Similar to how Frasier spun off from Cheers, ELGL has spun off our Quick Take series into Time Out for Mentoring. We’ve invited those who were named a mentor in our Quick Take series to answer two simple questions, “who are your mentors?” and “what does it mean to be a mentor?”
In our mind, mentoring is not defined by age. Generation X can just as easy mentor Baby Boomers on new technologies such as SeeClickFix or MuniRent as Baby Boomers can mentor Generation X on tips for advancing the local government career ladder.
We start our series with Jack Vogt. Chris Morrill, Roanoke (VA) city manager, named Jack Vogt and Michael Brown as his two mentors.
Jack Vogt joined the Institute of Government in 1973 and began teaching public administration students shortly thereafter. He also taught a variety of financial management courses over his 33 years at the Institute, including budgeting, capital finance, financial management, financial planning, cash management, investment of public funds, and many others. Jack served as editor of Popular Government, director of the Summer Internship Program, director of the Municipal and County Administration Course, and director of the NC Local Government Performance Measurement Project.
“Jack has always displayed such reverence for the profession of local government finance. He knew when you called for help it was because you wanted to get it right. Your problem became his problem.” —Larry Davis ’85, Budget Director, City of Greensboro
Time Out for Mentoring
by Jack Vogt
My mentors at the UNC-CH Institute (School) of Government were Jake Wicker and Donald Hayman. Both were full professors at the Institute of Government and were widely known to local government officials across North Carolina.
Among other courses and programs, Jake directed the Institute’s 150 hour Municipal and County Administration courses, and Donald played a key role in founding the MPA program at UNC-CH and worked with city and county managers and local human resource directors across the state. When I joined the Institute faculty in late 1973, Jake took me under his wing. He asked me to teach budgeting and finance sessions in the Municipal and County Administration courses, and he arranged visits for me to talk with local officials in in local jurisdictions, e. g., Salisbury, Statesville, Iredell County and others. These visits gave me a “feel” for local government in the state. Jake also introduced me to the Durham City and County managers (Harding Hughes and Ed Swindell); As a result, arranged with them to follow and study their respective budget preparation and enactment processes; this led to my first published article, Which analyzed and contrasted those budget processes.
Donald Hayman introduced me to city and county managers across the state; in my first few years at the Institute of Government, I worked with Donald in helping to organize the annual winter conference for the N. C. city/county managers. Donald also asked me to help teach his undergraduate course on “Local Government Administration. I taught the budget/finance sessions of the course and also worked with Donald in directing the students on a local budget preparation simulation. In that simulation, the class would visit a specific local government, meeting with officials there; prepare a recommended annual budget for the jurisdiction, and present that recommended budget to the jurisdiction’s governing board at the end of the course. Greensboro, Tarboro, Rocky Mount, and High Point were among the cities or towns for which the students in the course prepared and presented a recommended annual budget. I learned so much from working with Jake Wicker and Donald Hayman over my first 10 to 15 years at the Institute of Government.
Being a mentor means reaching out to a young professional or academic and helping them to gather the experience and knowledge they need for functioning effectively in their field. Specifically, it means inviting them to teach in your courses, having them help you in answering questions or addressing issues that clients raise, taking the time to just talk with them and answer their questions, and being a friend for them. It can also mean getting out of the way to let them do things on their own, and taking over some of the things that you have been responsible for.