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.

NASPAA Releases New MPA Accreditation Standards

September 15, 2009

Check out the new NASPAA accreditation standards and core competencies (pending final approval at the October 2009 NASPAA conference) on NASPAA’s Web site. Why ICMA members should care:

  1. The new NASPAA accreditation standards and ICMA-NASPAA local government competencies will positively affect the skills and competencies that future MPA graduates will bring to their local government positions.
  2. NASPAA is grateful for all the ICMA members who have served as practitioners on accreditation site visits over the years. Many of them will want to retrain under the new standards (at a future ICMA conference or at other regional training sessions) so that they can participate confidently in future site visits.

Post a comment, and we can send it on to NASPAA or you can contact them directly.

Teaching. Impart Your Knowledge, and Inspire a New Generation

September 14, 2009

TextbooksOn Monday afternoon, Ray Cox and Mark Levin gave a talk about how managers can break into teaching. Some quick tips from Mark and Ray (though not Bob and Ray, they were still pretty punchy) on how to break into teaching at the MPA, undergraduate or community college level:

  1. Start with your family. Teaching will take time away from whatever free time you currently have.
  2. Check with your council. Reassure them that this extra duty will not impact your performance, and could even have a positive impact on your work.
  3. Pitch your passion to a local school. What is one thing you are an expert in, and you are excited enough to teach? Budgeting? Performance measurement? Economic development? Community Outreach?
  4. Start as a guest lecturer; this often leads to an adjunct professorship.
  5. Don’t worry if you don’t have a PhD. A PhD is great, but only really necessary if you want to become a full-time professor and join the faculty.

Check-in with your state association, and Range Rider. Some state associations have relationships with MPA programs, and many Range Riders speak at schools to promote the profession. They could help facilitate contact.  If they don’t have those connections, that’s a great opening to be the one who creates those connections!

Teachers have a huge impact on attracting students to the local government management profession. Most students or Fellows I speak with say, “My professor told me to apply for a fellowship, and it was one of the best career moves I’ve made,” or, “My advisor told me to join ICMA, and I’m glad I did.”  And think about it – some of our most interesting professors teach from experience, with real stories and the power to inspire from lessons learned in practice.

ICMA has some resources for those who teach, and are interested in teaching. Visit:

Reach Out to Your Colleagues Who Are in Transition

September 13, 2009

Share your encouragement  and support with your colleagues who are in transition. Several are attending the ICMA Conference, including Laura Hannah, Kathie Margoles, George Kolb, James Payne, Katherine Simmons, and Greg Smith. 

Members who have experienced job loss say the Members in Transition (MIT) program provides invaluable support, networking, and resources.  For example, ICMA hosts monthly conference calls and waives dues payments for up to three years (waivers are provided in six-month increments).  To see the full list of members in transition or to find out more about the program, visit

If you are in transition and haven’t signed up for the MIT program, stop by the Ask ICMA/membership area of the pavilion if you are at the conference or contact Amanda Relyea, project manager for the Members in Transition Program, at  Share your thoughts and experiences on this blog posting, or add your name if you are in transition and at the conference so your colleagues can offer you support.

Executive Board Ready for Montreal!

September 3, 2009

Bonjour mes amis!  I am very much looking forward to Montreal!  I’ll be arriving next Thursday to begin the weekend with ICMA Executive Board meetings in advance of the conference.

It’s been a busy year for the Board, largely devoted to beginning to implement the ICMA Strategic Plan as well as deal with all of the many impacts that this recession has had on ICMA and on the profession.   Over the past year in my role as one of the West Coast Region VPs, I’ve been speaking at conferences and participated in conference calls and webinars on these issues (for some resources and information on the economic crisis, click here.)

I’m a member of the Membership and External Outreach Committee on the Board, and one of my assignments is to promote professional development for members at every stage of their careers and at every management level we represent, and serve as a resource back to the Board on this issue.  Although times are tough, we must continue to promote professional management and build the pipeline for managers at all levels of the organization (check out and for tons of resources—many free or low cost—for you, your colleagues, or your staff).

Coming to the end of my first year as a Board member, I have to say it’s been even more exciting and interesting to be a part of than I expected–and I expected a lot!  The Board is an amazing group of people who are devoted to the profession and to all of you.  Please feel free to talk to any one of us about how you feel we are doing and how the Association is doing.

As a side note…along with this blog, you can follow me and what I’m doing at the conference on Twitter at  À bientôt!