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December 21, 2012
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  Leadership and Management 
  • Loosen control and keep workers focused during holidays
    Bosses who let employees do a little online holiday shopping during work hours are more likely to gain workers' loyalty and goodwill, experts say. Other ways to keep employees engaged during the holiday season include handing out personal notes commending them for achievements of the past year, matching workers' charitable donations and providing a little holiday fun inside the office. (12/19)
  • Ala. city council and mayor clash on control of agencies
    Birmingham, Ala., Mayor William Bell submitted a proposal to the City Council that would bring parks and recreation centers, the library system, Sloss Furnaces and an art museum under his control. Some members opposed the measure because it wasn't first discussed in committee. The council will seek an opinion from the state attorney general, but Bell says the purpose is to clarify operations at the facilities, which employ city workers but are controlled by outside boards. (Alabama)/Real-Time News from Birmingham blog (12/19) Email this Story
  Budgeting and Finance 
  • Pa. city council's 2013 budget cuts property-tax rate
    The Meadville, Pa., City Council approved a 2013 budget that includes a property-tax cut of more than 2% and a $90 annual stormwater-management fee for property owners. Contributions totaling more than $143,000 from nonprofits and $45,000 from a special-purpose fund allowed the council to cut taxes for next year, Meadville's finance director said. The Meadville (Pa.) Tribune (12/20) Email this Story
  • Danish city stockpiles cash for snow removal
    Copenhagen, Denmark, was financially ready for a snowstorm that left more than 1,800 drivers in need of roadside assistance this month. A city representative says officials learned their lesson after two snowy winters in 2009 and 2010 and set aside extra funds for removal this year. "So unless the situation gets consistently worse and worse throughout the winter, we're confident we won't be running out of money anytime soon," the representative said. The Copenhagen Post (Denmark) (12/11) Email this Story
  Emergency Management and Public Safety 
  • Fla. city council doubts benefit of red-light cameras
    The St. Petersburg, Fla., City Council will decide whether to stop a contract with a vendor that provides 22 red-light cameras after a report revealed that rear-end crashes at intersections with a camera increased 44% in the past year, compared with a 19% increase at intersections without. The mayor says he wants to increase cameras to 31, but some council members say they are only moneymakers for the city and don't actually increase driver safety. Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.) (12/20) Email this Story
  • Calif. city council disapproves of county program for parolees
    The Vallejo, Calif., City Council passed a resolution expressing opposition to a county plan that would enhance and coordinate services for nonviolent parolees, after almost 20 residents said they are concerned the city will become a "dumping ground" for criminals. If the plan passes, the city will house services including mental-health and substance-abuse counseling, job training and drug testing. The Reporter (Vacaville, Calif.) (12/20) Email this Story
  Economic Development, Restoration and Sustainability  
  • Ala. city council offers $500,000 for theater restoration
    The Birmingham, Ala., City Council approved a plan to give $500,000 to help restore the Lyric Theatre, a downtown vaudeville playhouse and movie theater that is almost 100 years old. The funds, which the city will get through selling capital bonds, will go toward restoring the lobby and toward structural issues, including falling plaster and emergency exits. The restoration is expected to cost $15 million to $18 million, and volunteers have already raised more than $600,000. (Alabama)/Real-Time News from Birmingham blog (12/18) Email this Story
  Legislation, Policy and Grants 
  • Mass. city council mandates rental inspection
    The Boston City Council passed an ordinance that requires most rental units be inspected every five years. The ordinance will cost $766,000 annually and create 11 inspector jobs, but some of the cost will be offset by fees. "Landlords must be held responsible when it comes to providing safe and healthy housing for their tenants," the mayor said. The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (12/20) Email this Story
  Public Works and Infrastructure 
  • Texas city council's well negotiations are delayed
    A deal between the Midland, Texas, City Council and Midland County Fresh Water Supply District No. 1 to build a well was put on hold after failure to meet quorum prohibited the district from authorizing negotiations with the council on a design. The city is looking to the district to create a well that can be drilled in an aquifer, which would provide more drinking water. Further negotiations will have to wait until the district's next meeting Jan. 24, but preliminary designs will begin immediately. Midland Reporter-Telegram (Texas) (12/21) Email this Story
  Recognitions and Transitions 
  ICMA News 
  • Early-bird savings end Jan. 4 for ICMA Senior Manager Leadership Institutes
    Save $100 on registration when you register by Jan. 4 for ICMA's Senior Executive Institute "supersession" and the ICMA Gettysburg Leadership Institute. These senior-manager leadership institutes are consistently rated by ICMA members as the best programs they've ever attended! Learn more, register and read testimonials about the ICMA Senior Executive Institute and the ICMA Gettysburg Leadership Institute. Team rates are available for the Gettysburg Institute.
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No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true."
--Nathaniel Hawthorne,
American author

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