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October 31, 2012
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Building livable communities that improve people's lives

  Leadership and Management 
  • The golden rule of PowerPoint: Keep it simple
    It might be tempting to pack your PowerPoint presentations with information, but simpler slides tend to be more effective, Dave Johnson writes. You should cut down the amount of text on your slides and avoid repeating the content of your presentation verbatim. "You should never treat a PowerPoint deck like giant notecards, in which you simply turn to the screen and read the text that's projected there," he writes. CBS MoneyWatch (10/29)
  • Wash. city manager will focus on business and growth
    Phillip Messina, about a week in as city manager of Ridgefield, Wash., said his near-term plans include getting to know local businesses and their needs. Long-term plans involve keeping growth on track and planning for potentially 20,000 more residents during the next 20 years. "In the end, it's about [developing] quality," Messina said. "It's about creating a neighborhood, rather than a bunch of houses thrown together." The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.) (10/29) Email this Story
  Budgeting and Finance 
  • Mich. city manager's budget will eliminate 15 jobs without layoffs
    Ypsilanti, Mich., City Manager Ralph Lange's five-year plan for the budget does not include layoffs, but it does include the loss of 15 full-time, highly paid employees. Base salaries for the positions -- the previous city manager, a deputy clerk, seven jobs in the Police Department and five jobs in the Fire Department -- add up to more than $1 million without benefits or pensions. Lange is also looking into merging departments, including police and fire, and cross-training employees. (Mich.) (10/29) Email this Story
  • New Orleans mayor's budget proposal includes cuts for departments
    A budget cut of 8% to 10% for most city departments and a 25% cut for the mayor's office are part of a $491 million budget New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu presented to the City Council. The proposal, about $5 million less than last year's, also would increase most households' electricity bill by $2 to $3 per month. Additionally, the Police Department would get $7 million in improvements, based on an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department. Yahoo/The Associated Press (10/29) Email this Story

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  Emergency Management and Public Safety 
  • N.J. county emergency center offers services in Sandy's wake
    The emergency-operations center in Monmouth County, N.J., has been open around the clock since Sunday, distributing sandbags, providing trucks to drive through flooded streets, busing evacuees to a shelter and providing other services in the wake of superstorm Sandy. About 50 people from every county agency are staffing the center, along with representatives from emergency services, the Red Cross and utility companies. (Hackensack, N.J.) (10/29) Email this Story
  Legislation, Policy and Grants 
  • Neb. city council considers extending bars' closing time
    The Fremont, Neb., City Council is considering permitting bars to stay open until 2 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and six holidays. The City Council drafted an ordinance in response to a request from the owner of RD's Place, who said other areas in the state that have extended closing times have not experienced problems and that bars in Fremont are losing business because of their earlier closing time. If passed, the ordinance will remain in place for a year. Fremont Tribune (Neb.) (10/29) Email this Story
  Recognitions and Transitions 
  • Derecho highlighted talent of W.Va. county manager
    When a derecho hit Kanawha County, W.Va., in June, most of the emergency-operations center's staff was stranded at home, so County Manager Jennifer Sayre stepped up to lead and realized she was good at it. Sayre spoke during a panel called "Success by Chance: Leadership in the Eye of the Storm" and said she kept the center running for 12 days by letting others help her lead. "I've learned you have to step back and learn from others every day," she said. Charleston Daily Mail (W.Va.) (10/30) Email this Story
  • N.C. Arc recognizes county for inclusive summer program
    The Arc of North Carolina chose Davidson County's Parks and Recreation Department for the 2012 Inclusive Community Award, praising the county's Summer Playground Program, which serves children of all abilities. For four weeks each summer, children go to the program's five locations and share computers, board games, school gyms and playgrounds. "When you ... are looking at a sea of children enjoying what they are doing, regardless of whether a child has a disability or doesn't, [it] just spotlights that we are more alike than we are different," said Teresa McKeon, executive director of the Arc of Davidson County. The Dispatch (Lexington, N.C.) (10/29) Email this Story
  ICMA News 
  • Nov. 8 Web conference will focus on attracting and retaining retailers
    As the economy rebounds, communities have a dual role: Attract new businesses, while keeping existing businesses healthy and strong. During the ICMA Web conference "Economic Development: Attracting Retailers and Keeping Them," scheduled from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Eastern on Nov. 8, you will discuss how to target retailers, partner with developers and commercial brokers, and use incentives to stimulate development. The event will feature Lisa Hill, vice president of Buxton's public-sector division; Steven Lantsberger, economic-development director for Hesperia, Calif.; and Jeff Fleming, assistant city manager for Kingsport, Tenn. Register.
  • ICMA University: Invest in training, not travel
    A critical part of building your organization is training your staff, but finding the time to do so can be tricky. ICMA University is here to help! In one afternoon, your staff can receive specialized training across a broad range of topics that enables them to increase professional knowledge and skills. Topics include Ethics, High-Performing Organizations, Performance Measurement, Management, Citizen Engagement, Staff Development, Personal Development, Leadership and Innovation, and Planning, Budgeting and Finance. These workshops are a low-cost, high-payoff professional-development opportunity that can be brought to your office, conference or meeting. Whatever your experience level -- whether you're fresh out of graduate school or you're a seasoned manager -- ICMA University has something for you. Visit the ICMA University website to review the full selection of training opportunities.
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A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."
--Henry Adams,
American journalist, historian, academic and novelist

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