More than 120 professionals have registered for the upcoming Webinar: Women in Local Government. Based on the responses, it’s clear that the issue is not only a female issue but an issue of how local government can and should better represent the community’s demographic. We asked those who registered for the webinar to respond to four questions.
Assistant to the City Administrator, Lebanon, MO
Since 1984, the percent of women in local government managerial roles has not changed from 13%. Which begs the question, “where were you in 1984?”
In 1984 I was 3 so……pre-school?
Describe your view of whether local government has been effective in attracting a diverse workforce (women, minorities, etc.)?
I think that the profession has done an OK job attracting women and minorities into its workforce, but the numbers don’t seem to be bearing that out. That’s the difference between anecdotal/close up view and the view of the profession as a whole I suppose.
Wave a magic wand and give us three suggestions for improving diversity in the local government workforce.
My first suggestion would be to create a LOT more “assistant to” or “management analyst” positions. It was commented on at our Missouri City Managers Association Winter Workshop that the profession is still very flat. It’s tough to attract people to a profession that is this difficult to break into.
My second suggestion would be to secure retirement for anyone who wants to retire, which would also create more opportunity for people to move up/around and therefore create more openings.
Third, I would restore a positive image of government in people’s minds. I think a lot of people have a negative view of any government at any level these days. Hard to attract the best and brightest to the field when kids grow up inundated with media and opinion statements about how dysfunctional and corrupt government is these days.
Who do you look up to in local government?
Doug Harms, City Administrator for Des Peres, MO. Doug is a wonderful administrator and mentor and is going into his 30th year with Des Peres.
Steve Stoll (retired)- I’ve known Steve most of my life and worked for and with him for several years. He started as a City Councilman but eventually went on to serve as a State Representative, State Senator, City Administrator for Festus, MO, and Director of Administration for Jefferson County, MO. He currently serves as a member of the Public Service Commission for the State of Missouri. A great public service career in both local and state government.
Martha Perego, ICMA- Smart, wise, able to advise on the most complicated of ethical issues.