360 Review with Joe Iliff, City of Sanger, TX

Posted on March 10, 2015

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Who doesn’t love a good ol’ fashioned performance review? ELGL loves them so much that we’re embarking on a “360 Review of Local Government.” We’re going to evaluate every single inch of the local government arena by talking to ourselves (a.k.a: other local government professionals), tech companies, journalists, professors, and anyone else who hasn’t blocked our email address.

iliffJoseph Iliff (Linkedin and Twitter) has been the Director of Development Services for the City of Sanger, Texas since July 2008. Prior to that, he amassed a decade of experience in various roles as a planner. He received a pair of Bachelor’s degrees from Ball State University in Urban Planning & Development as well as Environmental Design: City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning.


What I’m Listening to: The Eagles

What I’m Reading: Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work, and What Does, by Susan Fowler

What I’m Watching: This Old House

What I’m Doing: Writing

What I’m Proud of: A new project, the first annual citywide garage sale

What I’m Thinking: That I need to resist the urge to let one negative comment outweigh 1,000 positive ones.

What I’m Afraid of: Starting something too big for me to finish

What I’m Missing: Enough clarity of mind to excel

What I Want to Know From You: The wisdom you have to share



Best part of working in the local government arena. Most frustrating?
Best = I never know what is going to happen until it does.
Frustrating = I never know what is going to happen until it does.

Describe the current state of local government. Grade? B+
Give us three areas in which local government is succeeding:

  • Compromise
  • Direct service delivery
  • Realistic thinking

Give us three areas in which local government needs improvement:

  • Inspiring
  • Communicating
  • Celebrating

For local government, was there any good that came from the Great Recession?
Sure. Some governments got to catch up to the changes coming their way.
Evaluate whether local government is prepared for the ongoing wave of retirements. What could it do to prepare.
Local government is not prepared. We need to find ways to transfer wisdom from generation to generation.
In your opinion, does local government have a lack of diversity in its workforce?
Yes. Local government is full of too much of the same thinking, and not enough incorporating of different points of view.
“Innovation” is a trendy word and thrown around a lot in local government. What examples would you point to as government innovation?
I would point to using tech and social media to, not just connect to customers, but to deliver services to them.
Evaluate local government’s willingness to embrace new technologies:
Local government is hot on the idea; however, it comes across as superficial. You can look toward the lack of investment in technology to find the lack of a real commitment.
Wave a magic wand – what three wishes would you grant local government?

  • Greater attendance at city council and board and commission meetings.
  • Better communication between coworkers.
  • Written and formal leadership succession plans.

What question(s) should we ask the next person that completes this questionnaire?
What is the issue your community is currently facing for which it is the least prepared?

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