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January 18, 2013
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Building livable communities that improve people's lives

  Leadership and Management 
  • Ask yourself: Are you a deluded leader?
    Many leaders believe they're doing the right things but are led astray by illusion and delusion, Dan Rockwell writes. He suggests taking an attitude of service toward those you're leading. "Conform to them rather than demanding they conform to you," he writes. Leadership Freak blog (1/14)
  • Idaho mayor wants city council expanded to 6 members
    Nampa, Idaho, Mayor Tom Dale said in his State of the City address that he will propose that the City Council add two members. "When Nampa was incorporated in 1886 with just about 100 people, they chose to have four people elected to represent the residents," he said. "We are now approaching 84,000 in population, the second-largest city in the state. Perhaps it's time to move to a six-member council." If the council approves the proposal, residents might vote on the issue in May. The Idaho Statesman (Boise) (1/16) Email this Story
Making the Most of Parcel Boundary Data
For a growing list of industries, the importance and widening use of parcel boundary and property data continues to grow. Thankfully, alternatives to traditional parcel acquisition efforts are now available through cost-effective and ready to use solutions. Read our guide to smart decision-making using parcel boundary data
  Budgeting and Finance 
  • Ohio city council allocates extra $7.5M
    After bringing in more revenue than predicted in the fourth quarter, the Columbus, Ohio, City Council has decided to put $3 million in the rainy-day fund and spend $4.5 million on growth and development. The money will go toward small-business loans and development, improving health in the community and funding programs and events. The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) (1/16) Email this Story
  Emergency Management and Public Safety 
  • Mich. city will stick with 5 fire stations
    Ann Arbor, Mich., City Administrator Steve Powers has informed the City Council that he is postponing a plan to reduce fire stations from five to three. Some councilors and residents had expressed opposition to the plan, but Fire Chief Chuck Hubbard says reducing stations would increase department efficiency and safety. (Mich.) (1/17) Email this Story
  Economic Development, Restoration and Sustainability  
  • Australian planning proposal draws criticism from local councils
    An effort by the New South Wales government in Australia to depoliticize local governments' planning process has been criticized by councils as undemocratic. The plan would send all planning decisions to an independent panel of experts. "Councilors know the community will vote them out if they make poor planning decisions, but independent models have no such worry," Sydney Greens Councilwoman Irene Doutney said. "Depoliticizing the planning system sounds like code for removing community input." The Daily Telegraph (Australia) (1/18) Email this Story
  Legislation, Policy and Grants 
  • Pa. council supports bill allowing ads on city assets
    The Pittsburgh City Council has advanced a bill that would allow advertisement on several city assets, including public-works employees' uniforms, parks and some city vehicles. The bill would bar advertisement from council chambers, the mayor's office, police cars and uniforms, firetrucks and ambulances. It also would not allow advertisement for alcohol, sex-related businesses, guns and political or religious ideals. The bill is expected to bring in $500,000 in revenue. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (1/16) Email this Story
  Public Works and Infrastructure 
  • FirstEnergy exec vows better customer service for Ohio city
    FirstEnergy executive John Skory has promised the Parma, Ohio, City Council's Public Service Committee that the company will improve customer service. Skory was responding to concerns from the council about busy signals and unfriendly customer-service representatives encountered by residents during superstorm Sandy. Skory said the company will give additional training to customer-service workers and will consider hiring temporary workers during a large storm. Sun News (Cleveland) (1/17) Email this Story
  Recognitions and Transitions 
  • Ore. city manager aims for new beginning with residents
    Ron Foggin started Jan. 2 as city manager of Dallas, Ore., after questionable budgeting and the departure of a manager who was suspected of misusing city resources. However, Foggin says he hopes to get residents more involved in the community and restore their confidence in the city manager position. "My hope is that we can put whatever issues the former city manager had behind us and that staff and myself will be given the opportunity to show that this was an anomaly," he said. Polk County Itemizer-Observer (Dallas, Ore.) (1/15) Email this Story
  • Va. county swears in 16-year employee as manager
    John Vithoulkas has been sworn in as manager of Henrico County, Va., after working for the county for 16 years. He succeeds Virgil Hazelett, who served as county manager for 21 years and was an employee of the county for more than 40 years. Previously, Vithoulkas served as director of finance, and he says he plans to use experience from that position to help the county "meet the near-term economic challenges." Henrico Citizen (Richmond, Va.) (1/16) Email this Story
  ICMA News 
  • ICMA publishes second edition of "Statistics for Public Administration"
    ICMA has released the second edition of "Statistics for Public Administration: Practical Uses for Better Decision Making," an accessible and informative update of the 2010 edition. While this second edition describes research design and basic applied statistics, the book's primary purpose is to demonstrate how statistics can help local-government professionals do their jobs more effectively, rather than help readers master statistical theory. To find out what's new in the second edition, visit
  • Newly released reports examine effective strategic planning and flexibility in local government
    Everyone knows what strategic planning is, right? Unfortunately, we also know how difficult it can be to develop and sustain an effective strategic plan. Strategic planning can fail without staff commitment, adaptability and the right goals for your community. The ICMA InFocus report "Using Performance Measurement for Effective Strategic Planning" describes how three participants in the ICMA Center for Performance Measurement™ program used performance measures throughout their strategic-planning process.

    Economic difficulties of the private sector often result in a reassessment of priorities for municipal and county governments. While the need for services does not diminish -- in fact, it might increase during these times -- governments are often faced with difficult choices in balancing services the community expects and declining tax revenue. A second InFocus report, "Flexibility in Local Government: Using Non-traditional Strategies for Financial Stability," uses a case-study examination of a highly networked metropolitan city to explore a service-delivery model that employs flexible government and tailors the best aspects of public and private organizational structures to ensure optimal performance. To view other recent ICMA InFocus reports, visit the InFocus section of the ICMA Bookstore.
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Admiration is a very short-lived passion that immediately decays upon growing familiar with its object; unless it be still fed with fresh discoveries, and kept alive by a perpetual succession of miracles rising into view."
--Joseph Addison,
British writer and politician

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