The Hottest Takes with Justin Amos, City of Charlotte, NC

Everyone has a “hot take” these days from the talking heads at ESPN to political pundits filling the air on cable. ELGL cannot (and will not) be left out. We are asking new members to give us their hot takes on an array of issues.

Justin Amos


City of Charlotte, NC – Budget and Strategy Analyst

Connect: LinkedIn and Twitter

Write the headline for your life story. 

Man creates the perfect beer, retires to mountains

What three things would you change about local government?

Story Telling: Local governments are often times reacting to what is happening in the community. I’d propose that we attempt to be more proactive. Tell your community’s story to better promote the unique features that make your community a great place to live, work, and play. Story telling is an art and a skill that takes practice. However, an organization that is skilled in the art of storytelling, is able to explain complex problems and situations to citizens in a way that is relatable, understandable, and it helps create community buy-in—so when problems/issues arise, you have already established trust in the community, and you will be able to attack problems head-on, rather than spending precious time creating that buy-in reactively.

Cna01ZFXEAAExJ7Innovation: this is well documented that local government hasn’t been known for innovation. I know this perception is changing (we even have Innovation Teams in North Carolina-as I learned about #NCLGBA16…but we need to continue to support these efforts and expand them as technology changes the way we do our jobs and provide community services. It will be through innovative ideas that will allow us to become more efficient and effective at the work that we provide to our citizens. Innovation comes in many forms (technology being obvious) but it can come in smaller ways such as dedicating time in staff meetings to brainstorming sessions, or inviting an entrepreneur to talk about their work—it’s about how we think, how we shape ideas that is critical, not necessarily what we think.

Change: Local government should embrace change better obviously. Too many people in our local organizations resist change at all costs. Why? Because as humans that is our natural tendency. We like what is known. But that’s not how great work is done. The world is in a constant state of change and government oftentimes is 20 years behind. It took my organization years to upgrade to MS Office 07. Well I have 2007 Excel, and its 2016? Why are we even using excel? Is there something out there that we could benefit from that is a more useful tool? Our organizations set up barriers to avoid risk, to limit change (for good reasons). However, if we want to transform our work, we must be able to accept some risk, and adapt to change…even if it’s a little at a time.

If ELGL gave you $10 million right now, what would you do?

Travel:unnamed (1)

  • I would take the family on a killer vacation to Australia, New Zealand and explore the Outback, become a regular crocodile Dundee.
  • I’d go backpack through some great places—Europe, South America, and a long hike up the Appalachian Mountains
  • Travel to each of the MLB ball parks

I’d like to say continue to work in local government, and perhaps I would for some time. But, I would really like to learn about brewing beer, and like my headline, come up with the perfect beer (if you can top Guinness) and then retire to the mountains. I have even come up with a name: Famous Amos Ale’s. So let me know when you have $10M to invest. I can put it to good use.

Is summer overrated?

It is way overrated. I am not much of a summer or beach person. I like cold weather, always have and always will. When I was a kid, I used to sleep next to the AC vent in the floor. In college, our dorm room was nicknamed the cave because of how cold it was in there year round. I love being outside, just hate it when it’s hot, humid, and mosquito filled.

What’s the one skill that you wish you had?

I wish I could have been a singer/lead guitarist of a world famous rock band. I would have been a combination of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. If only I could sing or strum a guitar…

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