Who Are You? with Ellis Johnson II, UNC MPA Student

Posted on December 5, 2015

As part of the grueling ELGL initiation process, new members are asked to complete our version of the Wonderlic test. It’s an open book test and participants do not have to use a dull number 2 pencil to fill in tiny circles. 


Ellis Johnson II (LinkedIn) is an MPA Candidate at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is an Economic Development Analyst at the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. Ellis graduated from Michigan State University. 

I feel….like my head is filled with air (It has been raining for the last couple of days and my allergies are out of control)
I joined ELGL because
…Iwant to learn more about various local government experiences, challenges, and opportunities. Also, ELGL has great taste in gifs.
If I was in a talent show I would perform….
…best behind the scenes making sure everyone had what they needed and making sure backstage was running smoothly.

My life will be complete if….
…I keep on learning and growing.
The last book that I read was
Binge by Tyler Oakley (fellow Michigan State ’11 grad)
My memorable experience in government is
…racing a sick student from the bathroom to the graduation stage so his parents could see him walk and accept his diploma.
You should probably know that I….

…have devoted my Thursday nights to Shonda Rhimes.

Do you agree/disagree with the following statement(s)……Explain….

My peer group views local government as a desirable profession. 
Absolutely. My best friend is a firefighter and another friend teaches at a public high school. I am also surrounded by a great MPA cohort who are energetic and excited about either working in local government or improving the profession.
I plan on spending the rest of my career in local government.
Disagree. That isn’t my “right now” plan. I want to work in a variety of levels and sectors. I look forward to a career that allows me to gain experience in local, state, and federal government. I would also like to get some private sector experience and return to the world of nonprofits for a bit.
Local government is effective at communicating with the public.
I don’t believe that all local governments do this well, but I think they can. Organizations like ELGL are great because they provide a community to learn from and share experiences with. We have so many great tools for connecting with each other, and I think it is important for local governments to make use of social media as well as traditional methods of communicating with citizens.
Generational stereotypes are helpful.
Agree/Disagree. Stereotypes are effective in helping us make quick judgement about a situation when we don’t have information. We run into trouble when we don’t recognize the impact of stereotypes and fail to let our initial opinions grow and be shaped by new information.
Local governments should have an employee dress code.

Agree. There needs to be a minimal standard of professionalism for all employees.
City staff should be required to live in the city in which they work.
Before responding to this I was a moderate agree. After thinking it through, I’ve moved a little to disagree. There are negatives to having city staff in positions of authority when they have no stake in the community, but cities should focus on creating communities that employees want to live in. In addition, I think creating intentional opportunities for employees to learn more about their community is vital.

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