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


Big Day for the ICMA Fund!

September 15, 2009

Kudos to the Fund Advisory Council for attending a 7 am meeting today! We spent most of the time talking about the national campaign that ICMA is designing to raise awareness about the role and value of professional local government management. Bob O’Neill outlined the details of the campaign, and we all left enthused about this once-in-a-generation opportunity to reach a broad audience with the message that professional management creates great communities. 

Of course, we also had a lengthy discussion about how to raise money to help fund the effort! We’ll be sharing more info with the membership in the coming weeks, and asking for your support…stay tuned! 

Up next for the Fund–a luncheon this afternoon honoring those donors who have contributed at least $1,000 cumulatively. A note for the attendees–remember the room change to 518BC. See you there!

The “I” in ICMA

September 14, 2009

Last night I attended the International Reception and met some amazing people from all over the world.  I’ve often said that in the States, every manager is no more than two degrees of separation from every other manager, and I’d love to think that it won’t be long before that also applies to managers worldwide.

John Hope Bryant noted yesterday in his keynote that the world is just really a series of cities and small towns…and our new International Board member from Australia, Noelene Duff, commented the other day that we all have more in common with each other than what we don’t.  I spoke yesterday with my new friend Rodney Cumby from Town Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, Newfoundland, who was attending his first ICMA Conference and was getting a lot out of it, especially the sessions focused on small communities (we’ll be looking to see you come back, Rodney).  I just left the Zero Waste Stream session, where I heard about great programs from the US, Canada, and England…and I’m heading to the Fiscal Crisis from an International Perspective session next.  We all have so much to learn from one another and as the globe really is shrinking, it’s crucial for us to foster and maintain our international network.

I also had a chance to chat with David Timmons, CM of Port Townsend, WA, who has been on the International Committee and has visited, connected and worked with ICMA in numerous countries, and I enjoyed hearing about his experiences.  ICMA has played a critical role in furthering the mission of effective local government worldwide and through its  international projects has provided technical assistance and served as a resource to create real change in communities around the world.  Check out  you might be surprised to learn about what ICMA International has been able to achieve.

I’d like to encourage all of you that for the rest of your time at the Conference, when you see a colleague from another country, take the time to make a new friend and increase your worldview.  It is all of us that make up the “I” in ICMA.

10 + 1: Montreal Conference Interview with ICMA President Dave Limardi

September 14, 2009
Limardi, Dave (small)
Wanna learn more about current ICMA President Dave Limardi? In this article from, Dave speaks candidly about his influences, his year as president, and what the future holds for him and for ICMA.

Executive Board Completes Weekend of Meetings

September 12, 2009

Your Executive Board members just wrapped up the 2008-09 year and began the 2009-10 Board term just a few hours ago.  As always, we worked hard and we’re ready now to hit the ground running here at the Conference!

I wanted to take an opportunity to personally thank the outgoing Board members:  Bonnie Svrcek, Southeast (and the excellent chair of my committee, the Membership and External Outreach Committee); Tony Marryatt, International; Robert Johnston, Mountain Plains; Mike Van Milligen, Midwest; Kay James, Northeast; Ed Daley, Past President; and last but not least my California colleague, Ed Sotelo, West Coast.  You were all amazing to work with and I learned so much from all of you.  I will miss working with you but am pleased to call all of you my friends.

On the flip side, a warm welcome to my new colleagues:  Pat Martel, my California “neighbor” and new West Coast VP; Matt Fulton, Midwest; Heather Harper, Northeast; Noelene Duff, International; Bruce Moore, Mountain Plains; Andrea Arnold (although unfortunately not here since she’s about to have a baby…can’t wait to meet you!); and of course our incoming President (and fellow Michigander) Darnell Earley.  I am very much looking forward to this year and think we are going to make a great team.

This is a big year for local government…there is so much that is impacting this profession and there is a lot at stake.  It is more important than ever that we affirm our role in guiding our organizations through these tough times and continue to build the strong relationships that make our profession great.  Our commitment to efficient, ethical, effective government has never been stronger, and I pledge to all of you that I and the rest of your Board are taking that commitment very seriously.  I’ll continue to keep you posted on the work we’re doing, and of course please seek me out and tell me what’s on your mind!

Next up:  the State Officer’s Roundtable session…then on to tonight’s Reception…then the ICMA Leadership Dinner that the Board hosts each year.   You can follow what I’m up to on Twitter:, and you should also follow ICMA, too:  Here’s to an excellent conference! Passez une bonne soirée!

Breaking News: IHN and ICMA Sign Agreement

September 12, 2009

Outgoing ICMA President Dave Limardi and International Hispanic Network president Jane Bias Disessa have just signed an affiliation agreement to ensure programmatic collaboration between ICMA and IHN, the leading hispanic voice in local government. Highlights of the agreement include:

  • Establishing regular meetings between the leadership of the organizations;
  • Coordinating planning for each organization’s conference; and
  • Supporting membership recruitment efforts for both organizations.

Contact Rita Ossolinski at for more information.

ICMA staff are descending upon Montreal!

September 11, 2009

We made it!!!!  Staff has been trickling into town all week, but the bulk of us just arrived today (many of us on the same flight from DCA!). We kick things off with an orientation and staff dinner tonight, and then get ready for the whirlwind of activity that starts tomorrow morning with Day 2 of the ICMA Executive Board meeting,  ICMA University workshops, building the ICMA Pavilion in the exhibit hall, the state officers’ roundtable, and lots of other meetings and activities!

See you all soon!