies. But, when you’re hiking in Colorado a laptop just isn’t appropriate gear.  I am disappointed to not attend this year because Montreal would have been a great place to visit. I was interested to see how the French culture prevailed in a largely English speaking and culture country.  Anyway, I thought I would start off my blog posting with a Top 10 Conference Thoughts from a Non-Attendee:

1.  My 29 year streak of not visiting Canada has continued uninterupted.  I’ve traveled all over the world and have yet to make the 1400 mile trek to the Canadian border.

2.  I am not scared of any law enforcement official who is dressed in a costume that is a mix between the English in the Revoluntionary War and a soldier in WWI.mountie[1]

3. I miss the opportunity to connect with old friends to discuss topics like the economy, health care, and the New England Patriots last second victory over the Buffalo Bills..which leads me to #4

4. Why is Buffalo always involved in last second losses during the ICMA Conference? In 2007, the Cowboys defeated Buffalo on a last second field goal to win 25-24….eerily the same score as the Patriots – Bills game. What are the odds?

5. My clothes were neatly pressed from the cleaners when I put them on today – no wrinkles or fold lines for me!

6. I won’t have 1000 emails to respond to tonight when I get home work.

7. I’m going to have to do something to replenish my pen collection and desk drawer toys from not walking around the exhibit hall.

8. Speaking of the exhibit hall, I will need to walk on the treadmill tonight for 30 minutes to account for the lack of 100 laps through the exhibit hall.

9. I miss blue moons and late night slurred conversations with friends.

10.  I don’t get to compete for the most ribbons, stickers, and pins attached to a name tag. I’ve attached a picture of the traditional name tag that we Texans typically use at meetings and conferences.


And one to grow on….

11. Introduce yourself to at least one new person today. I miss meeting folks from all over. One of the best parts of our profession is our network, and the Conference is a great place to expand it.

Leadership ICMA 2009 Capstone Projects

September 15, 2009

I’m here at the Leadership ICMA Capstone Project Presentations by the program’s class of 2009. These are some excellent projects by some excellent people…a great learning experience for all of the participants as well as developing some great products and ideas for fellow local governments.

The class of 2009 is: Robbie Corder, Assistant to the Director of Public Works, University Park, TX; Eric DeMoura, Deputy Town Administrator, Mount Pleasant, SC; Laura Fitzpatrick, Assistant City Manager, Rio Rancho, NM; Mike Goodrich, Director of Administration, Arlington County, VA; Jenny Kimball, Assistant City Manager, Rockville, MD; Jason Little, City Administrator, Melissa, TX; Tasha Logan, Assistant City Manager, Goldsboro, NC; Doug Matthews, Public Communications Director, Clearwater, FL; Sara Ott, Senior Project Manager, Dublin, OH; Sarah Plinsky, Assistant to the County Manager, Johnson County, KS; Pam Rambo-Estill, Senior Management Analyst, Arlington, TX; Tammi Saddler, Assistant Town Manager, Berlin, CT; Ben Thatcher, Assistant City Manager, Southlake, TX. For more information on the program, or if you’re interested in getting involved, visit

Note, please, that this group of people have succeeded in this program not because they are “future” leaders…it is because they ARE leaders. Congratulations and well done, class of 2009…you are not the next generation of leadership…you are the NOW generation!

Assistants Luncheon

September 14, 2009

Had a wonderful time listening to Pam Antil at the Assistants Luncheon.  Here are my take-a-ways from the lunch:

-Look ahead, spot the dangers, alter the course

-Be a connector of people

-Create a “Who List” of people you can count on to talk to about the big things and the little things in your life and who can keep it real for you

-Your network and your connections need year round care and feeding, don’t neglect them

-There are only 2 Big Decisions you have to make in life 1) Where you are going and 2) Who you are going to take with you.


Congrats to 10 and 20 Year Service Award Recipients!

September 14, 2009

By now, those of you at the conference must have seen them. All those service award ribbons. 25 years, 35 years, 45 years and everything in between. Approximately 450 dedicated local public servants are receiving awards for 25 years of service or more. 

What you haven’t seen are 10 and 20 year service award ribbons. So, I want to call special attention to these 300 members, many of whom are receiving their first award this year. 

Ten years or 20 years may not be as long as 45, but it is still pretty amazing. This is not just 10 or 20 years as a member of ICMA, but 10 or 20 years in service to local government. No small feat. Congratulations!!