By: Katherine Dunn
Did you know that Professional Management Matters (PMM) was the Florida City/County Management Associations’ response to ICMA’s Life, Well Run campaign for the state of Florida? FCCMA’s goal is to highlight the benefits of the council manager form of government and to explore real life examples of how the collaboration between professional managers and elected officials impact local governments.
Let’s define the “Professional Management” aspect of the movement. “Professional Management” involves the leadership of an individual within a municipality who has experience, education, and credentials. The significance of this is that citizens can feel secure knowing that their cities and counties are in the best hands possible; they are being managed by ethical, educated professionals, with training and experience. As mentioned before: FCCMA’s goal with the PMM movement is to not only highlight the benefit of having professional, non-partisan, non-political officials manage local government but to also raise awareness of the connection between FCCMA and the Professional Management Matters campaign.
To give a little background: in 2009 the results of a national Harris Poll showed that only one-third of the citizens in Florida knew about the existence of the professional City/County Manager and just five percent could explain their role in local government. This was a significant knowledge gap and the Florida City and County Management Association (FCCMA) started moved towards raising awareness of the role of a City/County Manager. A few years later in 2014, the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) began a campaign called: Life, Well Run.
The Life, Well Run campaign was tailored to the goals of the state of Florida FCCMA’s movement: Professional Management Matters. The emphasis of PMM was to raise awareness of the important role city and county managers play, as well as the necessity for professional staff at all city and county levels. In order to tackle the knowledge gap about city/county managers, a strategy to disseminate information to the correct audience was developed. The audience PMM delivered to included three groups: elected officials, civic groups and students pursuing Public Administration degrees at accredited universities throughout the state.
Initially, ambassadors were responsible for outreach to specific regions. However, the demand for education was so great that the ambassadors required additional support. Currently, the FCCMA Board of Directors coordinate outreach through the Senior Advisors, District Directors and FCCMA members. Senior Advisors are retired city and county managers that volunteer their time to FCCMA. The FCCMA network is much broader than the original ambassador network, allowing for greater possibilities in reaching the appropriate audiences.
FCCMA’s Professional Management Matters campaign has shifted its focal audience. Currently, outreach emphasis is on Public Administration students; as our current officials reach the end of their careers, the need to encourage the next generation to approach city/county management with an emphasis on quality, efficiency, experience, effectiveness and ethics comes to a head. But we are always looking for input on potential audiences that would benefit from our message.
At FCCMA we want to educate the citizens, students, and elected officials of Florida about the impacts of having an experienced, educated, and ethical professional managing our cities and counties. We hope to engage with our base to raise awareness about city/county managers, and we aim to emphasize the connection between the PMM movement and FCCMA. If you are involved with a group that would benefit from an educational presentation, please contact Carol Russell. And remember: professional management matters!