Weekly Update

Posted on November 6, 2016

Dear ELGL members,

My little helper as I write todays "Weekly Update."
My little helper as I write todays “Weekly Update.”

I’m back! I took a little break from posting “Weekly Updates” so I could figure out the style and format I wanted to use so these updates could be meaningful and important to all of you. My previous update format was more of a recitation of the statistics related to the organization.

I am shifting the format to focus on the things I am doing each week as the executive director, to provide a new level of transparency on the organization and the work that we are doing. Please let me know what you think of this new update format, and if there is anything else you would like me to include each week.

Thank you,


Homelessness Policy Summit

I met this week with Rae Trotta and we started working on a new ELGL program that I’m really excited about. Rae is curating a one-day speaker summit on homelessness topics and we’ll broadcast four hours of expert perspective via our webinar series. We’re trying to do this in early December, because I’ve heard from a lot of you that your communities are vexed by this issue and need some assistance and perspective, especially heading into the winter months. Rae was a panelist at #ELGL16 and I’m excited for the entire ELGL community to learn from her via this webinar summit.

Circling Back (aka Pestering)

I’m waging two campaigns to get ELGL in front of some people I want to talk to and learn from.

My first pestering campaign is relatively minor – I want to interview someone from Sim City for GovLove and can’t get a response from their PR team, so I’ve been tweeting daily to Sim City and EA (the game maker). I’ve noticed that Sim City is an often-cited reason that people initially pursued local government careers, and so I want to learn more about the game, its origins and creators, and if they even realize the impact the game has had on future local government leaders.

My second pestering campaign is more substantial. I’m trying to get an audience with the National League of Cities and have been repeatedly contacting the executive director and some of their policy analysts. I want to learn how ELGL can augment the work that NLC is doing, and more specifically, I want to partner with them on programming related to getting more women and people of color into local government leadership roles. Specifically, I want to see if there’s better data available; earlier this year, Stacy Schweikhart and I realized that the available women in leadership data from ICMA only represents a very small segment of local governments. We need better data to continue moving the #13Percent conversation forward.

Two years ago, I called on ICMA to partner more aggressively with NLC to ensure that the #13Percent issue was addressed at NLC conferences and training. I’ve seen no evidence that this has happened, so I’m taking matters into my own hands. I’ll continue to keep you posted on whether I hear back from anyone at NLC.

Nick Kittle, Adams County, CO

I interviewed Nick Kittle, the Chief Innovation Officer for Adams County, Colorado, for GovLove. I met Nick through LinkedIn and as I did some more research into his career background and work with Adams County, it was a no-brainer that he would be a great GovLove guest. He didn’t disappoint! His interview will air on November 25, 2017, so you can listen and learn from him while you eat turkey leftovers. A takeaway from our conversation: he tells his staff to “be bright, be brief, be gone” when presenting.

Supper Clubs

For our members in New England: we’re working on your first ELGL Supper Club. Ed Krafcik from Soofa has graciously offered to convene our first Boston, MA meet-up, likely in early January. Stay tuned for specific information.  Kate Green and Ben McCready are planning for the first Peoria, IL Supper Club for later this year, and Kirsten Silviera is planning a “women in local government” meet up in Baltimore, MD. The willingness of ELGL members to help us connect via Supper Club events is driving ELGL’s growth nationwide.

Scheduling Out 2017 Conferences

ELGL’s calendar is filling up quickly. So far, we’re planning on presenting and partnering at the following events in 2017:

#ELGL16 Recap

Our #ELGL16 organizing team met this week to talk about our experiences planning the six pop-up conferences. Here’s our slide deck with the results from our attendee survey, as well as our planning team feedback.

#ELGL17 Planning

We’re also moving full steam ahead on #ELGL17 planning in Detroit, and we’re also closing in on a plan to do four pop-ups in the fall of 2017. The success of #ELGL16 showed us there’s a desire for regional conferencing the ELGL way, so we are going to announce soon the date of #ELGLDay, likely in September 2017. This is our way of being immediately responsive to the requests of our members. The ELGL management team is working from the following goal statement about 2017 conferences:

2017 is a pilot year for an ELGL conference schedule that includes an annual conference in May, and four pop-up conferences in September. The May conference is for ELGL members to do a deep dive into local government and personal leadership topics, and explore a new city. The September pop-up conferences are for ELGL members to learn regionally, and an effort to increase the number of ELGL members.

Oregon Local Government Fellowship

For the last five years, I’ve worked with a group of Oregon cities to share a fellowship program. The program originated when Sherwood City Manager Joe Gall and I realized that we both wanted to hire an intern, but our cities couldn’t afford the full cost ourselves. Over the years, we’ve hired Ashley Graff, Emily Leuning, Roger Gonzalez, Matt Yager, Ashley Sonoff, and Madison Thesing as our fellows and they’ve worked across 12 different Portland Metro area local government organizations. We’re also part of the ICMA Local Government Management Fellows program.

This year, ELGL is going to run the recruitment process for the fellowship program, so I spent time this week finalizing the program overview and working with the participating cities on the recruitment process, which will hopefully launch late this week. If your organization wants to provide this type of fellowship but can’t afford to go it alone, I highly recommend the shared approach and would be happy to work with you to make it a possibility in your region.

Administrative Tasks

Lastly, my least favorite part (so far) of being the ELGL executive director is worrying about the routine administrative tasks of this organization. This week I hunkered down and made some much needed edits to our organization bylaws and constitution, and sent them along to our attorney to see how we made these changes. When ELGL started, we just copied an old set of bylaws and constitution from another professional organization. As ELGL has grown, that draft has become completely irrelevant to how we’re actually doing business. Stay tuned for your chance, as ELGL members, to vote on the changes that I’m proposing.

GIF of the Week

To close, here’s my favorite GIF this week:


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