Quick Take: Mitch Foster, Kingsley, MI, Village Manager
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.
ELGL has become “smitten with the mitten” as we continue to build our membership base throughout the Midwest. We encountered Mitch Foster, Village of Kingsley, MI, through our “Back to the Future” event with ICMA. Ever since, Mitch (LinkedIn and Twitter) has stepped up whenever he has been asked to contribute to ELGL including serving on our Michigan advisory board. Today, Mitch plays the role of HR manager in giving his performance evaluation of local government.
Your hometown? What is it best known for?
Big Rapids, MI: Ferris State University and the Muskegon River
What are you afraid of? Failure
Which bands would play at your retirement party?
Mumford and Sons as well as the Zac Brown Band
Best holiday gift that you’ve received? Given? I received a trip to Cancun and the best gift I have given is a handmade table.
Best part of working in the local government arena. Most frustrating?
Best: The interactions with the community as they embrace you.
Frustrating: Working within some of the archaic rule structures.
Describe the current state of local government.
Local government has made it through what some refer to as a winter in the United States and we are hopefully entering a Spring. Things are beginning to come around with regards to revenue increasing and people beginning to become more positive about tomorrow.
Give us three areas in which local government is succeeding.
- Adjusting to the changing business climate
- Making difficult choices that make positive improvement for the future
- Providing excellent services at a bare minimum cost
Give us three areas in which local government needs improvement.
- Recruiting the next generation of employees
- Staying up-to-date on the Tech side
- Reaching out for input from all stakeholders and citizens
For local government, was there any good that came from the Great Recession?
Increased resiliency that will help any time an issue or problem arises.
Evaluate whether local government is prepared for the ongoing wave of retirements.
They are not prepared currently, but have an opportunity to work with high schools, colleges and universities to prepare the next generation of skilled workers for the profession.
Evaluate local government’s willingness to embrace new technologies.
As a whole, we are struggling, but I believe everyone acknowledges the need to improve in the Technology world, they just don’t know how to.
Wave a magic wand – what three wishes would you grant local government?
- Increased infrastructure funding
- A thriving economy with increased investment in communities
- A less partisan environment at state and federal legislatures
Give a brief evaluation of your state government and the Federal government.
Both have become too partisan to get anything important accomplished.
- Michigan Local Government Management Association
- Village plans to put Kingsley on the map
- Kingsley Co-Op Slated for Demolition
- Kingsley moves forward with economic development strategy
- NMU student youngest delegate at state GOP convention
- Elections go to revote
360 Review – Archives
- Josh Dukelow, Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce
- Ashleigh Weeden, SWEA
- Lee Jay Feldman, Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission
- Carlos Moreno, Code for Tulsa
- Andrew Opalewski, City of Troy, MI
- Shawn Ahmadi, Socrata
- Ryan Mannion, SeeClickFix
- Matt Huffaker, City of Walnut Creek, CA
- Katie Babits, City of Veneta, OR
- Chad Doran, City of Appleton, WI