The April Confidential: Local Government Storytelling

Posted on April 1, 2015

Kent Wyatt – LinkedIn and Twitter – provides the latest in local government, pop culture, and random musings in this members-only post. 

April 26

Storytelling About San Antonio Government

You know about the Riverwalk in San Antonio but you’re probably less familiar with the history of city’s local government. Here’s a two-part read on San Antonio governance.

Part I: The beauty of San Antonio’s forms of governance

Part II: Patronage system, rule by elite classes led to change

Tweet! Tweet! 

Make sure to follow our new public affairs assistants on Twitter: Rebecca Olson and LaVita Tuff.

Hot 5 Reads

Gay Marriage Case Caps Cincinnati’s Shift From Conservative Past

Where Americans don’t know how to write checks


Mac N’ Cheese

This one is for any parent who has been at a restaurant, ordered mac n’ cheese for kids, and then witnessed a screaming fit when the mac n’ cheese arrives and it is not bright orange. Link: Orange You Glad Kraft Mac and Cheese Won’t Be Synthetically Day-Glo Colored Anymore?

Farewell, Goodbye to Jos. A Banks

Hat tip to Matt Yager for sending along the latest on Jos. A. Bank’s and their seemingly endless “Buy 1, Get 7 Suits Free” sale. My favorite gimmick was when they offered a free cell phone with the purchase of a suit. I was a Jos. A. Banks fan before they went off their rocker. I have a number of vintages suits from their that have held up since I graduated college in 2000. Anyway, I no longer at Jos. A. Banks since the place reeks of your grandmother’s attic.
Link: Say goodbye to Jos. A. Bank’s crazy suit discounts

Job Drop

Here are a few job openings for your viewing pleasure.
GIS Coordinator, West Valley Water District
Executive Director, South Willamette Economic Development Corporation
Digital Marketing Administrator, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Economic Development and Revitalization Manager, City of Greenville, NC

April 25

Hot 5 Reads


The Future Of Bike Sharing: Becoming Part Of Public Transit

Is Jägermeister Hip Now?

Trapped Into Selling Magazines Door-to-Door

The Secret History Of The War On Public Drinking

Congratulations, America. You’ve finally worked long enough to pay your taxes for the year

Job Alert!

Main Street Program Manager, Newton, NC

Fun Fact

86 city employees earn more than Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. Portland salary database: Why a fired administrator earned $371,353


Hat tip to Pete Olson for bringing to our attention the Indiana Municipal Management Association Weekly Review. Check it out. You may notice some familiar items.

Lean In

images (2)
That’s right….our next book club selection is “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. Sarah Hazel, City of Charlotte, will lead the discussion. You can check out the book from your local library or buy it used for $5.95 at Amazon.

April 23

It’s Still Real To Me

I dare you to find a better YouTube video than this one. Go ahead, give it a try.


Makin’ a List, Checkin’ it Twice

The list that everyone has been waiting for, that’s right, a top 10 list for the top city managers on Twitter. The first list generated so much interest that Clear Point released a second list. A few highlights:

City manager Sam Anselm of Joplin, Missouri, was suggested to us via Twitter. Sam Taylor, an assistant city administrator in Ferndale, Washington, claims that Anselm is the “most accessible CM [he] know[s] to anyone interested in local gov.

Southwest Emerging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) let us know that our list of city managers was incomplete without Clay Pearson. 

Eric Peterson, the town manager for Hillsborough, North Carolina, comes recommended by Kristen Wyatt, who is the co-founder of Emerging Local Government Leaders (ELGL). He tweets a great deal about additions to the city, pictures of citizens and city leaders working hand in hand, and personal stories and updates.

The list highlight a couple of things — 1. there is a lack of women city managers on Twitter, 2. many city managers are missing the boat by neglecting Twitter as a communication outlet. Twitter seems to have a humanizing effect on city managers who make an effort.
Speaking of accessibility, how about this news article on the city manager in Florida who goes door-to-door to get residents involved.

How to Make an NBA Game Interesting

I would be bored out of my mind too if I was at a first round NBA playoff game.


True or False?

Hat tip to new member Mike Ekey for tweeting this gem – Study: Doc McStuffins More Evidence-Based Than Dr. Oz. Without Twitter, I would be deprived of this type of entertainment. 

No Hangin’ Chads Here

Via Shaun Walker, Moscow Correspondent of the Guardian.
Huge suspense in Kazakhstan, where any one of these three candidates could win Sunday’s election.

Hot 5 Reads

Remembering Howard Cosell: Why Did He Become So Disillusioned With Sports?
Trapped Into Selling Magazines Door-to-Door
Stumptown Unveils Canned Nitro Cold Brew
Mother left a legacy for NFL prospect Zack Hodges
Retracing John Wilkes Booth’s escape route

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

A couple of  jobs that were tweeted at us this week.
Project Manager, Pyramid Communications
Associate Director, Project on Municipal Innovation, Harvard University

April 19

Let’s Blow the Mancover Off the Mother

This video takes the early lead for my favorite of the year.
WATCH: Explosion in NY sewer sends manhole cover flying


Memes and Inspector Gadget

Apparently Inspector Gadget is alive. Netflix has resurrected the Inspector and his friends, so while my kids waste away watching iPad on a perfect 70 degree weather day I create Memes. That’s the secret to parenting, right there.
kcmna (1)


Those Pesky Clipboards

I’m not a fan of the NBA for many reasons. One of them is illustrated by the coaching in this short clip.


Hot 5 Reads

How NPR Tote Bags Became a Thing
City of Boston Holds Up Diversity Mirror and Sees Flaws
The Government Might Not Give You A Tax Refund, But Pizza Hut Will (Maybe)
ESPN, first in sports broadcasting — and maybe staff suspensions
As police body cameras catch on, a debate surfaces: Who gets to watch?

April 14

Can’t Get Enough Of….

That video. If you are like me, you’ll keep rewinding this one for a little while. If I am ever winning a race by that much, I would skip to the finish line.
Link: Watch: Oregon runner’s premature celebration results in embarrassing loss

Hot 5 Reads

A Coloring Book for City Lovers

Paris is asking its citizens to decide how it spends €500m by 2020

Twitter’s most influential political journalists

A sporting nirvana, 365 days a year

A Field Guide to the American Sandwich

Happy (or Sad) Equal Pay Day

I don’t think we’re supposed to celebrate the wage gap. Anyway, here’s a few of the best articles celebrating/mourning unequal pay.
On Equal Pay Day, key facts about the gender pay gap
Life Before Equal Pay Day: Portrait of a Working Mother in the 1950s
#13Percent: It’s More Than Just A Number by Karen Pinkos

Passing the Buck on Boosting the Number of Women in Local Government Leadership


Job Alert

The City of Wilsonville, OR is hiring a Transit Program & Planning Intern.
Will County Center for Economic Development in Joliet, IL seeks a Business Relations Manager.

April 13

Mr. or Mrs. Executive

The Association of Washington Cities is hiring a Chief Executive Officer. Maybe you should apply… it!

Bring It

City of Rowlett, Texas has brought it in their latest YouTube video. The video is a high energy pitch for a March Clean-Up Campaign.

Hot 5 Reads

Why a Seattle Suburb Legally Defined What a ‘Family’ Is

Call it Big Data’s Big Dig — $75m, 19 years, still not done

Think Walter Scott’s death is ‘another Ferguson’? Cops don’t.

Duel in the Sun

What We Can Learn From the Police That Pioneered Body Cameras
The New Swatch Watch
download (5)I am confused over interest in the new Apple Watch. I have tried to convince myself that I need it but I can’t come up with a good reason. I don’t even wear a watch because I can just look at my phone.
Here are a few of the early reviews of the Apple Watch.

The first wave of Apple Watch apps may suck

11 surprises I learned about the Apple Watch

Apple Watch: the definitive review – The Verge

If sales are really bad and they drop the price, maybe we’ll give them away at #ELGL15.

April 9

Groovin’ and Golfin’ 

I am not a fan of watching or playing golf but I can appreciate this interesting dance spotted at the Master’s.

And then we had another golf go “Bo Jackson” on his club.

Tweetin’ Jobs

A few of you tweeted jobs at ELGL today. For a lil’ added exposure, I am including them here.
Human Resources Director, Clackamas County, OR
Public Works Director, Beaverton, OR

Hot 5 Reads


Where Minority Populations Have Become the Majority

This Map Shows Every State Where Women Are More Likely to Live in Poverty Than Men

This Quiz Makes The California Drought Even Scarier Than It Already Is

When Cops Cry Wolf

Russia just made a ton of Internet memes illegal

City Puppets

The Lakeville Puppets was one of the many takeaways from ELGL’s interview with Michael Grass, Route Fifty. I’ve watched a couple of the puppet videos and I’m undecided on how I feel about them. You can be the judge by checking them out here.

ELGL is excited to explore partnership opportunities with Route Fifty. We’ll be represented in their launch by an article from Kirsten.

April 8

Hot 5 Reads

Funding Challenges in Highway and Transit

The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Municipal Mascot

The rich get government handouts just like the poor. Here are 10.

Can Reforming Barbershops Improve Black Boys’ Literacy?
Lots of Philadelphia Sidewalks Are in Horrible Shape — How to Fix Them

Fast and Furious

A Tigard Police officer is making national news for his close call with a distracted driver. Check it.  WATCH: Tigard cop on motorcycle narrowly misses oncoming car


April 7

Fan Club

When I was growing up I was part of the Michael Jordan Fan Club. Membership came along with a somewhat official looking card and a t-shirt that was two sizes too big. Post MJ Fan Club, I had a brief flirtation with the Pearl Jam club, but then, my fan club days were gone or so I thought.
A few weeks ago while scrolling through Twitter I encountered the Infrastructure Fan Club. I thought it couldn’t be real, it must a scam operation run out of Nigeria. But, as luck would have it, Alison Hellberg connected us with the founder of the Infrastructure Fan Club a few days later.  Today, it came full circle when we had lunch with one of the founders. The Fan Club was created by engineers who want to provide a different take on our country’s infrastructure woes. Turns out they have better t-shirts than the Michael Jordan fan club and are probably a more strategic partner than the MJ fan club.
We’ll work with the Infrastructure Fan Club as we roll our infrastructure initiative – #WeBuiltThisCity. As for now, I’ll sell this t-shirt for $200. Must be able to pick up. No refunds.

Hot 5 Reads

A surge in turnout elected two new, black city council members in Ferguson

As America Diversifies, So Should Government Jobs From Top to Bottom

Legal Wild Card Threatens Marijuana Cases

How Bloomberg’s Still Changing the Way Cities Operate

No more playing nice: California names, shames water wasters


Wonkin’ Out on Colorado Local Government

Hat tip to Torie Brazitis, Lone Tree, CO, for tweeting us video of a recent events on Building & Sustaining Relationships at City Hall.
Facilitated by Sam Mamet, Executive Director of the Colorado Municipal League. Panelists are Darin Atteberry (Fort Collins City Manager), Michael Penny (Littleton City Manger), Roy Otto (Greeley City Manager), Kathie Novak (Former Mayor of Northglenn), & Doug Hutchinson (Former Mayor of Fort Collins).

April 6

Hot 5 Reads

From Twitter to Instagram, a different #Ferguson conversation
The NFL’s ransom: New stadium, or else

NLV’s move to outsource human resources sparks walkout, criticism

Ajo, Arizona: A Small Town Pushed to the Brink, and Coming Back

Utah city threatens fines over kids’ cardboard castle, calling it ‘junk’

On Wisconsin!

Make no mistake I’ll be pulling for the Badgers tonight. Growing up in North Carolina I learned quickly that Dook is a dirty word. Dook is obviously located in North Carolina but most of their students come from out-of-state. My feelings are similar to the author of To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever.

download (9)



April 4

Final Four

My interest in college basketball dwindled when I became a dad and realized that I should stop obsessing over 18-year old athletes. Instead of spending this Saturday camped out in front of the television, we headed to Manzanita for QT (quality time) with the family.
So move over basketball, you’ve been replaced a #CityHallSelfie
I also found out that Manzanita has not caught onto the Netflix craz yet.


Another reason to not stay inside watching television is you’ll miss gems like this.

What’s Your Favorite Heavy D Song?

Why, thanks for asking, I am partial to this classic.


Hot 5 Reads

Marijuana-friendly lodging fires up in Colorado

Most People Don’t Want to Be Managers

Lessons from DotGov Design Conference: How to merge government and good design

Hoosiers’ message to the nation:We’re not what you think we are

California Dream Meets Dry Reality

April 3

Hey Jealousy

Let me be the first to admit my jealousy over the City of Appleton, WI being verified on Twitter. Our friend Chad Doran is responsible for gaining one of social media’s finest distinctions. Luckily, Chad is willing to share his experience getting Appleton verified. Stay tuned…until then follow Appleton on Twitter.
Speaking of Twitter, Deion Sanders put Deion Sanders Jr. in his place via this Twitter burn.

Hot 5 Reads

Brown’s drought edict hits some cities harder than others

Ajo, Arizona: A Small Town Pushed to the Brink, and Coming Back

Dog somehow survives after being hit by car and getting stuck in the bumper for 248 MILES

March Sadness: When athletes cry

As Quakes Rattle Oklahoma, Fingers Point

April 2

Return of the Mac

Each time I attend a Mac’s List event I can’t get that song out of my head. Luckily, Emily Leuning and I refrained from unleashing any of the lyrics at the launch of the Mac’s List book. (Here’s our review of the book.) We were invited to the event as ELGL was dubbed one of the top networking groups in the Mac’s List book. Emily and I represented while munching on mini-sandwiches and non-Charles Shaw wine.
We set up shop on this nifty lil’ table. We were quickly outed by one of the attendees for giving away books that we had taken off our bookshelf. Once an old postcard fell out of the book, we were doomed.
Post event, Mac Prichard was awarded a Super Thank which is a new project devoted to thanking those who have made a difference.

Hot 5 Reads

Can Oregon’s tiny houses be part of the solution to homelessness?

The Legacy of a Chicago Suburb’s Failed Fight for School Desegregation

How Surprises Help Babies Learn

In Indiana, hysteria as a bludgeon

The Secret Life of Passwords


Worth the watch — Empowering New Perspectives: Detroit


Need a Job?

Here you go. Link: Local Government Specialist (100%) – Local Government Center (LGC) in Wisconsin

April 1

1st of the Month

Let’s kick off the month like we always do…..

Hot 5 Reads

Working-mom guilt? Many dads feel it too
61,000 bridges are structurally deficient 

High Costs May Explain Crumbling Support for U.S. Infrastructure

Seattle Public Art Project Only Appears When It Rains…
Ghosts of North Wilkesboro

Can’t We All Get Along – Local Government and Non-Profits

UT-Arlington professor and ELGL member Colleen Casey wants your participation in a brief survey.  The purpose of the brief survey is to learn more about how you, as a professional in local government, interact with nonprofit organizations.

Watch Your Language!

Sightline highlights how to eliminate outdated policy terms from your Vernacular.


Not Quite Reno 9-1-1

Omaha Police has put together a recruitment video that has me fired up and ready to join (if I wasn’t scared of guns, blood, and bad guys.) H/T to Pete Olson for sending this one.

Close window