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December 11, 2012
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  Leadership and Management 
  • How to lead like a Zen master
    When someone presents you with an idea, you should take a deep breath and wait 24 seconds before letting yourself criticize it, Cue Ball CEO Tony Tjan says. If you can manage 24 seconds, then try 24 minutes. "Then if you become a Zen master of optimism, you could wait a day and spend that time thinking about why something actually might work," he says. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (12/8)
  • Mo. city manager reflects on 2012 and what he sees for 2013
    Olivette, Mo., City Manager Mike McDowell says that while he is happy the city remained financially stable in a down economy during the past year, he had hoped to work on more development projects. McDowell, city manager since 2004, says he hopes the city in 2013 will get further into redevelopment for Olive Boulevard and Interstate 170, for which he wants more pedestrian routes and mixed-use buildings., Mo. (12/8) Email this Story
  • Mass. city council debates addition of manager
    The Pittsfield, Mass., City Council is considering adding a city manager. Some members support the position, saying a city manager could handle day-to-day business, while the mayor could devote his time to representing the city. Other members say they do not think having a city manager and a mayor would be efficient or cost-effective. The Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, Mass.) (12/8) Email this Story
  Budgeting and Finance 
  Emergency Management and Public Safety 
  • Mo. city council expands emergency board
    The Kansas City, Mo., City Council approved the addition of more medical professionals to the board that oversees the combined fire and ambulance service. The service, which merged in 2010, has added more than a minute to the average response time, which one councilman says is partly because of a dominance of fire officials in the department. The newly approved plan will add the director of the Health Department, another doctor who specializes in emergency medicine and another council member. The Kansas City Star (Mo.) (12/8) Email this Story
  Economic Development, Restoration and Sustainability  
  • Mont. city council sets lodging tax
    The Sidney, Mont., City Council plans to form the Tourism Business Improvement District, which will charge hotel guests an additional $1.50 per night. The money will go toward marketing and promoting small-business events and toward bringing a state Class A golf tournament to the city. "We've seen it work in other towns and communities and the benefits that it's created," said the executive director of the Sidney Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. Sidney Herald (Mont.) (12/8) Email this Story
  • Iowa city council disagrees on park-preservation measure
    The Waterloo, Iowa, City Council will reconsider whether to declare two downtown parks historic landmarks. The designation would help preserve them as open space, but it would also require Historic Preservation Commission approval before major changes could be made. That caveat drew opposition from the Leisure Services Commission, which maintains the parks, and the Planning and Zoning Commission. Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Iowa) (12/9) Email this Story
  Legislation, Policy and Grants 
  • Utah city council debates domestic livestock
    The Roy, Utah, City Council is considering an amendment from the Planning Commission to let residential properties have livestock and fowl. The existing ordinance allows bees, chickens and rabbits in an agricultural zone, but the amendment would cover lots 8,000 square feet or more in any residential zone. Opponents say the amendment would be difficult to enforce, while supporters say it could revitalize crops. Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah) (12/9) Email this Story
  Public Works and Infrastructure 
  • New Zealand council is blamed for building collapse in quake
    New Zealand's building and construction minister says the Christchurch City Council is partly to blame for a building collapse during an earthquake in February 2011. The building, approved by the council in the 1980s, was deemed by the minister to have deficient engineering, but the mayor says the council should not be held accountable for a decision made three decades ago. "It was a different council back then," Mayor Bob Parker said. "A different-sized council -- everything has changed since then -- different staff, different processes, different systems." National Business Review (New Zealand) (12/10) Email this Story
  Recognitions and Transitions 
  • Incoming city manager in Calif. will fulfill career goal
    Atascadero, Calif., Assistant City Manager Jim Lewis will succeed the city manager of Pismo Beach when the latter retires in February. Lewis, who says he will focus on maintaining Pismo Beach's high-quality government and on developing downtown, has wanted to become a city manager since high school. "I knew when I was 18 that I wanted to be a city manager," he said. "Being a city manager has always been a career goal of mine. This is a natural progression for me career-wise." Santa Maria Times (Calif.) (12/10) Email this Story
  ICMA News 
  • Call for ideas for ICMA's 2013 Boston/New England conference
    ICMA members and strategic partners are invited to submit educational-program ideas for ICMA's 99th Annual Conference, scheduled Sept. 22 to 25 in Boston. The deadline for submission is Jan. 4. Contribute to the conference program by suggesting session ideas that correspond to one or more of 12 focus areas developed by the 2013 Conference Planning Committee. To read more about the focus areas and how to submit ideas, visit the Call for Ideas website.
  • Web conference will explain GASB rules for public pensions
    The Governmental Accounting Standards Board has changed rules for pension accounting. State and local governments must report net pension liability. This number likely will be larger for most local governments and subject to more dramatic shifts in market fluctuation. At 1 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, ICMA will present a nuts-and-bolts Web conference, "GASB Rules for Public Pensions," which will break down GASB rules so you can explain them to elected officials. This is a must-see for local-government managers and finance directors. Learn more and register.
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Alas for those that never sing, But die with all their music in them."
--Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.,
American physician, writer and poet

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