4/29/17: Laugh, Think, and Cry

Posted on April 2, 2017

ELGL co-founder Kent Wyatt (LinkedIn & Twitter) is straight bloggin’ about those things that will make you laugh, think, and cry. He’s also giving ‘props’ to members who are making a difference. And occasionally, he might ask for a small favor.

“If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that … to have something special.” – Jim Valvano

Saturday, April 29

Hamilton was so good that I took a week off from blogging. I am spending my time with you today before the much anticipated “Boots and Blings” at my seven-old’s elementary school. A “who has the biggest bank account” will break out later tonight when a reserved parking space in front of the school is auctioned off. The Wyatt family will not be bidding on the parking space. I like to tell my kids that we need the exercise and don’t want to park close to the school. We also don’t like to pay thousands of dollars for a parking space.

Onto the action from this week.


Migos took on “Llama Llama” and won. Ludacris tried to top them recently. You be the judge…

Waiting until #ELGL17 to meet Nick Smith might be too much for many of you. Luckily, you can meet Nick on this video as he educates us about the permit process.

An oldie but goodie — Chris Maddox dropped this gem in the ELGL50 Facebook group.

In a packed courtroom, the 52-year-old man told the judge “I am a living man protected by natural law and I have the right to forage for food when I am hungry… You are trying to create a fictitious, fraudulent action.”

Charged with fishing without a license and resisting the arrest for fishing without a license, the accused replied he’s being wrongly prosecuted for trying to feed himself.

The accused was arrested on Monday and is accused of fishing without a license and then resisting arrest.


Option B…what is it? Option B is Sheryl Sandberg’s advice for grieving. I learned about Option B during Katie Couric’s podcast interview with Sheryl Sandberg. I made it through the first seven minutes of the podcast without crying. After that, it was all downhill. I give you a spoiler in what brings the tears – listening to a mom talk about telling her kids that their dad died. Here’s a link to the podcast interview – Sheryl Sandberg: Living Option B – Katie Couric.


So you’re saying there’s a chance. Women are running for office. A lot of women are running for office. Emily’s List estimates Donald Trump’s Presidency has inspired 11,000 women to run for office. I think that’s an obscenely high number, but any increase would be welcome.

And, if you thought the gender gap wasn’t real, you were wrong. Americans Don’t Realize How Big The Gender Leadership Gap Really Is.


ELGL has a cookie guy. Chad Doran, City of Appleton, WI, is in the news for a surprise cookie drop for drivers in construction in Appleton. The cookie guy story was also picked up by USA Today – How about some cookies while you sit in traffic? Yes please!

Saturday, April 22

WE’RE GOING TO HAMILTON! Kirsten and I are visiting San Francisco this weekend, included in those plans is Hamilton. H/T to Andi and Chris Jordan for watching our kids during the show. Full disclosure: I enter tonight’s show as a skeptic. We’ll see if the cast of Hamilton will convert me. I just hope they have a speech prepared for me like they did Mike Pence.

Yesterday, Kirsten and I meet up with a real life award-winning member Rebecca Woodbury, City of San Rafael, CA. Rebecca was named one of the top 25 dreamers, does, and drivers by GovTech. The City of San Rafael gives hope that innovation is possible in local government.


I am in love with our partnership with the Volcker Alliance. ELGL is spreading the word about the “Preparing Tomorrow’s Public Service” survey. You can take the survey and the Volcker Alliance will donate $5 to ELGL. So far, 356 ELGL members have completed the survey.


We. Have. Breaking News!

The League of Oregon Cities (LOC) is in chaos. Loyal readers will remember that I reported – The June Confidential: LOC’s $1 Million Dollar Administrative Fee (with the help of a few others) – that the LOC Executive Director has been successfully in charging excessive dues to Oregon cities and providing little in return.

Multiple people confirm that two key LOC staffers resigned this month. One of these staffers had been rumored to be the replacement for the current executive director. This week, it was confirmed that the Executive Director will be “retiring” from the LOC and a nationwide search will take place for a successor.

Oregon cities deserve better than this.

Update: Tigard Assistant City Manager

First of all, thanks to everyone who was supportive in my decision to apply for the Tigard assistant city manager position. Special thanks to Julie Underwood and Phil Smith-Hanes.

I have been informed that my experience, as ELGL co-founder and 10-year Tigard employee, does not warrant an interview. Obviously, I am disappointed. I am encouraged by the conversations that I’ve had with others who have applied for the position. I am happy to share more offline about my Tigard experience. Also, for those who remain in the process, I am happy to continue to connect you with others who can provide input on their Tigard experience.

I remain committed to using my skills to attract and retain the quality talent in local government. The future is exciting!


Sometimes you can spend too much time preparing.


I am with him.

Patriots’ Alan Branch skips White House visit over Trump’s sexist remarks

“I just felt like I had to say something just because I don’t want my daughters to see me and be like, ‘that’s my dad and he doesn’t believe in women being treated like this,’ because I don’t. I’m very against it and I’d hate for my son, you know, to see me go to the White House and act like it’s okay to do whatever you want if you’re a celebrity,” he said.


Bridget Doyle and her team of #ELGL17 volunteers are killin’ it. The team is working on hard to bring you the best ELGL event experience.

Saturday, April 8

“Oh dear dad
Can you see me now
I am myself
Like you somehow
I’ll ride the wave
Where it takes me
I’ll hold the pain
Release me…”

No, I did not write these words. I am listening to a live version of “Release Me” from Pearl Jam as I type these poetic words about local government. The Migos are on the back burner of my Apple Music list to make way for Pearl Jam, the newly-minted Hall of Famers. If you really love Pearl Jam and you’re in Seattle, here are ten places to check out.

Before you take a deep dive into Pearl Jam, take a deep dive into the words that follow.


I found another opportunity to remind you that UNC won the NCAA basketball tournament. I’ll be searching for these opportunities over the course of the year. Lucky you.

March Madness also captured the attention of the beer industry. Nearly 22,000 votes were cast in a tournament-style contest for the top craft brewery. A North Carolina brewery was edged by our good friends from the Mitten State.

I love live-streaming. I love watching. I love the barriers it breaks down. I love the unintentional comedy resulting from it.

The new BBC Dad is a Latvian mayor whose cat interrupted his live stream


Build a wall! Build a wall! Build a wall! There are many repercussions of such a strategy. The Oregonian writes how “everyone is affected” in Woodburn, Oregon.

Mora runs Zapateria El Jalicience, a clothing store in downtown Woodburn. Men used to come in every Saturday to buy leather boots and cowboy hats for weekend parties.

Then President Donald Trump signed an executive order beefing up immigration enforcement. Federal immigration agents detained 11 men at a Woodburn gas station, leaving workers afraid to go to their jobs and children terrified to attend school.

Boots made of ostrich, crocodile and eel hadn’t been touched in weeks. Mora’s business is down 80 percent this year.

“I depend on people, whether they are legal or illegal,” Mora said in Spanish.

My simplict take: Building a wall neglects the underlying and most important issues associated with illegal immigration. The Oregonian, for once, add values on an important issue with this article.


You would think a story about the first female elected mayor would not be something to cry about. It is. America’s first female mayor was elected 130 years ago. Men nominated her as a cruel joke.

Today’s post is turning into a poetry battle, I guess, as the following came from an anonymous person after the election. This card was decorated with a hand-drawn pair of men’s underwear.

When a woman leaves her natural sphere,
And without her sex’s modesty or fear
Assays the part of man,
She, in her weak attempts to rule,
But makes herself a mark for ridicule,
A laughing-stock and sham.
Article of greatest use is to her then
Something worn distinctively by men —
A pair of pants will do.
Thus she will plainly demonstrate
That Nature made a great mistake
In sexing such a shrew.”

Yet another reason I am glad that I have daughters. Boys are mean.

In the spirit of the name of this post, “Laugh, Think, and Cry”, Monty Williams, who dealt with the death of his wife, urges himself and others dealing with tragedy “you can’t give in“.

This is what the police know: A little after 8 p.m., Ingrid was driving north on a four-lane road in downtown Oklahoma City in the family’s SUV with Faith, then 15; Janna, 13; and Micah.

A sedan driven by a 52-year-old woman named Susannah Donaldson approached from the opposite direction. During the preceding hours, toxicology reports would show, Donaldson had taken a substantial amount of methamphetamine. Police also believe she may have been cradling a dog on her lap. By the time she approached the 1400 block of South Western Avenue, she was in the left lane, going more than twice the posted limit of 40. She swerved to avoid the car in front of her, sending her vehicle across the center line. Impact with Ingrid’s SUV was head-on. Donaldson and the dog died at the scene. The Williams family was rushed to a hospital.

Another reminder of the fraility of life.


Lisa Figueroa, who I turned in one of the best performances on the 1st annual City Hall Selfie Day, is the city recorder for the City of Silverton, OR.

Personal aside: I think the city recorder position is one of the most important position in local government and has the most potential to expand its scope of responsibilities as local government slowly moves into the 21st century. I point to Sam Taylor, City of Coeur d’Alene, ID, Cate Schneider, Multnomah County, OH, and Robyn Christie, City of Bend, OR, who are either current or former city recorders who have added value to their organizations behind the typical city recorder responsibilities.

Back to Lisa, she’s strongly advocating for the Oregon Municipal Association of Recorders to adopt more communication tools – social media, live streaming, etc. Her acknowledging this as an issue is wiser than 90% of professional associations who don’t realize their 1980’s mentality is a problem. A couple questions to ask yourself about your professional associations – when was the last time their website was updated? When, if ever, was the last time they communicated via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram?

There was validity behind Leah Treat’s, director of Portland Bureau of Transportation, comments at #ELGL15 calling professional associations and conferences, “male, pale, and stale.”

Great job, Lisa for refusing to accept the status quo. I, now, step down from my soap box.

Thursday, April 6

We’re off to Hawaii!!! Actually, I’m not but Kirsten departs today for Hawaii 4-0. That’s okay, I match her Hawaii trip with a trip to Charlottesville, VA next week. The Hometown Summit awaits with one of the best conference agendas that I’ve seen. I’m committed to wearing UNC national championship gear everywhere I go in Charlottesville. I am sure UVA fans will be appreciative.


Remember college Spring Break? It’s become ancient history for me. I live and die on the West Linn-Wilsonville School District calendar and its Spring Break which means finding daycare for my kids. Apparently those crazy college kids continue to make bad decisions on their Spring Break.

Quite the year for the University of South Carolina — winning the women’s NCAA basketball title and title for most Spring Break arrests.

Chuckles abound in the ELGL50 Facebook group yesterday. Our good friend Patrick Rollens, City of Corvallis, OR, appeared on television and our award-winning members decided to caption it.

For more chuckles check out the ever-growing Facebook thread.


It shouldn’t take having two daughters to recognize the challenges facing women, but it significantly increased my awareness and desire to see change, especially in local government.

White is purity‘ – take a minute to reflect on what that means to you……………..done reflecting? Nivea did not take much time to reflect before launching the new ad campaign ‘white is purity’:

The German skincare maker’s ad for a deodorant included a picture of a woman and the slogan “white is purity.”

It was posted on Nivea’s Middle East Facebook page with the caption: “Keep it clean, keep it bright. Don’t let anything ruin it.”

The post sparked a backlash, with social media users accusing Nivea of being racist and insensitive.

What was the reaction from the public? “Come on Nivea. This is so racist that I do not even know where to begin. Speechless. In future, refer to clothes or products, not colors,” Scott Bellows posted on Twitter.


My friend Sean Spicer (I shook his hand in DC so we’re basically besties) is skewered in this Daily Show clip.

Despite the ridicule of Mr. Spicer, I refuse to wash the hand that I used to shake Mr. Spicer’s hand.


‘A little less talk, a lot more action…’ Brandi Leos, City of Tigard, OR, is living out this mantra. She’s taking action to change to local government.

Brandi applied for an open seat on the Silverton, OR city council. She was one of the eight candidates who gave a five-minute presentation to Council on why they’d like to on council and what goals they would purse. Brandi must have done well as she was one of three candidates who proceeded to the next round.

Brandi is the future of local government. In Tigard, she brings different ideas and approaches to the typical stale recruitment process of local government. She’s committed to increasing all types of diversity and proposing solutions not obstacles. While changing local government, Brandi is raising two teenage daughters.

Good luck, Brandi, on landing the council spot and raising teenage daughters.

Wednesday, April 5

Let’s do this…today’s another opportunity to change the way that local government operates. (H/T to the work being done by i-Teams throughout the world.) Here’s your morning dose of coffee news before we get started.


Next time you start yelling at a college basketball referee, remember that person may be one of us. I stumbled across this fun fact during the national championship.

I’ve invited Michael to appear on GovLove. Stay tuned.


The NCAA loves talking about student-athletes. They might consider putting more emphasis on proofreading. See if you can find the “oops” in this picture.


Did you hear…Did you hear…UNC won the national championship!!! That’s was Kirsten and I that you heard screaming.

I was stuck on the word “redemption” throughout the NCAA tournament. How does a group of individuals recover from a heartbreaking loss the prior year to regroup and win the following year? I think of this in my personal and professional life. It takes mental strength to keep pushing after a challenge of a setback. For ELGL, this was especially true in our early years (it’s weird that we’re old enough to have early years. H/T to our award-winning members).

When ELGL “launched”, we proposed the idea to the Oregon City County Management Association (OCCMA) who took a hard pass. OCCMA, at the time, did not believe that there were multiple paths to becoming a city manager. They were believers in a traditionalist philosophy – intern, management analyst, assistant department director, director, assistant city manager, and finally, city manager. Learn more in this GovTech podcast.

Both by necessity (lack of a talent pool) and a slow shift in realizing this model was outdated, some local governments have embraced a more progressive model which relies less on “the way things were done” and more on “how they need to be done.”

In this week’s Kittelson’s Corner (which has been ablaze on social media), Ben makes the point that communications should be a core function of local government which I concur with 100%. Communication staff are the new budget analysts. They work with every department and help guide the internal and external message of the organization.


I hate the word “millennial” also known as the m-word. It’s been a vice for stereotyping people based on age. What I don’t hate is this article by Rachel Keyser, Viewpoint Cloud Solutions. Ignore Rachel’s use of the m-word, instead focus on the numerous takeaways including:

  • What if the societal question became, “If you’re a motivated, creative problem-solver looking to make this world a better place, why wouldn’t you work in government?”
  • Like humans, governments are growing and changing with the rest of society. We need to send the message that young people are welcome there, and will be empowered to make change and solve the kinds of problems affecting the daily lives of their communities.
  • There’s also the added benefit that most Millennials don’t expect to see government messaging on social media, making it easier to stand out while also challenging preconceived notions about governments’ “tech-savviness.”
  • “Government” is a catch-all term that needs to be specified into career paths that relate to people’s skills and interests. Once Millennials learn what it means to be a City Manager or a Transportation Planner they can start to make concrete associations about what that job might actually look like.
  • I love Engaging Local Government Leader’s Finding Local Government series. It targets our human instinct to listen to and remember stories, and it also puts a face to the concept of a “government employee.” (Editor’s Note: I am partial to this one.)
  • Humor. I might faint if I saw a truly funny social media post trying to get me to work in local government. Governments are lucky enough to have the bar set very low in this regard, so it wouldn’t take much to catch the attention of a young audience.

This is most non-click bait article that I’ve read on the m-word.

Sunday, April 2

Birthday month begins! I turn the ripe old age of 39 tomorrow. Kirsten is slightly older than me. I won’t reveal her age but I will say that Kirsten departs (without me, kids, or Michael Jordan) on a Hawaii 4-0 trip this week. Rumor has it that Kirsten and her girlfriends made Hawaii 4-0 hats to commemorate the trip.

Before we get started, let’s drink a cup of the world’s most caffeinated coffee.


ELGL members were fired up about the Final Four.

Ethan Cirmo and Friend

Ben Kittelson and Franklin

Me and the GOAT

Some of our more disloyal members (possibly communists) were not rooting again North Carolina. One particular member sent a dagger through my heart as I woke up for another #SundayFunday.

Onward to Monday night!

No words needed. Just nod if you agree….


You’ve registered for #ELGL17, right? If you haven’t, I know who you are – #ELGL17: Guess Who’s Coming to Detroit. The architect of Detroit’s downtown revival is Dan Gilbert. The Dan Gilbert who sent the classy letter to Cleveland fans after Lebron bolted.

So, Mr. Gilbert moved on and removed this beautiful love note once Lebron returned to Cleveland. Depending on who you ask, Dan Gilbert is either a Godsend for Detroit or an evil owner who throws tantrums when things go astray. He’s also not above a bad April Fool’s Day joke – Gilbert tweets he’s buying old Wayne County building in April Fools’ joke.

Gilbert the father, and Gilbert the son

“My dad is 12 years old, and his brother is 10. (He) was born and raised in Detroit, a very poor neighborhood. He is delivering newspapers with his brother, and it’s a foggy day, and his 10-year-old brother gets run over, and it’s a priest who runs him over and kills him. It wasn’t the priest’s fault, and the priest is doing last rites over the body …

Mr. Gilbert will not be appearing at #ELGL17. We will learn more about his impact during our tours of Detroit – Dan Gilbert’s impact on Detroit just keeps growing.

Another person who will not be attending #ELGL17 is Eddie Vedder. You would think the leader of the world’s greatest band would stop by for a brief performance. He couldn’t make time for you but he did make time for the Chicago Cubs.

Eddie Vedder showed up in a Cubs video to pay homage to ‘Bryzzo’


We can all agree that death equals crying. One community has been lucky to avoid death but the outlook is not good.


ELGL members unite! Sara Ott has been selected as the new Aspen, Colorado assistant city manager.

“Sara stood out for her strong background in local government leadership and her impressive research of Aspen and insightful understanding of our community,” City Manager Steve Barwick said in a press release. She also met with many of our senior level managers and received positive feedback from those interactions.”

An article note from the article, “She will be moving with her husband and two small children into city employee housing in Water Place.”

Fun Fact: Michelle Holder also works in Aspen. Michelle is the Management Analyst & Citizens Academy Coordinator.

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