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360 Review with Mitch Foster, Village of Kingsley, MI

Posted on December 31, 2014


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Quick Take: Mitch Foster, Kingsley, MI, Village Manager

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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.

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.

Evaluator

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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? 

tumblr_mi4xjbtPcQ1s5pfl1o1_500Mumford 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.

Evaluation

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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.funny-picture-we-wet-our-plants-555x432

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?

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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?

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  • 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.

Supplemental Reading

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360 Review – Archives

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