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 http://icma.org/update 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 customerservices@icma.org.

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Time the Revelator

September 16, 2009

Time

 

            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:


Out of the office: How to Maintain Healthy Relationships

September 16, 2009

ICMA member Cynthia Seelhammer attended yesterday’s session entitled, “Maintaining the Health of Personal Relationships”, which featured Dr. Andreas Rapp of Austria. Formerly a city manager, he now does mediation work. One of his key points was that, too often, couples have many small issues that are not major, but over time, these small things grow to a heavy weight. He emphasized the importance of the dealing with these issues as they come up to minimize the possibility that they blow up later.

He also emphasized the need for home to be a safe haven.  As we all know, though, that doesn’t happen on it’s own. Creating a healthy home environment takes time, attention and planning and is well worth the effort!  Session leader Kathleen Mc Alpine assisted Dr. Rapp in collecting audience comments and ideas about problems and solutions.  One thing was evident to all of us: relationships are ongoing conversations.


Practical Info on Reducing Energy Costs!

September 15, 2009

I just attended a session entitled, “Where Will I Get Enough Energy to Provide for my Community? ” The session focused on funding sources for lower energy costs. This is info that all communities could really use in a tough economy.

Randy Reid talked about ICMA’s Sustainable Communities Advisory Committee and how it has created some benchmarks for Best Practices — and has made Energy Conservation one of them! The committee is asking all communities to practice conservation, create building efficiencies and invest in renewable power generation.

The, we heard from Tallahassee, Florida about how they are going green to save energy resources. By doing that, they have even lower costs. What a great idea! He talked about CONA Neighborhood Energy Challenge where neighbors sign up to reduce consumption and then the city measures the change and reports back. You can find more information on that program here. Tallahassee is also exploring new options with their fleet management program. To reduce costs, they are looking at making diesel fuel from chicken fat, using new types of vehicles, and implementing driving policies.

The next speaker was from a nationwide consulting firm, PBS&J and he talked about renewable energy sources that can be included in all stages of the planning and building process. He provided some great examples of wind and solar energy.

I think one of the best take-aways from the session was the part where they talked about how to get funding through the American Resource Recovery Act. There is currently $43 billion available for direct energy and efficiency programs including EECBG grants, weatherization programs for both residential and commercial buildings, energy improvement programs, and Fossil Energy Research & Development and much more.

Learn more about ICMA’s sustainability efforts at icma.org/sustainability.


Improved Health and Reduced Costs

September 15, 2009
I just attended the educational session entitled “Breaking Individual Inertia: A Pathway to Improved Health and Reduced Costs”.
 
Bill Reindl from CIGNA shared a fresh perspective on innovative ways to get individuals actively engaged in their health — and important health care decisions.  Interestingly, he began with an exercise to show attendees how their employee health benefit strategy relates to the benefits they offer.  For example, how managers, their HR directors and employees view their role in employee health.
 
Ultimately I learned that each of these stakeholders plays a critical role and shares in the responsibility for health.
 
Mr. Reindl noted that for many stakeholders change is a challenge. He reviewed critical components of effective strategies to get employers and employees engaged in health improvement to lower costs. 

Avoid a Jekyll Interview and Hyde Hire

September 14, 2009

This afternoon, ICMA member Pam Antil moderated a panel featuring new ideas on recruitment and interview practices from Heidi Voorhees, Mike Goodrich, and Victor Lauria. Here’s an overview for those of you who missed it:

Heidi: Discussed trends and tips in recruitment. One of my favorite lines was that people are usually hired for skill sets and fired for behavioral issues, reiterating why it’s really important to get a sense of someone’s personality, style, etc. in the hiring process.

Mike: When Arlington County received nearly 400 applicants for a single position, Mike and his team devised a “speed interviewing” process that drew on a variety of different staff and reinforced the county’s vision. The result was a collaborative, inclusive process and a strong new hire.

Victor: As a police lieutenant in Novi, MI, Victor has a lot of experience catching lies. He spent the bulk of his presentation discussing the importance of reading body language to really understand a candidate.

If you missed this session, and are a virtual or onsite attendee, be sure to check back to hear the archived version–one attendee claimed it was the best session he’d been to in 25 years of ICMA conferences!


Real Challenges/Real Results-Employee Health

September 14, 2009
I just attended the Real Challenges/Real Results employee benefit educational session. I came away with a better understanding about how local government managers can save money on health costs by incorporating several strategies: benefits integration; health plan selection; and tailored employee health programs.  
 
Reggie White from CIGNA talked about how integrating benefits such as medical, dental, behaviorial, pharmacy, and disability can yield significant savings.  He also explained how companies are now offering new plan designs that have proven medical cost savings. 
 
Mr. White said that many jurisdictions are benefiting from tailoring their employee health programs.  For example, when jurisdiction introduce programs such as maternity/oral health based on the employee population profile, then this creates a win-win situation for the employer and employee as well
 
Mr. White concluded the session by explaining that making enrollment and ongoing employee benefit management more efficient are a real plus for local governments, improving productivity for HR and employees.