Dealing with employee negativity | 5 minutes is all it takes to stay in the loop, Patagonia CEO says | Calif. city council changes meeting guidelines
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March 21, 2013
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Leadership and Management
Dealing with employee negativity
Negative employees can take a serious toll on your organization's culture, Tim Parker writes. Don't let employees make excuses for their poor behavior, and give them a time frame in which to improve their attitude, he recommends. If nothing else works, you might have to remove negative employees from your organization. Intuit Small Business Blog (3/18)
5 minutes is all it takes to stay in the loop, Patagonia CEO says
Patagonia CEO Yvon Chouinard requires employees to spend 15 minutes a week writing up how their work week went and any ideas they have, while managers then spend five minutes reading each report. A startup named 15Five wants to commercialize that notion, helping organizations build internal-communication tools that keep managers in the loop. "[I]t's nice to see a young business spreading the wisdom of an illustrious forebear -- and making money in the process," Leigh Buchanan writes. Inc. magazine (3/2013)
Calif. city council changes meeting guidelines
The Desert Hot Springs, Calif., City Council has approved amendments to its Commissions Meeting Guidelines and Procedures manual, including prohibiting use of electronic devices on the dais during meetings and permitting councilors to leave the dais only during recess. However, councilors disagreed on an amendment to change the start time of meetings from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, Calif.) (tiered subscription model) (3/19)
Budgeting and Finance
Council proceeds with largest TIF in Pa. city's history
The Pittsburgh City Council has unanimously decided to let the Urban Redevelopment Authority establish a $90 million package of tax-increment financing for the former site of LTV Steel. The plan would divert some of the site's property-tax revenue during the next two decades to build roads and install utility lines and streetlights, which could lead to a development with potential to rake in $11 million annually in property-tax revenue. The plan must also be approved by the Allegheny County Council and Pittsburgh Public Schools. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (3/19)
Emergency Management and Public Safety
N.Y. city council agrees on inspector general for police department
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn says councilors have agreed on a bill to create an inspector-general position for the Police Department. The inspector general would help build a strong relationship between the department and the community and would increase the department's effectiveness, Quinn says. Critics of the department have been urging the council to establish the position to increase accountability. NY1 (New York City) (3/19)
Economic Development, Restoration and Sustainability
Ohio city council will decide fate of residential-retail project
The Hilliard, Ohio, City Council will consider a proposal for a residential and retail development after the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the plan. The development, which would include 181 apartment units and two four-story retail suites, is meant to attract young adults with disposable income. However, residents and officials have expressed concern about the density and height of the apartments, as well as a need to bring families into the city and increase the population. (Lewis Center, Ohio) (3/20)
Legislation, Policy and Grants
Va. county manager proposes eliminating 40-year-old child-care law
As part of a draft spending plan, Arlington, Va., County Manager Barbara Donnellan has proposed eliminating an ordinance that requires criminal- and health-background checks for child-care providers, safety inspections of child-care facilities and child-development training. Without the ordinance, which has been around since the 1970s, the county would have to abide only by state standards, which received an F for family home care and a D for child-care centers from a national advocacy group. Support for the proposal, which would save the county about $250,000 in the face of a budget deficit of as much as $50 million, varies among residents and officials. The Washington Post (3/19)
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Ore. city council looks to set social-gaming ordinance
The Tigard, Ore., City Council is discussing whether to allow social gaming. Such gaming is illegal in the city because state law mandates that it is prohibited in the absence of a city ordinance, but councilors appear to be leaning toward allowing the activity at certain venues. One proposal would make social gaming legal for anyone 21 or older in designated areas on certain days. The Oregonian (Portland) (3/20)
Public Works and Infrastructure
Kan. city council signs off on street relocation
The Wichita, Kan., City Council is allowing relocation of a street by looping it around the parking lot of a Koch Industries building, which is expected to house 745 employees. The relocated street will have five lanes, a sidewalk on both sides, improved drainage and a water line. Koch will fund the project. The Wichita Eagle (Kan.) (3/20)
March is Ethics Awareness Month
Protecting integrity and the public trust are fundamental to the local government profession's role and reputation. Raise the visibility of ethics in your workplace - contact the ICMA Ethics Center at 202-962-3521 for information about ethics training for staff, leadership, elected officials, boards, and commissions. Learn more.
Recognitions and Transitions
Fla. city council taps water-authority head as manager
The Temple Terrace, Fla., City Council has chosen Gerald Seeber to succeed City Manager Kim Leinbach, who will retire at the end of the month. Seeber, general manager at Tampa Bay Water, has served as city manager of Oviedo and New Port Richey. "The opportunity to move to the regional water-supply authority was great. But I missed the taste of working at City Hall," Seeber said. "Municipal government has the ability to affect the lives of people in many ways. I like helping to improve the quality of people's lives in a positive way." The Tampa Tribune (Fla.) (3/20)
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ICMA's Center for Management Strategies offers valuable resources for your organization
Did you know that the ICMA Center for Management Strategies offers educational programming and technical assistance in ICMA's leading practice areas for local governments? The center offers strategies for priority-based budgeting/fiscal health and wellness as well as high-performance organizations to assist city managers in addressing organizational efficiency and effectiveness. Resources on leading practices in civic engagement and collaborative service delivery are coming soon! For more information, contact Cheryl Hilvert at, or visit the center's website at
Reserve your Scottish adventure by April 1!
The ICMA Travel Connections program provides social travel events for members and their families to premium locales worldwide. The inaugural ICMA Travel Connections trip will carry members to Scotland from July 21 to 29. Many Scottish highlights await you! Reservations are due no later than April 1. View the trip itinerary and download your reservation form, or contact Sallie Ann Burnett at or 864-541-8678 with questions.
Quality is not an act, it is a habit."
-- Aristotle,
Greek philosopher
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