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January 11, 2013
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Building livable communities that improve people's lives

  Leadership and Management 
  • "Leadership" and "management" aren't synonyms
    People often confuse the two concepts, but management and leadership are qualitatively different things, John Kotter writes. Management allows an organization to execute effectively, whereas leadership allows a company to take advantage of new opportunities. "[T]hey serve different, yet essential, functions. We need superb management. And we need more superb leadership," he writes. Harvard Business Review online/HBR Blog Network (1/9)
  • Calif. city will audit struggling park project
    Newly elected members of the Irvine, Calif., City Council voted Wednesday to audit the $220 million spent to date on the Orange County Great Park project and to cancel two contracts worth more than a million dollars per year to firms hired for lobbying and public relations. Only 200 acres of the 1,447-acre park have been developed in the course of the decade-old project, and critics say wasteful spending is to blame. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (1/10) Email this Story
Making the Most of Parcel Boundary Data
For a growing list of industries, the importance and widening use of parcel boundary and property data continues to grow. Thankfully, alternatives to traditional parcel acquisition efforts are now available through cost-effective and ready to use solutions. Read our guide to smart decision-making using parcel boundary data
  Budgeting and Finance 
  • Ohio city works to build up rainy day coffers
    The Columbus, Ohio, City Council will add $3 million more to its rainy day fund than the $10 million requested in the mayor's budget as part of a push to bring reserves to $75 million by 2018. The fund will help Columbus weather another financial crisis like the one in 2009, which nearly emptied reserves. Voters at that time approved a tax increase to 2.5% from 2% that has helped the city collect $100 million in additional revenue each year since. The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) (1/9) Email this Story
  Emergency Management and Public Safety 
  • Swedish city struggles to prosecute hate crimes
    Of 480 hate crimes reported in the southern Swedish city of Malmo between 2010 and 2011, none yielded a conviction, according to the Swedish Crime Prevention Council. The number was also a record-high for the city, which has attracted attention in the past few years for attacks on Jews and Muslims. "Either the police are failing in their reporting or the prosecuting authorities have a hard time comprehending that these are hate crimes. Something is not working here," said Malmo Jewish Community President Fred Kahn. The Jewish Chronicle (London) (1/10) Email this Story
  Economic Development, Restoration and Sustainability  
  • Wyo. town will back local agency's ideas on job creation
    The Casper, Wyo., City Council agreed tentatively to back recommendations from a local economic development agency that recently finished a five-year plan with proposed incentives to attract businesses to the city. The Casper Area Economic Development Alliance is seeking a resolution to formalize city support, a move it says will help garner grants and clients. Proposed incentives include the construction of a 30,000-square-foot speculative building for businesses seeking ready-to-use space. Star-Tribune (Casper, Wyo.) (tiered subscription model) (1/9) Email this Story
  • N.C. city advances downtown renovation loan approval
    The Raleigh, N.C., City Council's Budget and Economic Development Committee voted to approve a $50,000 loan to interior design company Trig Modern for renovation to its downtown showroom. The loan, which has a term of 10 years and an interest rate of 3.5%, is part of the city's Downtown Loan Pool Program, which has given out $300,000 in loans to help revitalize the downtown area. Raleigh Public Record (N.C.) (1/10) Email this Story
  Legislation, Policy and Grants 
  • NYC council approves tougher housing code enforcement
    The New York City Council passed a bill Wednesday granting housing officials greater authority to go after landlords who commit repeated housing violations by failing to fix underlying causes. The bill will let housing inspectors order landlords to fix the issues that cause repeated violations, or to make the necessary repairs themselves and bill the landlords for the cost. The legislation is expected to save taxpayers money by reducing repair jobs due to repeat violations. Gotham Gazette (1/9) Email this Story
  Public Works and Infrastructure 
  • N.D. city aims to move forward with costly levee project
    The Minot, N.D., City Council will not scale back a levee project after learning that cost savings would be minimal from reducing the protection level to 10,000 cubic feet per second of river flow from 27,400. The city is struggling to find the $543 million for the project, but said it plans to move forward with the levee build-out because of concerns stemming from a 2011 flood. Some council members have said cheaper options such as raising a nearby lake should also be explored because of cost considerations. Minot Daily News (N.D.) (1/10) Email this Story
  ICMA News 
  • "A Boss's Guide to Performance Appraisals": Web conference on Jan. 17
    It's Judgment Day. Studies show that the annual performance appraisal is met with trepidation by most employees -- and their bosses. One reason is that the majority of organizations fail to create and deliver performance appraisals that are constructive to the employee and the organization. At 1:30 p.m. Eastern on Jan. 17, ICMA will present "A Boss's Guide to Performance Appraisals," a hands-on primer that will highlight best practices and teach you how to use performance appraisals to build a better organization. The speakers are Scott Letourneau, president of NEOGOV; Karen McLaughlin, city manager of Manteca, Calif.; and Joe Kriskovich, director of human resources and risk management in Manteca. Learn more and register.
  • Learn to lead and make connections that count at the Young Professionals Leadership Institute
    The Young Professionals Leadership Institute, which precedes each 2013 ICMA Regional Summit, is a special, two-day offering for assistants, assistant managers and those beginning their career in local government. Content is designed for ICMA members and nonmembers who are emerging leaders, have a Master of Public Administration degree or are working in a local-government organization in their first job but not in the manager's office. The institute provides an opportunity to build your leadership skill set while participating in skill-building workshops that emphasize effective management and supervision styles. It also includes a discussion with Bob O'Neill and a session on work-life balance. (Managers, we encourage you to invite young professionals to attend this leadership institute.) Don't miss this opportunity to connect with other managers and local-government professionals in your region. The institute is still a great value, at only $99. For details and to register, visit
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Luck enters into every contingency. You are a fool if you forget it -- and a greater fool if you count upon it."
--Phyllis Bottome,
British writer

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