Quick Take: C. James Ervin, Town of Rocky Mount, VA

Posted on September 1, 2014

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As we prepare for the ELGL & ICMA joint event at the ICMA Conference, attendees describe the current state of local government, their mentors, ways to strengthen local government, and of course, their dream six-pack. Link: Raise Your Hand If You’re Going “Back to the Future” with ELGL and ICMA.

C. James Ervin


Town of Rocky Mount (VA), Town Manager

1. Name your career mentors.

2. Describe the current state of local government.

I believe we are fiscally strong, but struggling to balance the influx of national political discourse into our governing process.  What were previously non-partisan designated elected bodies are increasingly finding candidates running as a designee of a party. Further, the “Tea Party” influence in local governance is creating a need to react to and manage with a new set of local values.  Many of these are especially challenging from a land use perspective.  Success, however you define it locally, has as one of its core ingredients consensus on the outcomes of the effort and the target that the locality should steer for.  The political diversity that this new wave brings into play makes consensus harder to cultivate.

3. During her presidency, Bonnie Svrcek encouraged ICMA members to do “Just One Thing” for the organization. What’s one thing we can do to strengthen local government?

Mentor Department managers in the value interplay that is the political process.  Create an atmosphere that focuses on our role of helping elected officials pick a path among competing values rather than a path among right and wrong choices.

4. In keeping with the beer tasting theme, tell us what we’d find in your ideal six pack.

  • Blindfold Black IPA by Sierra Nevada
  • McEwan’s Scotch Ale
  • Wee Heavy by Belhaven Brewery
  • 1554 Black Lager by New Belgium Brewing
  • Singha by Boon Rawd Brewery
  • Beck’s Dark

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