Do you know the way to San Jose?

September 16, 2009

Writing from the Closing Session, I’m once again struck by how fast the conference flew by…as it seems to do every year! It has been a great conference and once again want to thank ICMA staff, the Conference Planning Committee, and the Host Committee for an amazing time!

We’ll barely begin to catch our breath before planning begins for the 2010 Conference…and I couldn’t be more excited, as it will be in my own backyard: beautiful San Jose, California. The Host Committee and Planning Committee are already hard at work to bring you what I know is going to be an outstanding Conference. On behalf of the Board, my fellow California Board member Pat Martel and I invite you to come join us in Paradise, otherwise known as Northern California. San Jose is a fabulous place with great weather, shopping, eats, and almost too much to do (and for all my fellow hockey fans…it will be during the regular season, so hopefully we can all fit in a Sharks game)!

So today, we say au revoir à Montréal…but next year, you will find the way to San Jose! See you there!


Merci Montreal

September 16, 2009

Oprah often talks about having an ‘AHA Moment’ I have had several during my stay here in Montreal. I have discovered that I made the right decision to enter into this profession. I have discovered that serving the public in this capacity is my career calling.

Performance Measurement, Ethics, sustainability are not just the new trends in public administration but tools we are given to aid in the well being of the citizens we have been given the charge to serve.

I consider myself fortunate to be a fellow. I consider myself fortunate to be in Dubuque & Lancaster. AND I consider myself fortunate to have been given the opportunity to come to Montreal and cross paths with people I will be commarades with for the rest of my life.

C’est Montreal the place where it all made sense!! Au revoir!

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:

Members Talk with Media About Economy

September 16, 2009

Yesterday four ICMA members and staff held a 45-minute telephonic media session from the Palais to discuss how local governments are navigating the current fiscal crisis.  

Ron Carlee, County Manager, Arlington County, Virginia, and newly-appointed Executive in Resident/Director of Strategic Initiatives at ICMA; Scott Hancock, Executive Director, Maryland Municipal League, Annapolis, Maryland; and Peggy Merriss, City Manager, Decatur, Georgia, and former ICMA President; plus Elizabeth Kellar, Deputy Executive Director, ICMA, participated in the session.

Click on to hear the audio of this presentation or visit to learn more about this session.

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.

Last Day to Visit the Exhibit Hall

September 15, 2009

Yesterday was a great day in the Exhibit Hall.  Attendees were able to meet their private sector colleagues and brainstorm around the top issues in local government today.

One of my favorite things yesterday was the driver safety technology at the Runzhiemer International booth 504.  Here’s a sample, check out their booth to try more of these fun and instructional brain games.

The 2009 Educational Exhibit Hall will close at 2:00pm today.  Don’t miss the opportunity to check out valuable private sector solutions to your local government challenges. 

There are still 7 Solutions Track sessions taking place in the three theaters in the exhibit hall between 9:45 and 2pm today.  See the schedule in your program, on the website or on signage in the hall and around the Palais.

What was your favorite thing in the hall this year?

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.