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Staff

Samantha Harkins, Interim Executive Director

Samantha Harkins was selected to serve as Interim Executive Director by the ELGL Board of Directors on June 10, 2022 with a start date of June 20, 2022. She served on the ELGL Board of Directors from 2019 to 2021. Samantha is the Founder and CEO at Hundred Place Consulting and previously she served as the Deputy Mayor of Lansing, Michigan. Her entire career has been in local government: as the Executive Assistant to the Mayor of Norfolk, Virginia; as a local government policy advisor for the Michigan House of Representatives; as lead lobbyist for the Michigan Municipal League and then President of the MML Foundation, and as VP of Government Relations at Munetrix (a municipal performance metric software company). She received her B.A. and J.D. from West Virginia University and bleeds old gold and blue. She lives in a renovated 1884 Victorian in Downtown Lansing with her husband, son, 100-pound Portuguese Water Dog/Poodle mix and two cats. She’s an avid runner, reader and writer. She loves food and cocktails (gin in the summer, bourbon in the winter and wine year round.)

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Allie Breyer, Digital Coordinator

Allie Breyer is the Digital Coordinator for ELGL. Her love of local government work began while working as a Waste Prevention Analyst for the City of Eugene. For over three years, she served as the community engagement lead on a variety of waste prevention initiatives in the community, with a focus on residential food waste, composting, and repair programs. In addition to ELGL, Allie currently works for the State of Vermont’s Health Department as an Emergency Preparedness Planner. She is particularly interested in helping government agencies effectively share their successes and engage with the public through digital communication platforms.

She holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Oregon, where she focused on community and regional planning, and environmental sustainability.

When she is not nerding-out on public sector digital communication strategies, you can find her reading a good book, buying far too many plants, taking in the Vermont scenery by foot, or enjoying a really good maple pastry.

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GovLove Podcast

In addition to the staff below, the GovLove Podcast also involves Board Member Ben Kittelson (Co-Host & Producer).

Dan Bolin, Co-Host

Dan is a Partner at the Ancel Glink Law Firm, which specializes in local government law. Dan has represented public entities and property owners in wide-ranging local government, land use, and election matters across Illinois. Dan has spent his entire legal career in local government, regularly counseling governmental clients at board and commission meetings, and managing real estate transactions and other development matters. Dan also concentrates in election law, appearing before and serving on a number of local electoral boards for challenges to candidate nominating petitions. Dan hosts Ancel Glink’s Quorum Forum podcast, and he often discusses legal issues affecting local governments on GovLove. Dan earned his B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dan graduated magna cum laude from the University of Illinois College of Law, where he served as an associate editor on the University of Illinois Law Review and earned a CALI Award in Real Estate Development.

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Alyssa Dinberg, Co-Host

During the day, Alyssa serves the people of the City of Boulder as a Management Analyst working with City Planning, Public Works and the City Manager's Office on a variety of internal and external projects. Prior to starting her current role in Boulder, Alyssa was a Cookingham-Noll Management Fellow for the City of Kansas City, Missouri. Alyssa most loves how GovLove showcases the exciting, challenging and interesting stories of local government through the variety of guests featured. Alyssa is originally from Atlanta, Georgia and graduated with a BA in Interdisciplinary Community Development from The University of Alabama an Executive Master’s of Public Administration from the Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri Kansas City When she's not working, Alyssa enjoys exploring her new home city, traveling to see friends, and tending to her hundreds of plants. Alyssa currently lives in Denver, Colorado with an aquatic turtle and two very sassy cats.

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Michael Montgomery, Producer

Michael Montgomery currently serves as the Deputy City Council Administrator for the City of Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Prior to his arrival in Olympic City, USA he served as the Town Administrator for  the Town of Bartonville, Texas as well as the Assistant to the City Manager in Celina, Texas.  He holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Colorado State University  (Go Rams!) and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of North Texas (Go Mean Green!).

When not goving it up, he turns into his alter ego, Pizza Mike.  Pizza Mike dedicates all free time to the preparation, research, and consumption of pizza.

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Lauren Palmer, Co-Host

Lauren Palmer became the Director of Local Government Services for the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) in 2018. MARC is the regional council of governments and Metropolitan Planning Organization for the nine-county, bi-state Kansas City region. Prior to joining MARC, Lauren worked for 14 years in local government administration, including serving as city administrator in Parkville, MO and assistant city manager in Independence, MO and Manhattan, KS. She began her local government career as a Management Intern and Management Analyst in Des Moines, IA. Lauren serves on the advisory board for the Greater Kansas City Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). She was recognized as a top influencer in local government with a 2019 Traeger Award from Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL). Lauren has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Master of Public Administration degree from Indiana University.

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Toney Thompson, Co-Host

Toney Thompson currently works as a budget analyst for the City of Durham, North Carolina and is Co-Host of ELGL's GovLove Podcast. In his role, Toney strives to create better outcomes for citizens through public administration and policy. In addition to being a budget analyst, Toney works on several city-wide projects that help incorporate innovation and equity into city policy and practices. Prior to his current role as a budget analyst, Toney served as the ICMA Fellow for Durham City and County. Toney is originally from Columbia, South Carolina and graduated with a BA in public policy from Duke University and a Master's of Public Administration from The School of Government at UNC Chapel Hill.

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Kirsten Wyatt, Co-Founder

Kirsten Wyatt is a co-founder of ELGL, ELGL's first Executive Director, and a co-host of the GovLove podcast. She also serves as an elected school board member for the West Linn-Wilsonville School District. Previously, she worked in state and local government in Oregon, Virginia, and North Carolina.  She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Politics from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon; and a Master of Public Administration Degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She loves hanging out with her family, reading, eating sandwiches, going to the beach, playing skeeball, and taking moderately difficult hikes in the Pacific Northwest.

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