The ICMA Southeast Regional Conference was held in Mountain Brook, AL last week. The annual vote was held by representatives of the eleven southeast states for one of the three ICMA Southeast Board members.
I was surprised to find that there were only two applicants from the Southeast Region. We have several rules about who is eligible to run each year and Florida candidates were not eligible because Carl Harness’ term is expiring and states in our region cannot succeed themselves on the ICMA Board. However, there are almost 3,000 ICMA members in the southeast and only two stepped up from the remaining ten states. The Southeast Region is not unique; there were only two candidates in each of ICMA’s five US regions this year.
Each of you should consider the benefits of service to ICMA and FCCMA, whether it’s volunteering to serve on a committee or running for a board seat. Almost by definition, what benefits the collective good benefits us personally. Both ICMA and FCCMA offer vast amounts of training, networking at events and, perhaps most importantly, a clear set of principles and ethical standards that guide us in navigating the many complex and often difficult situations we face as local government managers. If not for the reputation of professionalism, public service and efficiency that those before us have created, our current jobs would not exist. But without our help and leadership, our organizations, and the many opportunities they offer, would cease to exist.
Service to the ICMA and FCCMA benefits our individual self-interests also. The time we spend on committees, boards, or as officers expands our understanding of issues facing local government and better prepares us to serve our own communities as needs arise. It enhances our understanding of, and identification with, the ideals and professional standards that have made the council-manager form of government so effective for so many years.
Can and should you volunteer some of your time to give back to those that have helped you in the past both directly and indirectly? Would you become a better manager at home by offering service outside of your city or county?
As I reach the end of my 41-year career, words cannot express how much my state associations have helped me and the deep satisfaction I have for taking on so many different roles. The many close friendships I have made are icing on the cake. I urge all of you to consider what your role in ICMA and/ or FCCMA should be.