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.

What’s That You Tweet?

September 15, 2009

A variety of staff, members, and exhibitors have been tweeting about the conference.  Here’s a real-time look at what they’ve been saying. If you’re on Twitter, make sure you’re following @localmanagers, ICMA’s official feed, which has also been reposting all of the blog entries.

Looking forward from today

September 14, 2009

As we each enjoy our own slice of Montreal, I have to admit to being a bit distracted; I am the “logistics” guy from the Host Committee for next year’s conference in San Jose, CA.  This means I’m paying much too much attention to the details and looking for lessons learned, including a meeting today with other future host committees.  For those who haven’t had the pleasure of participating in the organization of an ICMA conference, there are two annual committees – planning and host – that support the ICMA staff and leadership in putting together the event.  The Host Committee is responsible for local arrangements, including field demos, athletic and social events.

Montreal is a beautiful City and a great place to learn from.  If you also are making observations that you’d like to share for next year’s host committee, please stop by the San Jose booth outside the exhibit hall.  We have a hardcopy survey available there as well as online at the following address: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=qTZA6gqXS05y7RL2_2bbyTMQ_3d_3d

If you have suggestions, please feel free to comment on the survey, this post, or send me an email at ed.shikada@sanjoseca.gov.  We’d love to hear your ideas.

Don’t Miss the Exhibit Hall

September 13, 2009

The 2009 ICMA Annual Conference Exhibit Hall is alive with activity this morning as exhibitors from all over the world prepare their booths for the opening reception.  The ICMA Pavillion and Bookstore have a new inviting layout and lots of new ICMA resources and publications.  This year’s 94 exhibitors include 9 international companies and 22 ICMA Strategic Partners.  Check out the floorplan to map out your visit.

There are lots of opportunities to visit the hall over the next three days, but don’t miss the opening tonight after the general session: Welcoming Reception: The Flavors of Old and New Montréal-5 to 7 pm in Exhibit Hall 220CDE.

For more opportunities to learn about public-private partnership successes visit the Solutions Track sessions on Monday and Tuesday.

Re-bienvenue a Montréal, ICMA!

September 11, 2009

Welcome back to Montréal, ICMA!

I remember regretting that I’d be long gone by the time ICMA’s Annual Conference returned to Montréal, since I really wanted to visit the city I’d heard so much about.  The conference I thought I’d miss was ICMA’s 73rd in 1987.  As it turned out, I staffed that conference and the next 21. I obviously misjudged how much I’d enjoy working at ICMA and how long I’d stay—29 years next month! 

Here we are about to launch ICMA’s 95th Annual Conference, the fifth time ICMA has staged our annual gathering in Montréal. The conference was first held on the Île de Montreal in 1924 and featured the adoption of the ICMA Code of Ethics and returned in 1946, 1965, and 1987.

Some highlights I remember from the 1987 conference:

  • The beautiful, high-tech Palais des congrès (convention center), with television monitors outside each meeting room indicating session names and times.  Twenty-two years later, the Palais is bigger, better, and more colorful than ever.  But, where are those TV monitors outside all the rooms?
  • Keynote speakers included a governor by the name of Bill Clinton, who spoke about how state and local governments help shape the future of America; economist Lester Thurow, who examined the future of the American economy; and journalist/author David Halberstam, who addressed “the myths and realities of Japanese management and the management lessons learned from the decline of the American automobile industry.”  Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. (The more things change, the more they stay the same.)
  • A concert in the magnificent Notre Dame Basilica. This year, on Tuesday evening conference attendees have the opportunity to enjoy a sound and light show at the Basilica followed by dinner in the Old City. Don’t leave Montréal without taking a peak at the unusual interior of this beautiful church.
  • Presiding over the 1987 conference was ICMA President Buford M. Watson, Jr.  This year, Buford’s son Mark takes on leadership of ICMA’s International Committee at the Montréal conference.
  • There was snow on the last day of the conference! The 1987 conference took place on October 25-29—well into the season when Montréalers aren’t surprised to see a little winter weather. This year’s conference is about as early in the year as ICMA gets and the weather is forecast to be beautiful—sunny and dry with high temperatures in the low- to mid- 20s (Celsius, that is, AKA the low- to mid-70s Fahrenheit).

Did you attend the 1987 conference, too, or one of the even earlier ones, perhaps as a participant in the youth program?  If so, post on the blog your memories of ICMA’s past conferences in Montréal—and have a wonderful time at the 95th!

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 http://icma.org/nextgen/ and http://icma.org/icmau/ 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 www.twitter.com/kepinkos.  À bientôt!