Quick Take: Ratna Okhai, University of South Florida MPA

Posted on September 12, 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. Raise Your Hand If You’re Going “Back to the Future” with ELGL and ICMA.

Ratna Okhai


University of South Florida MPA

Connect: LinkedIn

1. Name your career mentors.

I don’t currently have any career mentors, but there are people I do aspire to be like.

Mr. Bobby Green, CM of Auburndale, FL has been a huge supporter of the student chapter at University of South Florida, and the CM at his city for 24 years. He is a great person and is always excited to talk about the field and give any advice to students that are looking to go down the CM path.

2. Describe the current state of local government.

The current state of local government is difficult to ‘describe’ in just a few sentences. My hometown local government is thriving, considering its listed as one of America’s top 10 places to live. There are certain areas that are struggling because the local government is challenged to do what’s best for its citizens with the limited amount of resources it has. So to sum up, local government is doing what it can for the best of its city with what it has.

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

The one thing local government professionals can do to strengthen local government is be transparent. As long as this happens, the citizens themselves will be able to see the information they need in the open, and hopefully understand why things are done the way they are. This also creates a chain reaction where local governments would become more honest, more approachable to citizens and trustworthy.

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

My ideal six-pack would have no two-same beers. I’d have a cider for the nice flavor, bud light because it’s got good memories, and then 4 beers from other countries…because trying new things is always an experience I look forward to.

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