ELGL co-founder Kent Wyatt is bloggin’ about those things that make you Laugh, Cry, and Think. He is also dishing out the #BigLocalGovBaller designation. Here’s what you missed in July.
T-minus 42 hours to contribute to the ELGL Diversity Dashboard Kickstarter.
This is my final plug for the Diversity Dashboard. My two daughters Eleanor and Josephine will cry if we can’t secure enough funding. No big deal. I am sure they’ll get over it. Actually, it is a big deal and this shouldn’t be a learning experience for them. We need to continue to show our young daughters and those in the profession that a conference session or a task force is not enough. It’s time for action.
I mention my daughters because this project is not strictly about data and numbers. This project is about Bonnie, Pat, and Flo who are strong leaders who fought their way to the top. This project is also about Dianne, Jeanne, and Loreen, who are strong leaders who faced an unbreakable glass ceiling. This project is about your daughters, your friends, and your family who want to find a home in local government.
Without this project, we remain stuck in a unbreakable cycle – elected officials hire people who look like them, executive search firms recommend candidates who are “experienced” and local government managers hire people who are the “right fit” or have more “supervisory skills.” The process is broken and everyone knows it. It is not a self-correcting issue.
As a 39-year old white male with two daughters, I am just looking for my girls to have an equal chance when they pursue their career (local government, local government, local government). The dashboard is the first step in a long process.
This is an all-or-nothing project. Our $25K budget is a bare bones, relying on in-kind donations, MPA students, and a powerful group of volunteers. Without the necessary funding, we’ll put the project on-hold.
If you have donated to the project, thank you! You are not alone. An overwhelming number of people are supporting the project. You can still help by sharing the campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you want to contribute to the Diversity Dashboard, you can do so here.
Still aren’t convinced? Here are a few more voices.
No mid-afternoon nap for us, Bruce Katz is preaching the gospel of an urban led world. Here’s what he’s taking about….
“More and more we think that the city and county level is where complicated issues can be solved. The city level is the best place for problem solving because of the experts in multi-disciplines.”
“Democracy is more participatory on the local level than on the federal and state level.”
“Cities and counties are really the places where we deal with transport, carbon emissions.”
“Pittsburgh is the poster child of new localism.”
“City of Indianapolis chose to become the amateur sports capital of the world.”
Love Bruce? Read his new book – The New Localism – Brookings Institution
More from Scottsdale…
Scottsdale helped form the Valley Benchmark Cities group, a collaborative of the 11 largest cities in the Phoenix metropolitan area to share and compare information for the purpose of improving local government performance. The initial report was issues in September 2015.
Check. It. Out. Brent Stockwell, City of Scottsdale, AZ is recording an episode of GovLove. One of the nuggets that we dropped was about Scottsdale’s annual report which a concise four-page document.
Scottsdale’s annual Report to Our Citizens is available online
Each day this month, we’re sharing information from the collection via Facebook,Twitter and Instagram to help residents and visitors learn about our city. The social media campaign is one way we’re showing what we’ve accomplished and how the city delivers services. Follow along using #Scottsdale2017.
The City also has several other short pieces that provide insight into specific topics:
- community profile – Scottsdale’s history, business, tourism and special events
- city leadership –the city’s organization chart, elected official bios, and photos of key city staff
- demographics – stats on population, residents, housing and employment
- city and community facilities – infographics on public health, safety and quality of life services and facilities
To view the report and learn more, go to ScottsdaleAZ.gov and search “about.”
Fire, smoke she is a rising
Fire, yeah smoke on the horizon
Fire, smoke she is a rising
Fire, oh smoke stack lightning, smoke stack lightning…
Kylie Bayer-Fertterer is tweeting a storm from the ICMA session about the #mword. The Real World house guests refused to tell me which room the session was being held so I was absent but Kylie was not….
— Kylie ? (@TheBaconDiaries) October 24, 2017
— Kylie ? (@TheBaconDiaries) October 24, 2017
Lunch? It’s never too early to think about lunch. The Smoke Shack is on our radar. Stacy is madly in love with the grilled cheese brisket sandwich. If you interested in joining us, shoot me an email at [email protected].
Real World House is ready to learn from Marc Ott about his vision for ICMA. We’ll provide takeaways throughout the conversation…
“Sharing economy has blurred the lines between the public and private sector.”
I don’t pretend to know the answer. I am asking to start the conversation about the future.
Marc’s favorite phrase – “raise up”
“We’re being tested to find out what the future work environment should look like.”
“What does innovation mean? Does innovation belong to anyone? Austin, Portland, Seattle — innovation doesn’t have to come from big cities.”
“We’ve been talking about diversity forever. Diversity must be a part of future conversations.”
“Diversity – what does it mean? We toss the word around but what does it mean.”
“What will we miss if we don’t embrace diversity? We might miss out on innovation or the next best thing.”
City manager comments, “I think it diminishes me as a complete human when I am not allowed to participate in elections and the political process.”
Marc Ott suggests it might be time to re-examine this part of the Code of Ethics.
“I didn’t know how significant the “I” in ICMA was.”
Attendee comments, “complacency is what I fear most.”
Hail to the Chief…. The President returns to GovLove. Marc Ott, ICMA President, visits the GovLove studio to discuss the beginning of his ICMA presidency, goals for the next year, and increasing diversity and inclusion in local government.
And that’s not all, Knope of the Week recipient Bruce Katz speaks to conference attendees this afternoon. Knope of the Week: Bruce Katz
Wake up… wake up… It’s Stacy Schweikhart Day at #ICMA2017. Make your calendar for 3:00 p.m. today because….
Developing the Public Workforce of the Future  Meeting Room 304ABC, Ballroom Level
Local governments of all sizes must actively plan for changes in their workforces and for competition with other employers. This session covers approaches they can take to understand the underlying demographic trends and skill set needs of their staffs, along with strategies they can use to be in the best position to recruit and retain talent.
Session Leader: Joshua Franzel, President/CEO, Center for State and Local Government Excellence, Washington, D.C.
Panelists: Elizabeth Kellar, Director of Public Policy, ICMA, and Senior Fellow, Center for State and Local Government Excellence, Washington, D.C.; Stacy Schweikhart, Community Information Manager, Kettering, Ohio; Phil Wilson, Governance Director, Auckland Council, and incoming SOLGM President, Auckland, New Zealand
Heidi Voorhees, GovHR, visited the podcast studio to share advice on recruitment in local government.
- Local government needs to find a way to speed up recruitments. The private sector is moving a lot faster.
- “Local government hasn’t done a good job of connecting w/ people interested in public service.”
- Engineering and finance are two areas where local government is struggling to find qualified candidates.
- LinkedIn is a valuable recruiting tool for GovHR. Heidi has more than 4,000 connections.
- Heidi does a lot of searches on LinkedIn for talent.
- Must haves for LinkedIn profile – professional looking photo, showing your career path and interests, recommendations on LinkedIn do not matter as much.
You asked, “what is dilly dilly?” We answered.
It’s all about GovLove today. A parade of local government all-stars are visiting the podcasting room in the Hyatt. We are recording a fresh batch of episodes for our award-winning listeners. The GovLove crew is talking with Jennifer Teal, City of Gahanna, Ohio, Melissa Bridges and Susan Langley, City of Little Rock, Arkansas, Peggy Merriss, City of Decatur, Georgia, and Heidi Voorhees, GovHR.
A few follow up to our interviews:
How did you end up in local government?
I went to college to be a high school history and civics teacher. This meant my degree would be in Politics with a minor in History and a certificate in Education. I was disillusioned by the Education course work so I had to decide what else I could do with a BA in Politics that did not involve law school. Luckily I had a great advisor who introduced me to the City Manager who was glad to spend some time with me talking about his work in local government, so I was hooked.
People always look at me funny when they hear me start speaking fluent Spanish or when I tell them I was in the Peace Corps. I think every citizen should get a chance to live in another culture to learn about the world and to gain a better appreciation for all the freedoms with have living in the United States.
As a member of ELGL, I enjoy the stories that you all share about innovation, Knopes of the Week, and government leaders who aren’t afraid to see the funny in their work. I thought I’d share my own bit of that, in the hopes that it may benefit others in similar situations.
In Gahanna, we’re in the middle of a multi-year, massive road widening project that is affecting a primary thoroughfare of the City. When completed, it will include two roundabouts in close proximity, in a community where roundabouts aren’t common or well-loved.
Richard Florida loves Pittsburgh and you should too. Here’s a previous GovLove episode with the City of Pittsburgh.
GovLove takes a visit to the Steel City in this week’s episode. We chatted with two people from the Pittsburgh, PA Office of Innovation & Performance about their open data and innovation efforts. Debra Lam, the Chief of Innovation & Performance and Laura Meixell the Analytics & Strategy Manager discussed PGH Lab, the city’s Burgh’s Eye View app and more.
Welcome to my house
Baby take control now
We can’t even slow down
We don’t have to go out
We’re off with day two of the ICMA Conference. Que the bad Flo Rida jokes because Richard Florida has taken the stage. Who introduced Mr. Florida? Our fearless leader Kirsten Wyatt.
Before landing at the convention center today, the Real World San Antonio house had some real talk about Wrangle U-Fit jeans. Hand up… I was uneducated about u-fit jeans and what the u-fit was needed for. I now know too much about Brett Favre, jeans, and extra space.
To add to your jealous, Real World guests also took on the controversial topic of whether Chicago and San Antonio were in the same time zone. I am not going spoil it for you by telling you the answer.
Richard Flo Rida
People forget but we do not…. ELGL interviewed Richard Florida in 2013. Pardon the blinding font… here were a few takeaways… On the Public Record with Richard Florida
Rock and roll guitar player. Strange as it may seem, I still think of myself more as a guitarist than a researcher – it was my identity as a young boy!
The Moth lands tonight. Ashley Jacobs will be the host. Stories will be told. Drinks will be served. Connections will be made. Thanks to IHN, NFBPA, and LWG for partnering on the event.
Let’s rewind to the previous events – #ICMA2016: ELGL in KCMO and Mixing In Perfect Harmony at the ICMA Conference.
We’re excited to work with ICMA Board Member Heather Geyer next year.
Shout out! Thanks for Lee Feldman for mentioning, during his opening remarks, the impact of ELGL.
Lee Feldman welcomes the crowd to San Antonio and we flashback to the GovLove podcast with Lee. Take a listen – Podcast: The ICMA President & the Intern with Lee Feldman, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
Thanks to Susan Sherman, ICMA for allowing me to discuss ELGL’s ongoing work with diversity and inclusion. Here are the point that I covered.
- Diversity Dashboard
- Continuing the Conversation
- GovLove Podcast
- Toolbox of Practices and Policies
- Member Survey
- Supper Club
Check out our most recent article – A Young Woman Straightening Out Her Crooked Path to CAO.
Ben captured the update on ELGL Diversity initiatives here…
— Ben Kittelson (@benkittelson56) October 22, 2017
Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! Coaching is cancelled. Diversity and inclusitivity is on. Kirsten Wyatt double-booked me this morning and made the decision that diversity is more important than coaching. I agree.
Ben Kittelson and I will represent ELGL in this important discussion. If you want to share your voice on diversity and inclusion, sign up as a guest writer – Call for Writers: Continuing #13Percent Conversation
The official ELGL Tie has returned home. The man who brought you the interview with the planner who worked on Parks and Rec, Matt Wojnowski brought the ELGL tie to the ICMA Conference. We will now place it in the ELGL Museum which is slated for construction in 2037.
Flo-Rida! How can you hear “Florida” and not think of Flo-Rida?
Richard Florida is the headliner tomorrow. Fun Fact: Richard was one of the first interviews posted on the ELGL website back in 2013. For your reading pleasure, On the Public Record with Richard Florida.
Kent, I am dying to know what the Real World House looks like. Well, that’s kind of a personal request but he’s a sneak peek of the living arrangements.
For the loyal readers who are Robert Earl Keen fans,
….we celebrated him last night with a few cold ones.
Melissa Bridges, City of Little Rock, Arkansas, will be stopping by the GovLove podcast room at the ICMA Conference. I’ll interview Melissa about her work as the Performance & Innovation Coordinator. GET TO KNOW: Melissa Bridges | City of Little Rock.
I’ll rely on Tim Tebow to get me fired up for the interview.
We’re in the air to #ICMA2017. Some have asked, “what is #RealWorldSA?” Stacy Schweikhart, ELGL Board of Directors, says good question. Here’s the answer – ELGL Real World House: Fake News vs. Legit. Some of the housemates checked in yesterday. Props to Dan Weinheimer for visiting every grocery store in San Antonio to purchase every item on a very long, detailed grocery list.
I should mention that we have a celebrity on our flight to San Antonio. Michael Grass, Route Fifty, is sitting a couple rows in front of us. I am sure he’s happy that I captured him in this beautiful picture.
Update: Torie Brazitis also spotted on our choppy flight to San Antonio.
The battle of who is teprettiest sleeper begins. Kirsten is a trained professional in taking pictures of people at rest (maybe she should work for a funeral home) and apparently Phil Smith-Hanes has a similar talent.
The random person in the picture is either a secret admirer, habitual finger biter, or upset that we’re sitting in front of her.
I thought Kirsten captured me at my worst but then came Phil Smith-Hanes.
Whether you’re traveling to ICMA or killing time between youth soccer games, here’s an article worth reading.
The Boomtown That Shouldn’t Exist
Cape Coral, Florida, was built on total lies. One big storm could wipe it off the map. Oh, and it’s also the fastest-growing city in the United States.
I coached a youth basketball team when we lived in Richmond, VA. That was my last coaching experience, but I’m brushing off the playbook and top hat to serve as a coach for tomorrow’s ICMA session – Speed Coaching at #ICMA2017. I am not very fast so the speed part has me worried but the coaching part shouldn’t be a problem.
Kent, what kind of career tips will you be preaching? Oh, what a good question. Here’s a few spoilers (don’t read if you are attending the session).
- Organization over job title. Find an organization where you believe in the leadership. I wasn’t always a “leadership guy”, but I have changed my tune. It matters and influences the entire organization. Talk with current and former employees to get a sense of an organization’s leadership.
- Don’t overthink your career path. It’s helpful to have a general idea of what you want to do with your career. It’s not helpful to plan your entire career path. Your career path will change. It will change because of things happening in your organization, events in your personal life, and through work experience where you learn which part of local government is for you.
- A social media presence helps. Social media is your friend. You should have an active presence on LinkedIn and Twitter. This includes a profile picture, posting or commenting on items of interest, and developing internet friends/colleagues. (Although stay woke for catfishing.) Facebook groups are another avenue for building your social profile. Check out the ELGL Facebook Group if you are not a believer.
- Handwritten notes are a must. My handwriting is awful. It’s the thought that counts. I am betting you’ve heard this numerous times and you still don’t write thank you notes. People remember those who have written thank you notes. You also benefit by taking time to reflect on someone who has positively impacted your life. Stop ignoring this advice and do it. I’ll pay the postage for you.
- Pay it forward (and follow through). I need you to promise me something… promise? If someone asks you for career advice, help them. Don’t say that you’re going to do it and not follow through. Help that person as soon as possible and be honest with your feedback.
- You’re not too busy. This could have been grouped with #5. Eliminate you’re too busy from your vocabulary. Everyone is busy. You or I are not anything special.
I’d welcome your input on what I missed. Tweet or email your thoughts and I’ll add them to the list.
P.S: Thanks for following through and reading each of the career suggestions.
What’s up….WhatsApp… Noor Shaikh is a big baller for introducing ELGL to WhatsApp. She brought us into 2017 by setting up this communication tool.
We be bloggin’… live from the Starbucks in West Linn, Oregon. My hands are sore from scanning and shelving books in the library at my kid’s elementary school but I can’t be stopped – can’t stop, won’t stop. This is prime bloggin’ season. Every week is a different professional conference and chance to spread the word of ELGL.
Tomorrow we depart for San Antonio, home of the Big Fundamental (Tim Duncan). The Alamo and the Riverwalk are the only things mentioned when I ask people about what to do in San Antonio. This has me worried. Unless The Alamo has a hell of a gift shop, I’ll need some more ideas for my time in San Antonio and since you asked you can send those ideas by using #RealWorldSA on Twitter.
I almost nailed it. On this week’s GovLove episode, I predicted the Cubs would beat the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. I didn’t get the team right but I did predict the series would end in five games. Pat on my back. Sorry for the jinx, Sam.
If you love innovation and laughing, you’ll love the interview with Sam Edelstein and Brendan Babb. You’ll also love leaving a 5-star review for GovLove on iTunes. Try it… it’ll be fun.
Winner winner chicken dinner! Charles Hartgrove, City of Lynchburg, VA, dropped the first #CityHallSelfie from the ICMA Conference in San Antonio, TX.
Charles is a HUGE UNC basketball fan. If you see him at the conference, make sure to congratulate him for UNC’s national championship.
It was only a matter of time before Carpool Karaoke landed in local government. The Town of Gilbert, AZ, which is a leader in local government communication, dropped this gem yesterday.
Watch as Gilbert mayor, police officer rock out in ‘Carpool Karaoke’
Learn more about Gilbert’s communications game in this GovLove episode – Podcast: A Bottomless Pit of Ideas – LocalGov Podcasting.
I waste time every day doing a double-check when a tweet from Donald J. Trump comes across my Twitter feed. The lost time is worth it for gems like this…
Breaking news…. Rick Cole is the man. You know this if you attended #ELGL17 in Detroit. Rick is a unique figure in local government especially among city managers. He doesn’t hold back opinions on important issues. His voice is loud and clear in this “Letter from City Manager Rick Cole on Domestic Violence.”
No more boys will be boys. No more “she asked for it.” No more “that’s none of my business.” No more denial of the undeniable, no more tolerance of the intolerable. Let October be about more than pumpkin spice, the Dodgers in the World Series and Halloween costumes. Let’s make time for serious introspection and courageous conversations with our co-workers, families and friends about violence in the home, harassment in the workplace and our obligations to respect and care for those around us.
Yes to this. We need more of this from our leaders – city managers, mayors, and department heads. This is not a partisan issue.
Dockless bike share is the new rage in local government. I’m working on interviewing a representative from one of these companies. Until my efforts are successful, we’ll have to settle for learning from each other.
One of ELGL’s favorite cities Durham, NC produced this short video on dockless bike share.
— CityofDurhamNC (@CityofDurhamNC) October 19, 2017
Taking a knee at a council meeting? The City of Ann Arbor, MI joins NFL players, NFL owners, Donald Trump, and the Twitterverse in debating the American flag. The New York Times highlights the controversy in Ann Arbor – Taking a Knee at Ann Arbor City Council, Far From N.F.L. Spotlight.
At the start of a City Council meeting in Ann Arbor, Mich., this week, the 11 elected officials who represent the city’s residents turned to the flag for the Pledge of Allegiance. Seven of them stood. Four of them knelt on one knee.
It was the latest manifestation of a gesture that has spread in the United States in the last year, migrating from its first appearance on the football field to concert stages, schools and sports arenas, even crossing borders to places including soccer fields in Germany, where athletes have knelt as a protest against racism.
Join ELGL members in discussing the issues in the ELGL Facebook Group.
Wisconsin is full of #BigLocalGovBallers. Zach Navin (Real World house guest) and Chad Doran (City of Appleton) represented ELGL yesterday at the League of Wisconsin Municipalities Conference. Despite their reluctance to address the controversy about Aaron Rodgers and his parents, they have found every occasion possible to deepen ELGL’s roots in Wisconsin. The ELGL Sconnie Twitter account (which is a bit of a rogue ELGL account) was birthed out of a passion of cheese, good government, and the Packers.
Speaking the OG of Big Ballers popped back into our lives last night when his son debuted with the Los Angeles Lakers. (Note to self: You need to send a #BigLocalGovBaller sticker to Lavar Ball.)
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) October 20, 2017
The deluge of emails from random vendors has begun. Vendors at the #ICMA2017 must have been gifted the email list of attendees. For my amusement, I’m keeping a tally of the vendors who I have quickly unsubscribed from their listserve.
- DLT Solutions
- Dynamic Discs
- Library Systems and Services
Leavin’ on a jet plane… We’re days away from the Real World San Antonio. Eight local government professionals will converge on an AirBnb in San Antonio for the ICMA Conference. If you missed it, we made a lil’ video with some really bad lip syncing.
I’ll be live-bloggin’ from the ICMA Conference. For those who are attending, I hope you registered for the ELGL Mixer and CivicPride Mixer. Both events are sold out but you are an award-winning member so we can find extra space. Shoot me an email at [email protected] if you are interested in attending.
Also, you could be the next star of the GovLove podcast. GovLove is setting up shop in San Antonio and we want to ask you the hard questions. Sign up to participate.
One more thing, give our friends the University of Oregon ICMA Chapter a Twitter follow.
(Note: My dog Michael Jordan is snoring as I type this morning. It’s very distracting. Please excuse my mistakes in today’s column.)
The Iowa City Library is the best place in the world based on this photo. H/T to Ashley Monroe.
I hope we all have a day as joyous as this guy….
my lil cousin decided to try on his halloween costume today and….. ima just leave this here pic.twitter.com/F0J8T26zIh
— ✌?YOUNG J' ?✌? (@YoungJMuzik) October 14, 2016
I haven’t jumped on this soapbox for a while so here we go again. Send handwritten thank you notes. Yes, I know my handwriting is awful and barely legible but it’s the thought that counts. Receiving actual mail these days brings joy and curiosity to the recipient.
I turn to an unlikely source for support on my position. Southern Living published the article and video, “5 Tips for Writing a Thoughtful Handwritten Note.”
Lauren Stott tweeted this gem over the weekend….
Surprise! There’s still a lack of gender and racial diversity in local government. My new favorite magazine, Marie Claire recently posted this insightful piece.
“If half of all city council members, mayors, and governors were women, would we still be fighting for access to affordable maternity care and contraception?”
Since I can write whatever I want in this space, I’m using it to thank – Brandi Leos, Heather Gantz, Sharon Gavin, and Julie Underwood – for helping me prepare for a professional opportunity this week. The power of the ELGL network is real. The advice of the network is extremely valuable.
I’ve missed you! I’ve neglected this column for the last month. Please accept my sincere apologies. I blame football, podcasts, and youth soccer. Today’s entry could get sappy. I’m bloggin’ while watching the most recent episode of This Is Us (best show ever).
If this can be a salad, you can be anything. pic.twitter.com/K4KHNn1ZIm
— Paul Fairie (@paulisci) October 11, 2017
Cheers to the Municipal Equation podcast for highlighting the need for increased gender diversity in local government. You’ll remember Municipal Equation from their appearance on the GovLove podcast.
Here’s the focus of the Municipal Equation podcast episode,
Women are the majority of the United States, but only a slice of government leadership. On this episode, we talk with women working to turn the dial with research, myth-busting, confidence-building and a business case. (Tai chi, too.) We hear from the heads of the League of Women in Government, the president of N.C. Women in Municipal Government, and other local government officials who see positive trends but a lot of work to do. Oh, but first, we have to check in with a mayor and his mother who just made national TV.
While we’re on this topic, McKinsey & Company released an important report on, Women in the Workplace.
More companies are committing to gender equality. But progress will remain slow unless we confront blind spots on diversity—particularly regarding women of color, and employee perceptions of the status quo.
On a complete different note, I love the John Grisham podcast. It’s the closest that I’ll get to being a writer. This week, John Grisham met local government. He bought a house in Chapel Hill (home of where Kirsten and I met) and had to face the almighty Historic District Commission.
Still some neighbors and commission members balked at Grisham’s plan, citing fears that losing those cottages would further erode Chapel Hill’s historic charm. The commission has debated similar renovations and demolitions planned for older properties for more than a decade, particularly as new owners bought into the town’s three historic districts.
The result of Grisham’s meeting with town government can be learned here.
Tom Petty was one of my favorites. He was the first musician that I followed religiously. I bought all of his albums, attended his shows, and bought the concert t-shirt.
It’s been incredible to hear other musicians pay tribute with their covers of Petty songs. Here are a few of my favorites.
University of Florida Football Game
I am not sure if this breaks some HR policy but I am awarding the #BigLocalGovBaller to ELGL Board of Director member Dan Weinheimer, who has been ballin’ for ELGL. In recent weeks, he’s attended and represented for ELGL at the Priority Based Budgeting Summit in Denver, Pop Up in Dallas and Cartegraph event in Denver (where he captured the gem below).