2014 New Mexico City Management Association Meeting

At the 2014 meeting of the New Mexico City Management Association last week I presented a session on ethics, focusing in on Tenet 12 of the ICMA Code of Ethics.  Tenet 12 says, “Seek no favor; believe that personal aggrandizement or profit secured by confidential information or by misuse of public time is dishonest.”  The managers had a lively discussion about issues related to gifts being offered to their employees, policies and practices they have in place to guide decisions, and a confirmation that this Tenet is essential for city and county managers.  ICMA Vice President Mark McDaniel (Assistant City Manager of Dallas, TX) also attended and gave an update on ICMA activities.  Other topics at the conference were, “Trust: The Critical Success Factor for a Nation, an Organization, and an Individual” and discussions about New Mexico’s economy.  

Management Partners helps San Bernardino through Bankruptcy Proceedings

Management Partners has been asked by the City of San Bernardino to assist the City in managing its handling of its bankruptcy proceeding, after being taken to task by the presiding judge for its response. The City Council approved a contract with Management Partners which will provide a team of associates under the leadership of Andy Belknap and Bob Deis. Bob, with the support of a Management Partners team, led the City of Stockton successfully through its bankruptcy proceeding while serving as its City Manager. 

Read more about these proceedings here

Strategies for Successful Strategic Plan Implementation

What factors help determine the success of strategic plan implementation? Dr. David Mitchell, assistant professor at the School of Public Administration at the University of Central Florida is conducting research to find out. He recently spoke at the Florida League of Cities 2014 Legislative Conference and provided an update on his progress

Dr. Mitchell measures implementation success by looking at three factors. First, what projects did the city complete? Second, did it exceed the proposed timeframe for the project? Finally, did the project exceed its budget? The current study included 218 different projects from 44 different strategic plans. Of those initiatives 67% of projects were completed within three years.  The average cost was 110% of the original budget, and the average time was 130% of the original schedule.

The study came to four conclusions. The first was that, “one size does not fit all.” Essentially, various projects call for different implementation strategies.

The second conclusion was “implementation funding matters.” This variable was critical to the success of all projects. The study found however, that “dedicated implementation funding is provided only 33% of the time.”

The third states, “The City Manager (or CAO) can make or break implementation.” Specifically, there are some projects in which city manager involvement is detrimental to project success and there are other projects in which city manager involvement is crucial to success. In general, projects that are low in complexity fared well without City manager involvement and those that were high in complexity fared well with some city manager involvement.

The final conclusion was that while, “one size does not fit all… Municipalities are using one-size-fits-all implementation strategies.”

Management Partners assists many local governments with strategic planning. We usually include an Implementation Action Plan to help ensure progress moves forward in a meaningful way. As practitioners, we encourage that each project have only one leader. It is important to consolidate leadership so there is no confusion moving forward about who is responsible for implementation.

MMANC Annual Conference

While attending the 2014 Municipal Management Association of Northern California (MMANC) Annual Conference, I listened to a thought-provoking session hosted by Katy Simon, former county manager of Washoe County, Nevada, on the topic of innovation in local government.

Innovation, as she described, can be thought of as how “a creative idea becomes realized.” She discussed how innovation in the areas of big data, globalization, the “internet of things,” transparency, climate change, resiliency planning, and more are helping to “reset” local government operations today and in the future. She emphasized to attendees that ideas need champions to make them reality, and that innovation isn’t simply about specific individuals, but rather an organization-wide competency.

Interesting research conducted by the Rockefeller Foundation on 100 Resilient Cities may be a useful resource for many. http://www.100resilientcities.org/

MMANC Annual Conference

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the 2014 Municipal Management Association of Northern California (MMANC) Annual Conference in Sacramento, California.   Although the conference had a number of informative sessions, I found the panel discussion on the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (PEPRA) of 2013 to be particularly insightful. The resounding theme of the panel discussion was this: although PEPRA will contribute to long-term fiscal sustainability and will certainly help curb retirement costs in the coming decades, the immediate costs of retirement benefits will remain in the headlines and very much on the minds of city leaders around California.

Management Partners sends the MMANC Conference Chair Ryan Devore and the MMANC President Hazel Wetherford a big thank you for hosting such a wonderful event in Sacramento. 

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