For the last several years, the theme of FCCMA and ICMA’s conferences have been “Preparing the Next Generation.” It’s no secret, then, that there will be a need for new government employees to take over jobs in every department, due to the ongoing retirements of the baby boomer generation. The ICMA Student Chapter at Florida Atlantic University was established in January of this year, by Maylee De Jesús, President of the Chapter, Town Clerk/Assistant to the Town Manager, Town of South Palm Beach; Professor Dr. Leslie Leip, Chapter Advisor Chapter, Master of Public Administration Program Coordinator at FAU; Bogdan Vitas Jr., Chapter Mentor, Town Manager, Town of South Palm Beach; and Rafael Casals, Chapter Mentor, Town Manager, Town of Cutler Bay; and Chapter Vice Presidents Benjamin Paley and Brett Petrovich.
We had our first event on April 20, 2017, which helped bridge the gap between students in the Masters of Public Administration Program and the local municipalities in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties: there was a panel of five municipal managers, along with a dozen other managers from Palm Beach County. The managers met with the students for an hour: while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and refreshments. The refreshments were purchased through a donation from the Palm Beach County City Managers Association. At the event the managers on the panel consisted of Bogdan Vitas; Rafael Casals; Lori LaVerriere, City of Boynton Beach; Christine Thrower, Village of Golf; and Leondrae Camel, City of South Bay. They spoke about different concerns in local government, such as deteriorating infrastructure, and the Legislature trying to take away Home Rule. The panelists also talked about the positive side of being a manager, such as being able to encourage young professionals to work at their fullest potentials, which will eventually lead them to take over management level positions. There was a great response from both the students and managers alike about the event. We’re looking forward to many more events in the years ahead, and extend an open invitation to all managers in the Southeast Region, and the ICMA Student Chapter at Florida International University, to join us in bringing young professionals into local government. The ICMA Student Chapter at FAU is looking forward to many successful years