Quick Take: Wilson Hooper, City of Charlotte, NC

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.

Wilson Hooper

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City of Charlotte, NC 

Assistant to the City Manager/Business Manager

1. Name your career mentors.

Julie Burch, retired Assistant City Manager in Charlotte. A great example of gentle leadership; someone who could get you to do things and feel good about doing it. Julie was nurturing and supportive, but persuasive when necessary. Someone whose goal wasn’t power or the opportunity to sit in the big chair, but to do good.

2. Describe the current state of local government.

Transitioning. From an employee’s perspective, changing from the attitudes of the Boomers to those of Gen X and the Millenials. These generations have different work styles, they’re motivated differently, they use different tools. The industry is witnessing some (healthy) tension between these styles. From a citizen’s perspective, folks want their local government to be less of a behemoth that just builds roads and sewers and more of a creative agency that actually tries to solve perplexing problems. Though the use of data is emerging, I think that ultimately citizens want government to improve their quality of life rather than meet some esoteric performance target.

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?

Be genuine. Citizens are savvy these days. They know when we’re speaking ‘bureaucratese’. This will help our reputation and help citizens to trust us.

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

Something with Japanesse hops (that’s not Saporro). I prefer crisp beers with lots of flavor. Something that would hit the spot after a day outdoors. Lager-ish, but a trending towards amber. On the flip side, I also enjoy the beers stored in whiskey barrels. They often smooth with rich flavors and have high alcohol content. Finally, I suppose I’d have some High Life in there just for nostalgia’s sake.

Supplemental Reading 

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