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Knope of the Week: Mark Funkhouser, Publisher of Governing

Posted on July 25, 2014


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Half Mayor, Half Father, All Funk

His Twitter bio says it all, “Half mayor, half father, all Funk. Mayor of KCMO from 5/07 to 5/11. Publisher of GOVERNING.” The man behind that bio is Mark Funkhouser and he is the Knope of the Week. His credentials are impeccable from city auditor to Mayor of Kansas City to publisher of Governing. 

ELGL and the Portland State University Center for Public Service hosted an evening with Mark Funkhouser at Base Camp Brewery last week. A standing room only crowd composed of seasoned professionals, mid-career staffers, and students enjoyed informal and formal remarks from Mark. In his remarks, Mark highlighted three cities to watch in 2040, the impact of Google Fiber on localities, and the three “L’s.”

Event Recap: What We Learned From Mark Funkhouser

Unofficial Picture Show: A Night of Funk(houser)

Official Picture Show: The David Nguyen Collection: A Night of Funk(houser)

Word on the Street

Mary Beth Henry, City of Portland, Director at Office for Community Technology & Mt Hood Cable Regulatory Commission

“I was impressed with his resiliency after he lost the Mayoral re-election.  He networked and got a great job and moved to DC.  He talked about the importance of resiliency.   Those cities that can adapt and be resilient will prosper as climate change impacts everything and everyone.  He practices what he preaches because he showed resiliency and it’s the characteristic that will allow cities to survive and thrive in the future.”

Thomas Frank, City of  West Linn, City Councilor

amypohe1“Mark is the perfect connector for government. He has a storied reputation, a wide Rolodex, and a passion for bringing change to government. His position at Governing allows him to bring key issues to the forefront. Thanks to Mark for including ELGL on his Portland itinerary.”

Joe Gall, City of Sherwood, City Manager

“What an interesting person to listen to!  I really enjoyed listening to Mark, especially since he believes Detroit and Cleveland are two cities with bright futures (as a former Rust Belt raised Ohioan)”

Emily Leuning, Cities of Sherwood and West Linn

“Mr. Funkhouser was an excellent speaker, enthusiastic taco-eater and appreciator of Oregon beer. It was great to hear his perspectives on where certain cities will be in 2040; he predicts some cities that are facing significant challenges now will be flourishing a couple of decades from now. I also liked his advice to think about why your city exists and the need to serve that original purpose in order to be successful in the long run. It was a wonderful event!”

Josh Gregor, City of Portland, ‎Revenue Tax Specialist II

knopelawandorder_496943“I saw a lot of drinks and food never leave the table during the talk because folks were so intent on soaking up Mark’s wisdom. If you can command that level of attentiveness, you have earned Knope of the Week status.  I will forgive Mark for leaving Portland out of his top three cities to watch list.”

Ariana Denney, City of Portland, Management Audit Intern

“My takeaway was Mark’s reply to a question about the transition from being an auditor to serving as mayor. He noted the similarities in the work. As auditor, he worked to gain support from City leaders to implement audit recommendations, and as mayor he was still working to gain support from City Council to get things implemented.”

Kent Wyatt, City of Tigard, Senior Management Analyst

“I enjoyed the casual nature of the conversation and Mark’s willingness to give his honest opinion on everything from Google Fiber to the role of government. Bonus points to him for dropping the “Lebron Effect” into the conversation.”

Ben Kittelson, Metro Newsroom

tumblr_mc4esc41Dz1rsnsj9o1_250“I loved Mark’s passion for cities and the origin of why they developed. It’s interesting to think about why a city formed because that’s probably what sets a city apart from others nearby. I like that his three cities poised for success were Detroit, Cleveland and Oklahoma City. It’s cool to hear of positive outlooks for those places.”

Dan Englund, Engineering Business Administrator

I really appreciated Mayor Funk’s candid insights on ways local government should focus more on efficiency instead of innovation. Both are important, but his viewpoints putting efficiency first was a big take away for me.”

Supplemental Reading

The Real Threat to Democracy: Money Problems

A Better Way to Link Policy Analysis and Performance Management

Advice for New Mayors: Watch Your Mouth

All Things Fall Apart (Even Governments)

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