by Lynn Tipton, Executive Director
It was great seeing so many of you last week at the Winter Institute! Thank you for attending and supporting this annual event! Since we worked with the Florida Local Government Coalition (we call it the Coalition for short) to develop this year’s theme and format, I was asked why the Coalition matters, and why we helped to create it. We have featured some articles, and even a conference workshop on this new association of associations, and those efforts clearly haven’t reached everyone , so I thought this column might be a great opportunity to share my thoughts on why this Coalition is timely and appropriate.
Nearly five years ago, when Carl Harness was putting his priorities together for his year as president, he had the idea to bring the associations together to see if we could do three things: share knowledge, share resources and break down the silos/barriers that often separate us. Today, 28 associations across the state are involved. The most familiar activity to many of you will be the “Local Works Day,” held the first Friday of the new fiscal year (10/2/15 this year) to help shine the spotlight on the difference made each day by the thousands of professional city and county employees across the Sunshine State.
The entities that helped form the group now act as a steering committee, and they determined that this Coalition should consist of the professional associations serving municipal and county government (not school boards or special districts, so that we would have Home Rule as common ground). The steering committee has come to realize that its ideas aren’t getting far beyond the boards of the respective associations, and to combat this gap in understanding, the Coalition will hold a series of regional events this year to try and bring the concept to individuals within these associations.
As managers and those on city and county management teams, I know you often face the challenge of knowing what the key concerns are of planners, engineers, attorneys, finance officers and the like. The Coalition would like to be a resource for breaking down the association walls to help share that information. Our best practices shouldn’t be confined to one profession, but shared by all. To the best of our knowledge, having shared this at the national level, we believe we are the only state to have formed such a coalition so the timing and impact are very important to me. I hope you will encourage your respective team members to be involved in the regional events that are coming up. Networking with peers, and learning about regional issues across the professional spectrum should be very exciting! Please let me know if we can provide you with more information about the Coalition and its goals.