The Chris Traeger List: Top 100 Local Government Influencers

The Chris Traeger List: Top 100 Local Government Influencers

A few notes before we reveal the list: 1. This list does not include any ELGL management team members. Due to the obvious conflict of interest, we have elected not to include them. 2. In developing the rankings, we consistently came back to the word, “influence.” Our top 100 is not based on title or longevity. It’s based on the influence that an individual is having in their community and outside their community through professional associations, publications, and presentations.

Our perfect Traeger List award winner is someone who has a jammed packed daily schedule, but makes time for an informational interview or to present a webinar to a nationwide audience. Our list is full of individuals quiver at the phrase “I’m too busy.’

Note: We eliminated from consideration those firms providing consulting services and other types of services to local governments. We’ll feature them in an upcoming ranking.

The Traeger List will vary from year-to-year. A few of this year’s winners are on the list because current events have put them in the spotlight.

Here’s a list of nominees submitted by our readers.

In the Headlines: The Traeger List

Journal News: Traeger Awards Featured in Journal News

City Council Chronicles: The Chronicles gets an award nomination!

Town of Hillsborough, NC: Town Manager Recognized for Local Government Influence

City of Jackson, MS: ELGL Lists Mayor Tony T. Yarber Among Top 100 Influencers

Washington County Insider: Schoemann listed as Top 100 Local Govt. Influencer

Chapelboro: Hillsborough Town Manager Named to National Government Influencer List

WeHo Village: WeHo’s Lindsey Horvath Named to “Top 100 List” of Government Influencers



Note: Each group is listed alphabetically. 

1 to 10

David Brown, City of Dallas, TX, Police Chief

Called “a hero of our time” for his response to the tragic police shooting in Dallas, Chief Brown provides hope in a time of darkness. His call to action to the community to consider joining the police department resulted in a 344 percent increase in police officer applications.

Gabe Klein, Chicago Department of Transportation, DC DOT, & Author of The Start-Up City

Bike share, mobile food carts, and the Chicago Riverwalk — Gabe’s career has intersected with all of them. His book, “The Start Up City” is a gospel for those in government seeking to “operate under the weight of an unwieldy, risk-averse bureaucracy.’

Jennifer Roberts, City of Charlotte, NC, Mayor

I Didn’t See This Coming” – What started as a resolution allowing transgender people to use public bathrooms based on gender identity escalated into national debate with the State of North Carolina striking down the resolution. Along the way, Mayor Robert shined as the voice of reason.

“I’m pleased that Charlotte has sent a signal that we will treat people with dignity and respect, even when we disagree,” Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts said moments after the vote.

Mark Funkhouser, Former Mayor of Kansas City and Governing Magazine Publisher

Half Mayor, Half Father, Half Funk: He’s Twitter bio says it all. Mark influenced the Kansas City, MO community as city auditor and as mayor from 2007 to 2011. Post-Kansas City, Mark serves as publisher of Governing magazine where he has a platform to bring important issues to the forefront of state and local government.

Mitchell Silver, New York City, Park & Recreation

Commissioner for the New York City Parks Department since 2014, Mitchell is a past president of the American Planning Association. He is an award-winning planner with almost 30 years of experience. Most importantly, Mitchell is accessible. You can connect with him on Twitter, podcasts, and more traditional means of communicating.

Nan Whaley, City of Dayton, OH, Mayor

Under the leadership of Mayor Whaley in 2015, Dayton became the first major Ohio city to offer full paid parental leave to its employees. Mayor Whaley remarked that, “Women and men that have families or growing families know that the city of Dayton is a place where you can work that will be supportive of your efforts and supportive of your talents at the same time.”

George Hawkins, DC Water and Sewer Authority, General Manager

“Water is life” – George has led by this motto. While residents in Michigan worry about what’s in the water, George has led DC to one of the most advanced public water and wastewater systems in the world.

Nigel Jacobs, City of Boston, Urban Mechanics

New Urban Mechanics is a civic innovation incubator in Boston, Philadelphia, and Utah Valley. A decade ago, the term was little known in local government but Nigel’s work has influenced local governments everywhere in developing models of innovation for local government.

Pat Martel, ICMA President and Daly City (CA) City Manager


Only the third female president in ICMA history, Pat has worked tirelessly to improve diversity local government. She is a mentor for countless local government professionals.

“Pat sets the standard for excellence in the local government profession.  Pat has demonstrated a tireless commitment to professional development and has coached and mentored countless emerging leaders throughout her career,” notes Matt Bronson, Grover Beach city manager.

Tim Kaine, Former Richmond, VA Mayor and City Councilor

Senator, Governor, Lt. Governor, Mayor, and City Councilor – Tim Kaine has not missed a step in his political career. As a Vice-Presidential nominee, Tim Kaine provides a potential opportunity for local government issues to rise on the national agenda. Most importantly, Tim Kaine’s career was shaped by his experience on the local level – Tim Kaine: The 3 Lessons I Learned From Local Government

11 to 20

Bonnie Svrcek, Lynchburg, VA City Manager and Past ICMA President

The first, and so far, the only deputy or assistant city manager to serve as ICMA President. Bonnie’s tenure was marked by a substantial increase in ICMA student chapters. In 2016, Bonnie was appointed Lynchburg, VA city manager. “Bring humility to your role at the executive level” is Bonnie’s commitment to her organization.

Harold DePriest, Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, CEO

Chattanooga Gig is the Google Fiber of local government. Before local governments everywhere were pleading with Google Fiber to pick their community, the City of Chattanooga created Chattanooga Fiber. Harold helped with the development of Chattanooga Fiber and shares those lessons with local governments facing similar decisions about municipal fiber.

John Nalbandian, Professor at University of Kansas

Rock Chalk Jayhawk! John has been on faculty at Kansas University since 1976, served eight years on the Lawrence, Kansas, City Council including two terms as mayor, and holds a visiting appointment with Virginia Tech where he consults on their local government program. Whether you are a Jayhawk or not, you have been influenced by John at some point in your career.

Josh Schoemann, Washington County, WI, County Administrator

A military veteran, school board member, and local government leader, Josh is the new face of local government. He’s impacted numerous professionals and his community raves about his work. Prior to local government, Josh joined the WI Army National Guard, and was called to active duty and was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq where he served in Operation Iraqi Freedom

Josh Smith, City of Hamilton, OH, City Manager

Josh is loved by his community. He received the most nominations for the Traeger List and many of his supporters went into great detail about his impact. Here’s just one example,

Josh came to Hamilton when nearly every window was shuttered and the death rattle wasn’t far off. He came with a vision of revitalization and change. Not only has he inspired others to “believe in Hamilton” he actually gets stuff done. He works with every facet of our city to make huge changes happen.

John Curtis, Mayor of City of Provo, UT


From day one as mayor, John Curtis has made an impact. In his first term, the City of Provo ranked #1 in the nation for business and careers by Forbes as well as #1 for well-being by Gallup. Mayor Curtis stays connected with citizens by embracing new ways of connecting, i.e: a state of the union over social media. A local newspaper described Mayor Curtis as a “mayor with a healthy midlife crisis.”

Leah Treat, City of Portland, Director of the Bureau of Transportation

A graduate of the Gabe Klein School of Management, Leah accomplished what many claimed was impossible. She brought bike share to Portland by forming a partnership with Nike. Biketown, the name of Portland’s bike share, opened in July 2016 to high ridership numbers. Beyond bike share, Leah has delicately balanced the interests of bicyclists, car owners, the street car, and interest groups in Portlandia.

Rick Cole, City of Santa Monica, CA, City Manager

It’s a Cole World! Rick is everywhere, and everywhere Rick goes he influences people. You can find Rick on Twitter, presenting at conferences, and impacting the Santa Monica community. Rick embraces the potential of technology in local government which is especially important in Santa Monica dubbed the “new Silicon Valley” by the New York Times.

Rick Usher, City of Kansas City, MO, Assistant City Manager

Google Fiber has played a key role in the transformation of Kansas City, MO. From day one of Kansas City’s courting of Google Fiber, Rick has been there. He is now the City’s lead in ensuring the successful deployment, implementation and use of the network.

Scott Bonner, City of Ferguson, MO, Library Director

With chaos overtaking Ferguson, MO and the city government, Scott reminded the community of the goodness of local government. Scott opened by the Ferguson Library as a safe haven for those in the community. His team has continued serving as a beacon of hope by increasing programming and offering “healing kits.”

21 to 30

Brian Elms, Denver Peak Academy, Director of Peak Academy and Analytics

Brian describes the mission of Denver Peak Academy as “to make the citizen’s interaction with the Government as smooth as Amazon or Zappos.” This bold thinking is often missing in local government. He shared his takeaways and experience at the Peak Academy in the recent book, Peak Performance.

Marc Gonzalez, GFOA President & Clackamas County Finance Director

A life-long public servant, Marc worked his way to GFOA President where he is committed to increasing diversity in local government. Marc has impacted his local community as Clackamas County Finance Director since 1995.

Michael Karlik, City Council Chronicles, Creator


Technically Michael does not work in local government, but he’s watched more council meetings than most people on this list. Michael reviews council meetings in a way that you will not find in your local newspaper. For example,

#32: Lebanon, IN 6/27/16We are burning through Lebanons like beer cans on a bonfire. Our second stop on the whirlwind Lebanon tour is Indiana, where someone at city hall is a virtuoso with video graphics.

Mike Matthis, City of Columbia, MO, City Manager

A budget proposal focused on social equity? That’s right, Mike Matthis made social equity the centerpiece of his budget proposal in 2015. Our wish is more city managers would take bold action in making the case for social equity in their community and tactfully nudge elected officials to pay attention and act.

Jane Brautigam, City of Boulder, CO, City Manager

Jane is the first female manager in the 90-year history of the city of Boulder, CO. Since 2008, Jane has successfully navigated the difficult waters of managing a college town while developing a nimble organization that embraces innovation.

Pete Buttigieg, South Bend, IN, Mayor

Taking office in 2011, Mayor Buttigieg was the youngest mayor of a U.S. city with at least 100,000 residents. The Washington Post has called Buttigieg “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of”, citing his age, education, and military background. His first year was marked by the successful “1,000 Properties in 1,000 Days” initiative, which repaired or demolished targeted properties across the city.

Scott Albright (a.k.a Mark Brendanawicz), City of Santa Monica, CA, Planner

The City Planner Behind Parks and Rec – The producers of Parks and Rec contacted the City of Santa Monica Planning Division asking to speak to someone about the planning profession and the city’s planning processes. Scott was chosen to provide that knowledge and assist the show in witnessing the functioning of a local government at its heart.


Sonny Brasfield, Association of County Commissions of Alabama, Executive Director

In 2016, Sonny was selected as one of Alabama’s most powerful and influential. Sonny is described as “building out a grassroots network that becomes a powerful force when activated. He really knows how to leverage his members.”

Svante Myrick, City of Ithaca, NY, Mayor

Mayor Myrick is the youngest person to hold the office in Ithaca and is the city’s first African American mayor. At the young age of 27, Myrick is one of the youngest mayors in the country.

Tony Yarber, City of Jackson, MS, Mayor

Mayor Yarber, using his background in education, embraced the use of open data to improve Jackson. His ambitions led Jackson to being named a What Works City. Mayor Yarber remarked to the Huffington Post that, “The days of saying ‘But this is how we’ve always done it’ are over. Starting now, we’re going to explain why we do things and how.”

31 to 40

Chris McKenzie, League of California Cities, Executive Director

From Kansas to California, Chris has influenced state and local government in his role as executive director of the League of Kansas Municipalities and the League of California Cities. Before his executive director roles, Chris served as the county administrator and county counsel for Douglas County, KS.

Chris Morrill, City of Roanoke, VA, City Manager

From Train City to Brain City“, Chris has been influencing the Roanoke area since 2010. His most recent accomplishments involved beer – Deschutes Brewery to open East Coast brewery in Roanoke. A recent article noted about Chris: He clearly enjoys local government–just ask to see the Parks & Rec TV show sticker on his iPad that reads, “I like local government as much as Leslie Knope loves waffles!”

Clay Pearson, City of Pearland, TX, City Manager

Consummate Professional. Citizen Focused. Forward Thinking” – This is how Clay’s colleagues from Michigan to Texas describe Clay’s impact on local government. Bill Monahan, Milwaukie, OR city manager, highlights another aspect of Clay’s career.

His tireless efforts on behalf of ICMA in international settings is truly impressive, witness his pro bono work where he shared his knowledge and expertise in South Africa in 2005 and last year in China. 

Heather Wolf, City of Mesa, AZ, Library Director

Working with the City Manager, Heather created the Stuff-brary include a high-tech workspace, Code Club and coffee bar. Mesa’s Library makeover has been replicated by libraries across the country.

Jewell Jones, City of Inkster, MI, City Councillor

When you were 20 years old you were doing what? When Jewell was 20, he was becoming a city councilor in Inkster, MI and a student at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Julia Burrows, Governing Institute, Director

Julia spent more than 10 years in the City of Roseville, CA where she focused on economic development, communications, and founded the City of Roseville Green Team. Now, as Director of the GOVERNING Institute, Julia focuses on improving state and local government performance and strengthening public-sector innovation, leadership and citizen engagement. Bonus points: Julia is not afraid to take on Danny Ainge.

Matt Horn, City of Geneva, NY, City Manager

In 2016, the City of Geneva landed a$10 million Downtown Revitalization grant which has aptly been described as a “game changer.” A recent newspaper article highlighted Matt’s influence by writing:

Grace Pilet’s blog, 8 Reasons Why You Should Love Geneva, NY, extols her own joys of living in Geneva. Matt Horn didn’t make her list, but odds are good that he had a hand in each one of those reasons.

We commend Matt and Geneva city leaders for seeking and implementing guidance from Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service to address community tensions and bolster communication.

Maurice Cheeks, City of Madison, WI, Alderman

Local government Maurice Cheeks is slowly becoming more popular than the former basketball player Maurice Cheeks. Maurice has been described as part of the “new face of leadership” in Madison. He seamlessly brings together his day job with MIOsoft Corporation, which helps companies solve their biggest data quality and analytics challenges, with his local government duties.

Tanisha Briley, City of Cleveland Heights, OH, City Manager

A native of Cleveland, Tanisha landed in Cleveland Heights after a stint in Davenport, IA. Her tenure in Cleveland Heights has been defined by making the city run more efficiently and developing properties around the city. We applaud Tanisha for her early commitment to public service.

“You could say that I was introduced to public administration at a very young age and never looked back,” Briley said. “Growing up in public housing in very challenged neighborhoods on Cleveland’s east side, my life has been shaped by public administrators.”

Theresa Reno-Weber, City of Louisville, KY

Theresa is the face of “efficiency” for local government. Her team implemented LouieStat to track and analyze key metrics with the goal of saving taxpayer money. The early success of LouisStat is evident by Metro Corrections better managing overtime and lowering overtime costs.

41 to 50

AJ Fawver, Former City of San Angelo, TX, Planning and Development Manager

AJ succeeds in helping citizens, business owners, and developers “connect the dots.” She shares her success through her active participation in professional associations such as the American Planning Association and Congress of New Urbanism. She touted by many as a great person to follow on Twitter.

Ashley Jacobs, Greater Lake City Community Development Office

Through her writing and work, Ashley has become a mentor to many in local government. She first caught our attention when she wrote about the #13Percent initiative – Fight Like Hell Dammit, and Win!.

Brian Zimmerman, Cleveland Metroparks, CEO

Brian manages The Park District consisting of 18 reservations and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and totals over 23,000 acres of land hosting approximately 40 million visitors annually with a 90 million budget. He has implemented the Cleveland Metroparks Strategic 2020 plan, guided Metroparks to National Park and Recreation Accreditation Certification and led the charge to pass the 2013 Cleveland Metroparks Levy Campiagn by an impressive 70% margin.

Darin Atteberry, City of Fort Collins, CO, City Manager

Darin has turned Fort Collins into one of the best places to work in local government. He has done so through innovation and creating opportunities for diverse opinions. His bio sums it up this way – Darin has led the City government through a time of transformational change, moving the organization from a “trust us” model to one that uses a data-driven, performance based approach.

Kimberly Richardson, City of Evanston, IL, Assistant to the City Manager

Kimberly is not only an excellent public service professional but she is a key leader in Illinois local government including the Legacy Project which encourages women in local government. Her work ethic, strategic thinking and frank manner have aided the profession, especially in citizen engagement, diversity and customer service. She demonstrates humility, compassion and fun.

Kirk Primas, Assistant Sheriff, Las Vegas Metro PD

Ever since the protests in Ferguson, MO after the shooting of Michael Brown the issues of officer-involved shootings and racial profiling have been at the forefront of discussions across the country. One Police Department has found a possible path forward. The Las Vegas Metro Police Department has implemented many changes and they were even on This American Life.

Lee Feldman, City of Fort Lauderdale, FL, City Manager

Lee Feldman, is currently what puts a twinkle in my eye.” This is how one employee describes working with Lee. Lee is a national figure through his work with ICMA, and his management style attracts the best of local government employees.

Sam Anselm, City of Joplin, MO, City Manager

After one of the worst tornadoes on record, many thought the city of Joplin, Missouri would never be the same. But local residents, nearby agencies and volunteers from across the country banded together to help the battered town. Since 2011, Sam Anselm has been a key city leader in the recovery effort and the progress archived in the last five years.

Shannah Hayley, City of Plano, TX, Director of Marketing and Community Engagement

“It’s a Little Plano in Here and We Like It!” The Real Housewives of Dallas took a swing at Plano, and Shannah turned it into a positive. She even took time to write about it – How a Reality Television Show Supercharged Engagement for the City of Plano, Texas.  Shannah is described by a colleague as a “communications game changer.

Tom Bonfield, City of Durham, NC, City Manager

Fun Fact: Tom was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1977. He did not become the next Reggie Jackson so Tom landed in local government. While Pensacola, FL city manager, Tom encountered the most difficult decision of his career which involved the Confederate flag. Read about here. Tom has steadied the ship in Durham and embraced open data initiatives.

51 to 60

Chad Doran, City of Appleton, WI, Communications Director


A former television reporter Chad has quickly taken to local government. He launched the successful “Appycademy“, transformed Appleton’s social media presence, and most importantly, shared his insight along the way. Chad shared tips for becoming Twitter verified when many of us thought the process was a secret never to be revealed. Chad is a nationwide leader in active engagement, instead of sitting in his office, he is live tweeting ride-alongs with the snow plow crews and creating a citizen’s academy that goes beyond a classroom.

Chris Hsiung, City of Mountain View, CA, Police Captain

Chris is an expert on law enforcement social media, community engagement, crisis communications and digital strategy. He brings the perfect mix of experience in police work and technology when communities are desiring to relationships with their police force.

Darrin Tangeman, Pueblo West, District Manager

Darrin has become an unofficial spokesperson for veterans working in local government. He worked hard to land his current role, and once in the role, began to pay it forward to other veterans. This year, Darrin launched the Veterans Local Government Management Fellowship which is being supported by ELGL and ICMA. Two veterans have been selected as the inaugural fellows.

Jennifer Davies, City of Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas residents love their city’s communications especially their social media. Jennifer keeps Las Vegas a step ahead of other local governments by incorporating the latest platforms. The Daily Dose is broadcast on Periscope and Facebook and is a news source for many in the city as evident in these two citizen comments – “Daily Dose on Facebook is an important part of my morning routine” and “The Daily Dose keeps me updated on what’s going on even though I’m living in Mesa, AZ”

Katie Baker, Washington County, TN, County Commissioner

#13Percent? Not quite in this Tennessee County. Dr. Baker stands alone on the county commission, where she is the lone female commission of 25. This hasn’t prevented Dr. Baker from becoming a leader on the commission while continuing her duties as a professor at East Tennessee State University.

Leann Castillo, National Trail Parks and Recreation District, Director

Leann was named the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association Professional of the Year in 2014. Her professionalism and work ethic has set a high standard for parks and recreation professionals.

Leisha DeHart-Davis, UNC School of Government Professor

Leisha supports women in local government and creates space and coursework for MPA students, UNC Chapel Hill alums, and community members to wrestle with diversity, inclusion, and bias. Her support and encouragement has prompted her past students to not sit back and to engage in important conversations in their organizations all over the Country.

Lindsey Horvath, City of West Hollywood, CA, City Councilor

Mayor Horvath has stood up for gay rights, increased walkability, and advocated for diversity. Under her tenure, West Hollywood created the first-ever West Hollywood Community Response Team to Domestic Violence; West Hollywood was named “The Most Walkable” city in the entire state; and West Hollywood become the first in the nation to impose financial sanctions on Arizona for its discriminatory, anti-immigration SB-1070 law.

Liz Brisson, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Project Manager

As co-founder and Board President of a start-up advocacy group called Transport Oakland. Liz was instrumental in getting Oakland to create a Department of Transportation. In her day job, Liz is a SFMTA transportation planner involved with planning a second transbay rail crossing.

Randy Ealy, City of Beaverton, OR, Chief Administrative Officer


Just Do It! Randy was the point person in the city’s successful effort to keep Nike in town. (Ask to see his tattoo next time you see Randy.) He’s the clubhouse leader in most informational interviews given to MPA students.

61 to 70

Betsy Fretwell, City of Las Vegas, NV, City Manager

Vegas, Baby! Imagine managing the daily interactions of the City of Las Vegas, Betsy has since 2009. She oversees an organization, which has nearly 3,000 employees and a budget of $1.2 billion. During her tenure, Betsy reduced the structural deficit of the city by more than 80 percent, oversaw the construction of a new city hall, and retained an “AA” bond rating.

Geoff Fruin, City of Iowa City, IA, City Manager

Pearl Jam fan, and now, city of manager of Iowa City. Geoff has worked his way up in local government through hard work, results, and relationships.

Michael Brown, City of Hillsboro, OR, City Manager

Under Michael’s leadership, Hillsboro has become one of the best places to work in the Portland area. He is leaving an impact on the next, next generation through creative internship programs with high schools and community colleges. Michael is committed to creating a workforce representative of the Hillsboro community.

Phil Smith-Hanes, Ellis County, KS, County Manager

Phil is described by colleagues as “Eloquent, Funny, and Succinct.” His article on being a gay county manager gave hope and a voice to those who feel isolated or confined by local government.

I get it. I spend way more of my time trying to provoke culture change within my own organization than I do “being gay.” When I’m not working, watching football with a cat on my lap sounds like a much more immediately gratifying use of my time than trying to lead a movement for increased gay visibility. And when I look for a new job, I’m self-conscious about when and how to bring up this part of my identity. I doubt other local government professionals are any different.

Rashad Young, Washington, DC, City Administrator

Rashad has the pleasure and challenge of managing the District of Columbia (also known as the 51st state). Previously, he served as Alexandria, VA first African American city manager.

Scott Lazenby, City of Lake Oswego, OR, City Manager

Perhaps the best known fiction writer in local government, Scott has influenced the profession through his book Playing with Fire and through Sandy Fiber, the fiber optic network created while Scott was city manager of Sandy, OR.

Susan Sherman, City of Olathe, KS, Assistant City Manager

Susan’s name is one of the first mentioned when local government professionals are asked about their mentors. She’s impacted the staff in Olathe and professional nationwide through her volunteer work with ICMA.

Tim Keane, City of Atlanta, GA, Commissioner

During his tenure, the Planning and Community Development department has launched the Atlanta City Studio (a pop-up studio at the Ponce City Market), received Choice Neighborhood Grant and Promise designation from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Office of Housing, and held the first annual Customer Appreciation Day.

Tom Lundy, Former Catawba County, County Manager

Tom has a mentoring tree as big as famed UNC basketball coach Dean Smith. Tom’s greatness was summarized in a recent article about his retirement, “Tom Lundy began his career as one of the youngest county managers in the state and ended it as the longest serving manager in North Carolina.”

Wade Walcutt, City of Greensboro, NC, Parks Director

New programming and special events, opening the Griffin Recreation Center, and planning for LeBauer Park, Wade has been lauded for his clear vision for Greensboro parks. For his work, Wade was recognized nationally as an outstanding professional by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.

71 to 80

Alex McIntyre, City of Menlo Park, CA, City Manager

From California to Oregon to California, Alex’s career has created an entire family of local government professionals who speak about Alex with a reverence rarely seen. Alex is currently managing the city which happens to be the headquarters of Facebook. If anyone build a relationship with Zuckerberg, our money is on Alex.

Brian Ligon, City of Round Rock, TX

Brian can say more with pictures and videos and do it better than some people standing at a podium. He’s is a mulit-media specialist for Round Rock, TX in charge of the video, photos and graphics work for the city.

Chris Floore, Macon-Bibb County, GA, Assistant to the County Manager

Chris is an exceptional communicator with technical skills allowing him to communicate concisely and efficiently with the community. He has demonstrated his strengths in crisis communication, brand management, and clear communication of day to day government operations.

The Macon-Bibb County Government can resemble Pawnee’s at times, but Chris Floore is integral to its successes and to making sure the community is informed and involved. More importantly, since he is so plugged into the community, he makes sure local government is aware of the community’s concerns.

Dan Biles, Jefferson County, AL, Deputy County Manager

Dan is a key liaison to the County Manager and elected officials which allows staff to focus on other tasks. He is excellent at taking performance data and metrics and translating it into reports that elected officials can see accomplishments and challenges.

Mark Rohloff, City of Oshkosh, WI, City Manager

Since 2008, Mark has transformed the city into a customer-oriented service organization through collaborative strategic planning, employee engagement, and continuous improvement initiatives. His biggest accomplishment? His son Jason is considering a career in local government.

Matt Bronson, City of Grover Beach, CA, City Manager


In 2016, Matt landed his first city manager gig. He is built to succeed with his large network of peers and a dedication to embracing technology and improving communication in local government.

Randy Recklaus, Village of Arlington Heights, IL, Village Manager

Perhaps the only local government professional who can articulate the origin of the “assistant to the city manager” position, Randy is one of the most accessible city managers in the profession. His emotional IQ is perfectly suited for building relationships with elected officials.

Robert Johnston, City of Frederick, OK, City Manager

For 23 years, the residents of Frederick have gained from the leadership of Robert. In 2010, the Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma awarded Robert with the outstanding career achievement award for the development of a trade association for cities and towns and that action resulted in the development of the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority.

Ron Carlee, City of Charlotte, NC and ICMA

Recently departed from the City of Charlotte, Ron embraced difficult issues during his tenure including HB2 and the arrest and conviction of ex-mayor Patrick Cannon.

Tom O’Rourke, Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, Executive Director

Tom is responsible for the oversight of a 10,000 acre park system consisting of a wide array of parks, programs and services. He’s influenced park professionals through his involvement with the South Carolina Recreation and Parks Association, The National Parks and Recreation Association, and The National Association of County Park and Recreation Professionals.

81 to 90

Becky Elias, Seattle King County Environmental Health Department, Program Manager

Becky led a project and implemented a public/university partnership to standardize inspection practices and results to deliver more reliable information to the public seeking to make informed dining decisions. The experiment’s impact was so positive that the method has now been expanded from the 24-person pilot to the entire food program of 60 individuals, with staff doing one day of peer review inspections each month. Becky is an energetic leader with lots of integrity and intelligence and I was so impressed after hearing about what she accomplished in Seattle! She was able to make her staff feel like they were part of positive project to improve their culture, effectiveness and better protect the safety of residents, as opposed to victims of a witch-hunt looking to find poor performers.

Christian Williams, City of Goodyear, AZ, City Manager’s Office

While others shyed away from writing about race in local government, Christian penned a five-piece series on growing up black and how they has impacted him throughout his life. We subscribe to his theory “to make people uncomfortable” in talking about race.

Dan Bourdeau, City of Westland, MI, Chief Information Officer

Dan has deployed solutions that provide uniform access outside of the traditional confines of the municipal offices. City’s employees are empowered to work aggressively in the field with a full complement of technology to provide immediate service, educate the public, document work, and remediate matters to ensure the highest level of safety and quality of life are maintained in the City.

Eric Peterson, Town of Hillsborough, NC, Town Manager

Father, race car driver, town manager, and mentor — These words describe Eric Peterson. Eric has influenced many local government professionals by showing that you can be successful at work and in your personal life. Since 2000, Eric has led the Town’s Slower Is Faster police driving safety program. The program focuses on decision-making behind the wheel and was recently awarded the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s Destination Zero 2016 Officer Traffic Safety Award.

Heather Geyer, City of Wheat Ridge, CO, Administrative Services Director

Heather, who is a Knope of the Week recipient, is a role model to many local government professionals. Jon Johnson, Center for Priority Based Budgeting, describes that impact.

“In 30 years of working in local government, Heather is truly one of the best in the business. I respect her knowledge, value her experience, appreciate her values and am impressed by her dedication to serving her community. I am proud to know her and have learned so much from our work together over the last few years. No one is more deserving of this recognition than my colleague Heather.”

Jamie Verbrugge, City of Bloomington, MN, City Manager

Making a difference guided city manager’s career choices” – Jamie’s passion for local government was fueled by an incident 20 years ago in which a simple “thank you” spearheaded a career worth of inspiration.

Judy Steele, City/County of Denver, Deputy Director

Judy lead her department is setting up a recreational marijuana licensing system, which at the time was and still is groundbreaking in the country. Her and the City/County’s work established a framework for other states regarding marijuana legislation, record-keeping and retention obligations. She led the project to put in place crucial technology infrastructure that saves millions of dollars, allows staff to keep up the increased volume of applications, boosts processing times, and improves customer service.

Kelly McAdoo, City of Hayward, CA, City Manager

#365daysofthankfulness is what you’ll find when you follow Kelly on Twitter. The City of Hayward showed that they were thankful to Kelly by appointing her as city manager in 2016.

Pam Antil, City of Santa Barbara, CA, Assistant City Manager

Pam has been in the local government profession for over 25 years and continues to display enthusiasm for our profession. She has influenced women in the profession by founding the League of Women in Government.

Troy Brown, City of Tracy, CA, City Manager

Troy, a 20 year veteran of local government, has served in the cities of Livermore, Santa Clarita, Riverside, Tracy and Elk Grove. “Troy is one of the most professional managers I have ever worked with,” said Marc Roberts, Livermore City Manager.

91 to 100

Ashley Monroe, Village of Hoffman Estates, IL, Assistant to the Village Manager

Nominated by a number of her peers, Ashley secured a spot on the list with this brief description submitted by one of her peers. “She interviewed me for a position with Hoffman Estates. I didn’t get the job but she was a fantastic interviewer!!!”

Craig Owens, City of Clayton, MO, City Manager

Named “one of the 10 most influential people“, Craig was the recipient of the Professional Management Award from the Missouri City Management Association in 2016.

Dan Weinheimer, Routt County, CO, Assistant County Manager

In 2016, after leaving his impact on Fort Collins, CO, Dan accepted a position with Routt County, CO. Throughout his career, Dan has been accessible and willing to share advice on navigating the local government career ladder.

Emily Gibson, Montgomery County, VA, Planning Director

Emily has been praised by co-workers and professional colleagues for her commitment to local government planning. She’s been active in leadership roles in the Virginia chapter of the American Planning Association.

Eric Norenberg, City of Milford, DE, City Manager

A recent job transition from Ohio to Delaware leaves Eric in position to impact another community. Previously, Eric had been the city manager of Oberlin, Ohio.

Gail Sumi, League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Engagement and Communications Director

Social media is a powerful tool, while most league associations devote limited resources to social media. The League of Wisconsin Municipalities are embraced the power of social media by sharing key articles, job announcements, and events. Also, we commend the LWM for creating internships to cultivate the next generation of Wisconsin leaders.

Jay Socol, City of College Station, TX, Director of Public Communication

Jay’s management style is described, as being something most of us who embrace: “a hallmark of Jay’s communication and management style is to include fun and humor whenever possible.” In the world of local government communications, Jay is one of the top resources.

Jesse Day, Piedmont Triad Regional Council, Planning Director

Since 2006, Jesse worked for the Piedmont Triad Regional Council. His work has shaped the Triad and influenced those in the public and private sector. Jesse’s work was rewarded in 2016 when he was named Planning Director.

Kristen Waggener, City of Lenexa, KS, Communications Specialist

Kristen’s influence was seen far and wide during the recent Trending Now! competition. More than 100 residents submitted entries about how Lenexa has built community through their communication efforts, especially their social media presence.

Timothy Martin, City of Roanoke, VA

Tim manages the city’s award-winning Social Media Center featuring more than 40 social media pages from many of Roanoke’s departments, divisions, and offices. He has been recognized with numerous awards including “Top Social Media Advocate in Government”, “Best Use of Humor in Government”, and “Best Use of Facebook.”

ELGL Management Team Members Receiving Votes

  • Ben DeClue, City of Lebanon, MO
  • Ben McCready, Town of Normal, IL
  • Ben Kittelson, Guilford County, NC
  • Bobbi Nance, Park District of Oak Park
  • Brian Southey, Village of Elk Grove, IL
  • Bridget Doyle, City of Sterling Heights, MI
  • Carly Lorentz, City of Wheat Ridge, CO
  • Julie Underwood, City of Daly City, CA
  • Lauren Stott, Village of DeKalb, IL
  • Eric Ameigh, City of Boulder, CO
  • Kent Wyatt, City of Tigard, OR
  • Kirsten Wyatt, ELGL Executive Director
  • Matt Yager, City of Plano, TX
  • Mike Ekey, City of Raymore, MO
  • Patrick Rollens, City of Corvallis, OR
  • Rebecca Olson, City of Shoreview, MN
  • Sarah Hazel, City of Charlotte, NC
  • Stacy Schweikhart, City of Kettering, OH
  • Alix Bowman

    Good morning! Great list, but you might want to fact check your understanding of HB2 (see Jennifer Roberts, City of Charlotte, NC, Mayor). Mayor Roberts did try to extend nondiscrimination ordinances to transgender citizens and HB2 was the NC GOP backlash against it. I would guess that Mayor Roberts is definitely not “the face of support of HB2” but rather the face of the opposition against it. Cheers!

  • city zen

    Cant fathom how the youngest big city mayor in the country isnt on this list.

    • ELGL

      Howdy – who *is* the youngest big city mayor? Thanks for the clarification.