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October 26, 2012
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Building livable communities that improve people's lives

  Leadership and Management 
  • Companies should communicate like humans
    Leaders should use authentic, down-to-earth language and insist that their communications team do the same, writes Rod Sweet. Stuffy, ostentatious language and an over-reliance on corporate buzzwords get in the way of direct communication and turn off your customers, Sweet warns. "Make your sentences so short, naked and plain that it hurts," he advises. ThoughtLeaders blog (10/24)
  Budgeting and Finance 
  • N.Y. city workers and residents push back against proposed budget
    Residents and city employees of Peekskill, N.Y., attended a meeting Monday to voice opposition to the acting city manager's 2013 budget proposal. The plan would raise the tax rate by 6% and cut 31 positions, seven of which are vacant. Residents and employees expressed concern about eliminating positions at the assessor's office and the youth center, as well as a reduction in services that would result., N.Y. (10/24) Email this Story
  Emergency Management and Public Safety 
  • Mo. city council will close streets and provide smoke detectors
    The Carthage, Mo., City Council approved two public-safety measures involving Halloween street closures and donated smoke detectors. One measure will close some of the busiest streets from 5 to 9 p.m. on Halloween for safer trick-or-treating. The other will make 300 smoke detectors from the state Department of Public Safety available to residents who cannot afford one if they fill out an application. The Joplin Globe (Mo.) (10/24) Email this Story
  Economic Development, Restoration and Sustainability  
  • Minn. city teams up with university to study business environment
    The Coon Rapids, Minn., City Council is partnering with the University of Minnesota Extension on a program for business retention and expansion. A team of leaders from the community and local businesses will visit manufacturers and major employers and will conduct surveys through mid-November. Researchers from the university will analyze the data and develop a strategy to help the city retain and expand businesses and attract new ones. (Coon Rapids, Minn.) (10/24) Email this Story
  • Va. city and university eye construction of civic center
    Lynchburg, Va., and Liberty University might team up to turn a closing Sears store into a civic center, which could include an arena, an exhibit hall and a hotel. "If we don't do it, Roanoke is going to do it," the university's chancellor said. "And then there's going to be another generation where Lynchburg folks have to hit the road to see any kind of cultural event." Liberty University purchased the building, and if the civic-center plan does not work out, the university will move its online program there. WSET-TV (Lynchburg, Va.) (10/24) Email this Story
  • Calif. ethics commission dismisses objections to dual office
    Two complaints against Calistoga, Calif., mayoral candidate Chris Canning were dismissed by the state Fair Political Practices Commission. Canning is a City Council member and director of the city's Chamber of Commerce, putting him in a morally compromising position, according to the complaints. However, the commission said Canning has not violated boundaries and has abstained from voting on issues that concern his salary and position. The Weekly Calistogan (Calif.) (10/25) Email this Story
  Legislation, Policy and Grants 
  • Calif. county hopes ban on plastic bags will spread to cities
    The San Mateo County, Calif., Board of Supervisors passed a ban on plastic bags at stores in unincorporated areas and approved an environmental-impact report that will survey 24 cities considering a similar ban. The ban, which will take effect in April, will require grocers, convenience stores and other retailers to stop handing out plastic bags and charge customers a dime for each paper bag they use. "What I'm hoping is the cities that did not partner with us will see it's quite simple," a county supervisor said. "It's a movement that's already come." Palo Alto Daily News (Calif.) (10/24) Email this Story
  Public Works and Infrastructure 
  • Using iPads in curb-ramp inventory saves Minneapolis $250,000
    Inventory of Minneapolis' 15,000 pedestrian curb ramps was expected to take eight months and cost $500,000, but use of Apple's iPad reduced the project to 3½ months and $250,000. "Instead of having to have to drive out to that intersection, engineers can actually just pull up that intersection now and take a look at it," city engineer Barbara McCloud said. The project aimed to improve infrastructure and ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. KSTP-TV (Minneapolis) (10/25) Email this Story
  ICMA News 
  • Raise the visibility of ethics at your workplace
    Now is the time to strengthen the ethical culture of your organization by ensuring that every member of your staff understands the organization's values and can deal with ethics-related, on-the-job issues. ICMA offers training, workshops and technical assistance on such ethics-related topics: Ethics at Work, the Ethical Survivor, Promoting an Ethical Culture, the Leader's Role in Building an Ethical Culture, and Elected Officials and the Public Trust. Each program can be customized for staff, leadership, elected officials, and boards and commissions. Contact the ICMA Ethics Center at (202) 962-3521 for more information. You can also visit for general information on ethics-related topics.
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In any field, find the strangest thing and then explore it."
--John Archibald Wheeler,
American theoretical physicist

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