PM Magazine, February 2023

Page 1


+ Ways to Combat the Hiring Crisis 10 Workforce Trends to Watch in 2023 16 Rethinking Performance Evaluations 24
David Ellis County Manager Wake County, North Carolina Read more on page 45

A class action lawsuit is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (the “Court”) involving the antiretroviral products Atripla, Biktarvy, Complera, Descovy, Evotaz, Genvoya, Odefsey, Prezcobix, Stribild, Symtuza, Truvada, and Viread (“Products”). The lawsuit claims that Gilead Sciences, Inc., Gilead Holdings, LLC, Gilead Sciences, LLC, and Gilead Sciences Ireland UC (“Gilead”), and Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Products LP, and Janssen R&D Ireland (“Janssen”) (collectively, “Defendants”) engaged in allegedly anticompetitive conduct that caused certain consumers and third-party payors to pay too much for certain of the Products. Defendants deny any wrongdoing. PLEASE NOTE: No one is claiming that any of these products is unsafe or ineffective.


The Court has certified three Damages Classes and three Injunctive Classes in this lawsuit (the “Classes”). The Damages Classes are made up of third-party payors (“ TPPs”) only (i.e., not individual consumers); the Injunctive Classes are made up of both TPPs and consumers

Damages Classes:

The Truvada Class: All entities in the United States that indirectly purchased, paid, and/or provided reimbursement for some or all of the purchase price of Truvada, and/or its AB-rated generic equivalent sold by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. or its affiliates, in the Specified States1 for consumption by their members, employees, insureds, participants, or beneficiaries, other than for resale, during the period February 1, 2018 through May 31, 2021;

The Atripla Class: All entities in the United States that indirectly purchased, paid, and/or provided reimbursement for some or all of the purchase price of Atripla, and/or its AB-rated generic equivalent sold by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. or its affiliates, in the Specified States for consumption by their members, employees, insureds, participants, or beneficiaries, other than for resale, during the period February 1, 2018 through July 31, 2021; and

The Complera Class: All entities in the United States that indirectly purchased, paid, and/or provided reimbursement for some or all of the purchase price of Complera in the Specified States for consumption by their members, employees, insureds, participants, or beneficiaries, other than for resale, during the period February 1, 2018 through September 27, 2022.

Excluded from the Truvada, Atripla, and Complera Classes are: (a) Defendants and their officers, directors, management, employees, subsidiaries, or affiliates;

(b) All federal and state government entities, except for cities, towns, municipalities, or counties with self-funded prescription drug plans;

(c) Fully insured health plans, i.e., plans for which the insurer bears 100% of the risk for the reimbursement obligations to members; and (d) Pharmacy Benefit Managers

Injunctive Classes:

The Evotaz Injunctive Class: All persons or entities in the United States who indirectly purchased, paid, and/or provided reimbursement for some or all of the purchase price of Evotaz for consumption by themselves, their families, or their members, employees, insureds, participants, or beneficiaries, other than for resale, during the period May 14, 2015 through September 27, 2022;

The Prezcobix Injunctive Class: All persons or entities in the United States who indirectly purchased, paid, and/or provided reimbursement for some or all of the purchase price of Prezcobix for consumption by themselves, their families, or their members, employees, insureds, participants, or beneficiaries, other than for resale, during the period May 14, 2015 through September 27, 2022; and

The cART Foundation Drug Injunctive Class: All persons or entities in the United States who indirectly purchased, paid, and/or provided reimbursement for some or all of the purchase price of a cART Foundation Drug2 for consumption by themselves, their families, or their members, employees, insureds, participants, or beneficiaries, other than for resale, during the period May 14, 2015 through September 27, 2022.

Excluded from each of the Injunctive Classes are: (a) Defendants and their officers, directors, management, employees, subsidiaries, or affiliates; (b) All federal and state government entities, except for cities, towns, municipalities, or counties with self-funded prescription drug plans; (c) Fully insured health plans, i.e., plans for which the insurer bears 100% of the risk for the reimbursement obligations to members; (d) Pharmacy Benefit Managers; and (e) The Judges in this case and any members of their immediate families

Additionally, excluded from the cART Foundation Drug Injunctive Class are natural persons who have filed a claim for personal injury against any of the Defendants or Bristol-Myers Squibb Company or E. R. Squibb & Sons, L.L.C., alleged to be caused by the consumption of a tenofovir-containing product.


Your options depend on whether you are a member of one of the Damages Classes or a member of one of the Injunctive Classes. If you are a member of one of the Damages Classes, you have the right to exclude yourself from (to opt out of) the Damages Classes no later than March 15, 2023. Details on how to request exclusion can be found at www.HIVDrugLitigation com. If you do nothing, you will remain a member of the class(es) and be bound by the outcome of this lawsuit, whether by a settlement or by a judgment rendered for or against the Defendants. If you are a member of one of the Injunctive Classes, you cannot exclude yourself from the Class

The deadlines contained in this notice may be amended by Court Order, so check the website for any updates A trial is scheduled for March 27, 2023 and any updates will be provided on the website.


Visit Call 1-877-388-1751

1 The “Specified States” for each of the Damages Classes are: Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

2 For the purposes of this class definition a cART Foundation Drug is any of one or more of: Atripla, Biktarvy, Complera, Descovy, Genvoya, Odefsey, Stribild, Symtuza, Truvada, and Viread.

G ff ff Y G ff ff Y
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In Case of Emergency, Break Glass: 10 Emergency Ways to Combat the Hiring Crisis

It’s time for local government agencies to take urgent measures with their talent recruitment and retention.

Patrick Ibarra


Workforce Trends to Watch in 2023

Based on recent studies, MissionSquare Research Institute has identified key strategies and actions for public service employers to consider in their recruitment and retention efforts.

Rivka Liss-Levinson, Ph.D. and Gerald Young


Six Tips to Recruit and Retain Generation Z for Local Government

Consider the purpose-driven Gen Z perspective before, during, and especially after the hiring process.

Santor Nishizaki


Let’s Think Differently About… Performance Evaluations!

We should recognize that performance evaluations aren’t effective and instead refocus our efforts on developing a straightforward system of employee development.

Ed Everett, ICMA-CM (Retired) and Mary Welch


Leaning into the Future: Six Steps for Creating a Comprehensive Leadership Development and Learning Program in Your Organization

Built from the ground up, the city of McKinney’s program has resulted in increased employee engagement, stronger teamwork, and higher staff morale.

Joe Mazzola and John Cunningham


Strengthening HR from the Inside Out

What began as a Leadership ICMA capstone project for a Boston suburb soon turned into something greater as the team realized their research and recommendations are applicable for many local government organizations.

Laura Savage



2 Ethics Matter!

Be Alert to Conflicts of Interest

6 Letter from the CEO/Executive Director Gen Z Can Discover a Purpose-Driven Career in Local Government with the Help of Mentors

8 Assistants and Deputies Being a Great Number Two

40 Inside ICMA Special Thanks to Our Supporters

44 Professional Services Directory

45 Member Spotlight David Ellis


International City/County Management Association


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Be Alert to Conflicts of Interest

There is an extremely high probability that at some point in your career, you will have a conflict of interest. Your initial reaction to that statement may be to discard it outright as being inaccurate and overly broad. After all, as a professional with a commitment to very high ethical standards and good situational awareness, that’s just going to happen. You would never put yourself in a position where someone would question your loyalties and commitment to your organization. You are simply not that person who leverages their position for personal gain or who indulges in self-dealing.

• You want to build a home in the county where you are employed. Hands down the best builder is part of a large family-owned firm. His business partner is an elected official serving on the county board of supervisors.

• After donating personal time to a local nonprofit, you are asked to join their board. The nonprofit gets funding from the city where you work.

It’s important to acknowledge though that conflicts of interest don’t always arise by intentional acts. In its simplest form and by its very definition, a conflict of interest happens when your personal interests or loyalties intersect with your professional obligations. That conflict can and often does present itself in the ordinary course of living your life. Think about it. Unless you build a truly impenetrable firewall between your life and work (which is virtually impossible for anyone working in local government), your personal life will overlap with your professional obligations at some point. Here are very common examples of the conflicts of interest that local government professionals encounter:

nternational City/County Management Association

February 2023

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• After selling his business when you relocated to accept a new position, your spouse wants to start a new business. The plan is to buy and renovate an abandoned building on the edge of the business district in the town where you work.

• Recent layoffs in the tech field find your adult child looking for a job. In a very competitive market, her best offer is a firm that does business with the county AKA your employer.

• You need legal advice on how best to manage the affairs of your aging parents. In a very rural area, there are not a lot of attorneys to choose from. The most qualified in elder care law happens to also serve as the appointed city attorney.

• A very close friend is elected mayor in the community where you work and live.

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Creating and Supporting Thriving Communities

ICMA’s vision is to be the leading association of local government professionals dedicated to creating and supporting thriving communities throughout the world. It does this by working with its more than 12,000 members to identify and speed the adoption of leading local government practices and improve the lives of residents. ICMA offers membership, professional development programs, research, publications, data and information, technical assistance, and training to thousands of city, town, and county chief administrative officers, their staffs, and other organizations throughout the world.

Public Management (PM) aims to inspire innovation, inform decision making, connect leading-edge thinking to everyday challenges, and serve ICMA members and local governments in creating and sustaining thriving communities throughout the world.

They are more common, complex, and complicated than they appear to be.

Beyond the unexpected conflicts that arise from your personal life are two other sources of conflicts: taking on a role related to your professional position and intentionally engaging in activity that creates a conflict. Here are examples in all three spheres and advice for reconciling the conflict.

The Unexpected Personal Conflict

Examples of the ways in which your personal life could unexpectedly cross over into your work world are so varied and interesting. For one manager, the issue was syrup. A personal hobby harvesting syrup from his backyard raised a conflict-of-interest question in his mind when an investor arrived with a proposal to develop syrup into a local and regional industry. Even though the manager’s harvest was very small and not sold commercially, he stopped to reflect whether he would have a conflict of interest here in advancing this economic effort. Key to the determination that this was not a conflict of interest in fact or appearance was that his venture was purely personal. The output of syrup from his harvest was shared with friends, and he had zero interest in ever going commercial. Absent personal or financial benefit, his advocacy for syrup as a growth industry for his city did not present a conflict of interest. When your reach the nexus of “personal” and “professional” interests, it is wise to stop to consider whether because of your position in the organization, you will:

• Be required to provide information and recommendations on the matter in your professional capacity.

• Supervise those responsible for managing the issue within the organization.

• Be responsible for taking an official action.


ICMA Executive Board


Jeffrey Towery, ICMA-CM

City Manager

McMinnville, Oregon


Lon Pluckhahn, ICMA-CM

Deputy City Manager

Vancouver, Washington


Troy Brown, ICMA-CM

City Manager Moorpark, California


International Region

Chris MacPherson

Former Chief Administrative Officer

Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

Rebecca Ryan

General Manager

Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional

Council, New South Wales, Australia

Colin Beheydt

City Manager

Bruges, Belgium

• Gain personally or financially. If you are the sole beneficiary of a decision that falls within your professional responsibility, you have a significant conflict of interest that disclosure alone will not cure.

• Create the appearance that you are not impartial or objective.

If any of these factors present, then plan out a workable strategy that extricates you from the conflict.

Unintentional Professional Conflicts

There are instances where a professional, who is clearly in their lane and may have official governing body approval to act, finds themselves embroiled in a conflict of interest. Consider the case of the city manager who served as the executive director of the city’s redevelopment authority. While an independent agency, it was created by the city and receives some funding from the city. The two organizations certainly have shared and mutual interest. Appointing the manager to serve in this dual role was intended to foster cooperation between the two agencies. But this arrangement placed the manager in the difficult position of serving two governing bodies. When faced with opposing positions on an issue, to whom does this city manager owe their loyalty? How does the public know whose interests are being promulgated by a manager serving in this dual role? To compound matters, out of concern for the financial wellbeing of the redevelopment authority, the manager decided to move funds from the city over to the authority. Even operating from a position of good intent, this action was criticized by the city council who did not regard it as in the city’s best interest. The issue of whose interests are being served is a bit more challenging and nuanced when an individual is appointed to serve on a regional body. In that capacity, they are appointed as the local

Midwest Region

Victor Cardenas, ICMA-CM

Assistant City Manager

Novi, Michigan

Corri Spiegel, ICMA-CM

City Administrator

Davenport, Iowa

Michael Sable, ICMA-CM

Assistant City Manager

Bloomington, Minnesota

Mountain Plains Region

Diane Stoddard, ICMA-CM

Assistant City Manager

Lawrence, Kansas

Kenneth Williams, ICMA-CM candidate

City Manager

Beaumont, Texas

Dave Slezickey, ICMA-CM

City Manager

Kingfisher, Oklahoma

Northeast Region

William Fraser, ICMA-CM

City Manager

Montpelier, Vermont

Scott W. Colby Jr.

Assistant Town Manager

Windsor, Connecticut

Dennis Enslinger, ICMA-CM

Deputy City Manager

Gaithersburg, Maryland

Southeast Region

Nate Pagan, ICMA-CM

City Manager

Owensboro, Kentucky

Valmarie Turner, ICMA-CM

Assistant County Administrator

Loudoun County, Virginia

Jorge Gonzalez, ICMA-CM

Village Manager

Village of Bal Harbour, Florida

West Coast Region

Roxanne Murphy

Operations Department Administrator

Nooksack Indian Tribal Government, Bellingham, Washington

Pamela Antil, ICMA-CM

City Manager

Encinitas, California

Jessi Bon

City Manager

Mercer Island, Washington

ICMA CEO/Executive Director Marc Ott

Director, Equity & Lynne Scott

Social Justice and Membership Marketing

Managing Editor Kerry Hansen

Newsletter Editor Kathleen Karas

Graphics Manager Delia Jones

Design & Production

government’s representative with the expectation to serve the interests of their community in the context of also serving the region’s needs. At times local interests may take a backseat to regional interests. When that happens, the representative would be smart to keep their governing body up to speed and to take direction from their governing body.

Approval by the governing body to do something that raises an ethical issue for you or the staff does not absolve you from the responsibility to do what is right.

Intentional and Unwise Professional Conflicts

These run the gamut from having a personal relationship with a subordinate staff member to directing staff to hire a relative to investing in a business opportunity in the community where you work. The first creates an enormous liability for the organization and disrupts the culture. The latter could be a violation of the principle

that a public official should not leverage their office or position for personal gain. To avoid self-inflicted harm, review the guidelines in the ICMA Code of Ethics on personal relationships, investments, private employment, giving policy advice, advocating for your personal cause, and confidential information just to name a few.

Murky Ground

In between the unforeseen conflicts and the intentional self-dealing lies what can be murky territory. As in many professions, it’s not uncommon to use the talent and expertise gained in a career to teach or work as a consultant. If you are still a practitioner, it is a conflict of interest to serve as a consultant to your organization, represent an entity appearing in an official capacity before your organization, or work behind the scenes for an entity that involves your employer. No level of disclosure will cure this conflict. If you want to have dual careers as both practitioner and consultant,

your clients should be very far removed from your primary employment. Once you have entered the “encore” stage and no longer work for a local government, you have more leeway to engage so long as you show respect for the current manager and don’t overstep your relationship with your former colleagues.

Guiding Principles

Best to frame the issue of conflicts of interest in terms of your integrity, credibility, and trustworthiness. As you navigate and resolve a conflict, will anyone from the outside looking in question whose interests you were serving? Relating back to Tenet 3 and the commitment to integrity, is your personal and professional conduct building trust? From the perspective of Tenet 12, are you respecting and advancing the principle that holding a public office or position is a public trust?

Be alert to the conflicts of interest that may come your way. Once in your path, discern whether it is a conflict of interest in fact or appearance? Will disclosure alone cure the conflict? Do you need to disengage? Best to be conservative in your approach as the stakes are significant when your reputation, a most valuable asset, is on the line.

As you navigate and resolve a conflict, will anyone from the outside looking in question whose interests you were serving?


Announcing an effort to help local decision-makers enhance economic mobility and opportunity in your communities.



X Receive up to a $30,000 grant for their local government to participate in this learning cohort.

X Network with other local government professionals.

X Access free technical assistance from economic mobility experts.

X Participate in virtual and in-person learning opportunities, with travel expenses covered.

Learn more about this cohort opportunity at an information and Q&A session on Zoom Wednesday, February 15. Register at

Growing Local Government Leadership for Economic Mobility & Opportunity

Cohort applications close March 1, 2023.

With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ICMA will offer a series of resources and learning opportunities in 2023 around boosting upward mobility in local communities. Economic mobility describes the upward or downward movement in a person’s economic or social status throughout their lifetime and throughout generations. Embedded within ICMA’s Local Government Reimagined initiative, this program will support local leaders in advancing economic mobility and opportunity through housing and infrastructure, workforce and economic development, and public safety and community well-being actions and strategies. The centerpiece of this program will be a peer learning cohort for a select group of highly motivated ICMA members.

Find more information at

Gen Z Can Discover a Purpose-Driven Career in Local Government with the Help of Mentors

It might happen at an ICMA conference, at a state association meeting, or at a meeting within your own community. Someone you barely recognize walks up to you and says something along the lines of “that advice you gave me 10 years ago was so meaningful to me that it literally changed my life.” You may be trying like heck to remember the circumstance, but mostly you are grateful that something you said or did was of value in a young person’s professional journey.

When I connected with James Kean, a successful entrepreneur who got his start in local government, he told me about the impact that his mentor, Bob Turner, city manager of Boulder, Colorado, had on his life. He was able to apply the lessons he learned from Mr. Turner to his career, first in local government and then in the private sector, as well as his personal life. Like many of us, Bob Turner may not have even known the impact he had on Jim Kean, but that has become part of his legacy. It was simply in his moral code, his DNA, to nurture those who worked for his community, went to his alma mater, or entered the local government profession and crossed his path.

Randall Reid, ICMA’s southeastern regional director, tells an impressive story of when he “cold called” Bob Turner for advice as a brand-new city administrator. Mr. Turner not only shared his wisdom but spoke at a public meeting in the city, giving Randy a major reputational boost. As a bonus, he introduced Randy to the National Civic League and the importance of civic engagement, which has become a lifelong passion for Randy.

New Internships Created for High School Students

James Kean so valued his internship experience he asked if ICMA would help to create the circumstances that would allow others to benefit from the kind of opportunity he was given. His idea was essentially to match ICMA members, local government leaders, willing mentor students in high school, or those just beginning their college careers. With Mr. Kean’s $750,000 endowment, we hope to see hundreds of students become Bob Turner Scholars with the goal of introducing them to a values-based career in local government management. Like Mr. Kean, they may choose a different path, but they will take that journey having learned the phenomenal impact of local government.

We felt it was important to offer these opportunities to students with little to no awareness of how a city/county is run or the kind of impact they could have working

directly for their community. So many of us learned about this profession at the graduate school level, in the military, or at a point well beyond high school. By that time, most young people are hardened into their career choices. Partnering with high schools brings the reality of local government into the classroom. The Bob Turner Scholars Program and ICMA mentors can share the real-world, real-life impact they have and how city and county managers and staff positively affect the lives of everyday people.

In understanding how local governments work, Bob Turner Scholars can support their communities in a variety of ways even if they don’t choose to go to work for their community. They may ultimately volunteer for an advisory board or commission or become good private or nonprofit sector partners with their local governments as Mr. Kean did as an entrepreneur.

Multi-generational Workforce Valuable in Addressing Complex Problems

The theme of this month’s PM is the local government workforce. How better to learn about Gen Z and its integration into our multi-generational workforce than by sponsoring a Bob Turner Scholar. It’s easy sometimes to underestimate the contributions teens can make, yet they see the challenges the community is facing through a different and equally valuable lens. As they transition from their educational studies into a career, imagine the significant public service role they might play informed by the guidance of an ICMA mentor.

Many of the challenges of the day seem insurmountable at times and I believe they would remain so without the benefit of a diverse, multi-generational workforce. Gen Z brings a perspective that’s willing to challenge the status quo, to question, to test, to suggest alternatives, and to connect things in ways that may seem unorthodox. This type of energy produces innovation. In a recent ICMA Coaching Webinar on the Generational Workforce, Risi Karim, assistant to the city administrator of Northfield, Minnesota, and a member of Gen Z, said it best, “Change does not occur until you push a little bit.”

That’s what great city, county, and town managers do and what makes me so proud of our membership. They are constantly looking for new ways to leave their community and residents better than when they came to them. And that core value extends to people as well.

The impact of mentorship is felt exponentially in our workforce.
MARC OTT is CEO/executive director of ICMA, Washington, D.C.

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Being a Great Number Two

Keep these things in mind as second in command

I love my position as assistant city manager for Encinitas, California. Most cities have at least one assistant and others have two or more. I have seen assistants be involved in day-to-day operations and oversee department heads and others that oversee special projects. Either way we have a special role in our organization.

Most of my career was spent in the field of parks and recreation, but I have been involved in or responsible for a variety of city functions, such as communications, development services, engineering, human resources, information technology, public works, and utilities. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to learn and grow throughout my career.

A huge responsibility I have is to support the city manager and department heads. We all know that being the manager in any city is rewarding but challenging. In my assistant role, I even get to try on the manager hat in their absence. Being a great number two takes work and commitment. My role contributes to the success of the city and the city manager, as well as my own.

Get to Know the Team’s Strengths

Diversity on a team makes it stronger. It’s good to have different experience, backgrounds, and views when tackling challenges and running a city. When the new manager started, she had the executive team participate in the CliftonStrengths assessment. She wanted to see the strengths of her new team. I had taken assessments before but never this one. My top two strengths are arranger and relator. I was not surprised by my results. I am driven to organize, and I enjoy working with others to achieve goals.

The manager’s top two strengths are strategic and maximizer. She finds ways to move forward while spotting issues and focuses on strengths to stimulate personal and group excellence. Together we have enough strengths in common and different from each other to make a great team. We may each take a different approach, but we always seem to get to the same decision or outcome.

As for the executive team, there is a wonderful array of strengths that they possess. Each department head’s strengths generally relate to the position they hold. We have a very well-rounded leadership team in our city.

Communication Is the Key Organizations need to communicate. Some people are better at it than others. I am what you call an overcommunicator—I like keeping others informed and

talking things through. I know when to ask for help and who to ask. I also know when I need to listen.

The manager has a lot going on and I have to be selective with what and when I communicate. I never let her get surprised. She needs to know what is happening and any potential issues that arise. I like to send follow-up emails to recap meetings or conversations so she can go back to review what was discussed to ensure we are moving in the right direction or if she needs any additional information.

With my department heads, we have weekly meeting to discuss anything they want. I let them set the agenda and lead the discussion. I always have a few things for them as well, but the time is dedicated to them and their needs. I do have an open door policy and make myself available to any staff that needs me.

Be Ready and Anticipate

I’ve been assistant for over a year and a half now under the same city manager. I am at the point where when something comes up, I know the what, where, when, how, and why questions she will ask. I even assist the other department heads when they have something they want to approach her with. She likes information to be concise. I also go to her with solutions or tasks that are already completed. I try to be one step ahead at all times, if possible. It’s a good feeling when she asks about something, and I have already taken care of it.

I provide important information to the department heads as well so they can be prepared, especially when dealing with city council or for public meetings. Good preparation usually makes for a good outcome.

Be Supportive

Work is hard and life can be, too. We all go through things and being there for one another can be so helpful. I have enjoyed getting to know the manager and department heads. We spend a great deal of time with one another. Sometimes people just need to talk, or they may even need a shoulder to lean on. I want to be this person in my organization. It’s also about encouraging and supporting others to be their best and giving them the resources to reach their potential.

As I said earlier, I truly love my job being the number two and being an integral part of the organization. I’m proud and privileged to work with such great people. I look forward to being a city manager someday and the support I am receiving from the manager now is forging that path. When that time comes, I know what I will look for in a number two and an executive team.

JENNIFER CAMPBELL is assistant city manager of Encinitas, California.




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2022 Local Government Excellence Award Recipients

Important Dates

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It’s time for local gove rnment agencies to take urgent measures with their talent recruitment and retention.


ired of posting another in a series of job announcements only to find practically no one applies and those who do aren’t qualified? Have you raised employee compensation only to realize all your neighbors have as well, so higher starting pay isn’t the competitive advantage you once thought? Wondering if remote work is a fad or here to stay? Hired people only to watch them wash out and leave your organization? Struggling to not lower your hiring standards but recognize it’s becoming a real challenge not to? Any of these statements ring true? I’m speculating that you replied yes to most if not all these questions. Consider yourself in good company as attracting talent has reached a crisis, in particular for local government.

What year is it in your organization?

In other words, from what era is the prevailing mindset? Raise your hand if you know someone who lives in a world that no longer exists. Yep, that’s what I thought. My recommendation is that now is the time to do things differently and do different things because if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got—and that’s not good enough.

The biggest issue is often the lack of applications and an increasingly smaller size of qualified candidates. Obviously, the pandemic has fundamentally changed the labor market, creating a high demand/ supply gap for talent, and today’s job seekers have higher expectations. Most job seekers are searching for an employment arrangement that generally checks three boxes: flexibility, well-being, and purpose-driven work.

Flexibility. A recent CareerBuilder survey found that more than 61 percent of employed American adults agree that they work better remotely than they do in the office. Additionally, 77 percent of job seekers who are already employed believe the option to work remotely is important in a job posting. “Employers who include a remote work option are currently attracting seven times more job applicants,” according to Susan Arthur, CEO of CareerBuilder.

Flexibility is no longer a perk; it’s expected by all your employees. The demand undeniably grew out of the pandemic experience. Job seekers from all sectors and levels are making it clear that flexibility is their top priority—including for jobs that can’t be

done remotely. It’s also a critical factor in managing employee retention. People are not willing to give up how they integrate their work with the rest of their life. Job seekers have so many options right now that they don’t have to make the trade-offs and sacrifices that they used to make and are unwilling to do so.

Well-being. Well-being is all about viewing your employees through a holistic lens. Work-life balance is no longer the norm; instead, it’s life-work balance. The trend is to create a quiet room for workers to recharge mentally, nutritional foods in the cafeteria and vending machines, fitness club membership and work-free weekends are all examples of ways to contribute to a positive mood, less fatigue, and a decrease in employee burnout.

Purpose. The public sector is all about purpose—every day each and every employee is building a stronger, more vibrant community. You and your employees are community builders. Now, more than ever, job seekers are craving positions that mean something to them and in some respects, impact society at large.

Competition for talent will continue to intensify and the belief that attracting top talent is simply about pay and pension needs to be reexamined. Increasingly job seekers are exploring organizational purpose and workplace principles as they relate to their new job.

I have authored a number of articles for ICMA about talent management, sharing proven ways that local governments can effectively address emerging challenges to attracting and retaining a modern workforce. In 2022, I penned the article, “Help Wanted: Turning Your Workplace into a Talent Magnet,” along with a companion webinar that you’ll find immediately beneficial.

In this article, I offer 10 emergency ways that you can implement instantly to successfully combat the hiring crisis in your organization and convert the headwinds of change into a tailwind. Oh, and these changes are not the sole responsibility of your HR department since hiring qualified people isn’t entirely up to them; it’s everyone’s responsibility, especially department directors.

“It’s almost impossible to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions.”
—Patrick Ibarra
Most job seekers are searching for an employment arrangement that generally checks three boxes: flexibility, well-being, and purposedriven work.

1. Recruitment Strategy

How can you find the people with the right skills to do the right work at the right time? The power balance between employers and employees has shifted. There are more jobs than people. The pandemic has prompted employers to rethink traditional ways of operating and to rethink talent acquisition. As candidates at all levels weigh opportunities differently and the competition for talent continues to intensify, organizations will need to offer an employment experience that candidates prize.

The intent is to bring in new employees who are as good as your current top performers. The marketplace for talent is competitive, so the best recruiting efforts are proactive, dynamic, and capable of engaging candidates. The challenge for public-sector organizations is to manage what comes to mind when prospective candidates think of government as an employer. Job candidates have a certain experience when they research the organization and apply for jobs—good, bad, or indifferent. This experience influences their decisions about whether to apply, accept a job offer, or look somewhere else. What exactly do candidates experience when they interact with your agency as an employer? Do candidates get a sense of what sets the organization apart from other potential employers?

Hire faster. Question every step in the current process and determine what you can either delete or compress but hire faster. It stinks when your top candidates turn down your offer for employment because they already accepted a position elsewhere.

Have a plan. When a vacancy occurs, a specific recruitment plan that consists of sourcing strategies, schedules, etc., should be co-created by the human resources business professional and the hiring manager. Agreement about these variables is fundamental to a smooth and effective process. Establish a time-to-hire metric. This will establish expected deadlines for each segment of the hiring process. These should be co-created by HR and the hiring manager of the department. This metric should be reported regularly to all interested parties.

Begin establishing your own farm system, in particular for public safety and public works and utilities. Sponsor candidates to earn their certifications with the contingent they’ll be offered a job once its completed. Revisit your partnership with unions that represent these employees and adopt a more aggressive apprenticeship and journeyman program for new hires along with a solid and reputable internship program.

Host your own career fair for all positions. Invite members of the executive team, along with front-line employees, to present and

describe the benefits of working for your agency. Obtain a background profile for each person attending and follow up with these potential fulltime employees.

Focus on college students. Tailoring your organization’s appeal to a new breed of college graduates requires a marketing approach to devising a campus recruiting campaign that addresses two of the highest priorities among young people: career mobility and social responsibility. Check out such websites as Handshake (

Gather information from current seasonal employees. Many of these employees are attending college and may be interested in employment with your workforce once earning their degree. Obtain email addresses and stay in regular contact throughout the academic year as a means of strengthening the relationship between your agency and prospective fulltime job seeking candidates. Additionally, because of their seasonal employment, this group benefits from learning about the purpose of local government and their potential contributions in that pursuit.

In summary, if you want better qualified candidates, then go get them! Hope and faith aren’t a strategy and the days of posting a vacancy and receiving scores of applications are over.

2. Job Announcement

Promise me that you’ll never again make a job description a job announcement. Let me repeat that (say it with me): “I shall never again use a job description as a job announcement.” Job descriptions are essential but often task-centric—and quite

honestly, a bit boring. Instead, how about the following:

“Adventurers wanted. We’re a unique and exemplary organization comprised of missionoriented people who choose everyday to build a stronger community. Join us and realize your potential.”

Organizational values should be included and shown in announcements and used in the hiring process. Focus as much on mindset as you do on skill set; I argue that a person’s mindset or their intangibles are as influential to their success as their skill set.

If your organization doesn’t have a list of values, now is the time to create one. These values (and please, get past the platitudes) should outline how the organization wants to treat its employees, how the organization wants to be perceived as a brand, how employees are expected to represent themselves, and how employees should feel working for your organization.

Beyond posting the values on the wall in the employee break room, you should operationalize the behaviors associated with those values into the hiring, promotional, and performance review processes.

Make open positions easy to find. Your agency should have a job opportunities or careers section on its website’s home page. Each department should list openings, describe the hiring process, provide an FAQ listing, and outline the challenges and satisfaction that employees can expect from working in

“Employers who include a remote work option are currently attracting seven times more job applicants.”
—Susan Arthur, CEO, CareerBuilder

that particular department. This type of message makes a powerful impression on potential candidates. Make sure you’re tracking traffic to your website and evaluate its effectiveness periodically.

Use social media. You must have a coherent recruitment strategy that includes an active presence on social media sites. In marketing there’s a term referred to as “spray and pray” which comes from a strategy of “let’s blast it out everywhere with hopes someone reads it.” Instead of this ineffective method, adopt a more targeted approach where you’re being selective and zeroing in on a prospective applicant population.

Social media channels— notably Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok—are the most powerful medium for communicating an employer’s brand. Your agency should use LinkedIn to promote its employer brand (i.e., reputation) as part of the recruitment strategy, especially when targeting candidates with college degrees. Avoid using a screenshot of a job announcement that lacks sizzle as your post on LinkedIn. Finally, have a presence on social media about careers and job opportunities in your agency and not just when a vacancy is open. Promoting your agency as a destination employer is a process, not an event.

3. Sign-on Bonuses

Sign-on bonuses have gained widespread popularity as employers struggle to attract talent, especially in law enforcement. But hiring experts warn that one-time bonuses have a range of drawbacks

that employers must consider, including the following:

• Sign-on bonuses should be offered consistently to all new hires regardless of position; otherwise, engagement may be low for those not cashing in.

• Current employees will wonder where their bonuses are and may jump ship to collect them somewhere else absent a monetary reward for staying (i.e., retention bonus).

• Some new hires will take the money and run; even if payments are spaced out over time, many workers will still leave if they don’t find value in the work.

• Attempting to reclaim bonuses from employees who leave early can be a legal nightmare that’s rarely worth the expense.

• Keeping employees on board for a year or more without offering additional bonuses may prove difficult, since those workers have already shown a preference for such payments.

4. Remote Work Policy

I suggest you stop referring to it as “employees working from home” as though they’re sitting at home in their pajamas. The

fact is that everyone reading this article has worked while attending one of their kids’ soccer games, sitting at an airport, during vacation, and yes, at home in their pjs. In some respects, geography has disappeared. Here’s the thing: job seekers won’t even apply for a job with your agency if a modern remote work policy isn’t offered on their first day of work. At a minimum, you should adopt a hybrid arrangement, which has become the norm for many public-sector workplaces wherein employees can choose a flexible schedule; and on certain days, everyone is in the office.

One of the most delicate issues concerning remote work is internal equity. In short, if some employees are eligible, what do those employees who aren’t receive instead. Don’t allow that issue to prevent you from adopting a modern remote work policy. First up, employees who work remotely a few times a week earn no extra compensation while working remotely so there’s no additional budget dollars directed toward it. Second, if you want to have a serious discussion in your workplace about internal equity, then it’s essential you focus on economic benefits that employees receive in certain occupations. For instance, there are a large number of government employees in occupations where overtime, uniform allowance, holiday pay, special duty pays, call-in pay, etc., are part of the package. I realize bringing up this topic can be sensitive but avoiding it places your organization at a severe disadvantage in attracting and retaining top talent. The intent here isn’t to remove

the economic benefits from employees who receive them, but that it’s not permitting the sensitivity to the entire topic, preventing you from moving forward with a contemporary approach to remote work. Ladies and gentlemen, let me be crystal clear: remote work is here to stay!

5. Candidate Experience

Candidates are savvier than generations past thanks to access to consumer-friendly technologies and the massive amounts of employer information available online. This, coupled with labor market shifts and related talent shortages, has seen employers either able to adapt to the new hiring landscape or risk falling swiftly behind the competition. Candidates do not want to expend an extraordinary amount of time to simply apply for a job. In fact, many job seekers want to complete the online application while they’re sitting at a traffic light. Offering job seekers a clean, well-branded mobile presence is now a basic requirement of an effective hiring strategy. Research shows that more than half of all candidates are job hunting exclusively via their mobile devices. Consequently, if you don’t have an advanced mobile recruiting platform, those candidates won’t find you. Finally, tools should be provided to indicate the real-time status of the candidate’s application.

After applying, candidates need to hear from your agency frequently in order to have a positive experience during the application process. Better and more timely communication with candidates throughout the applicant process should

The Three Rs for today’s workplace: reimagine, refresh, and reshuffle.

be undertaken. It costs nothing monetarily but definitely improves the candidate experience. While not everyone who applies for a position is hired and is disappointed, the candidate experience and the way your agency handles the entire process may affect whether the candidate re-applies for a future opening.

6. Selection

It’s difficult to build a modern workforce with remnants of the past, like employees being forbidden to have piercings or show body art. I ask you, what year is it in your workplace? I ask because adopting contemporary approaches to dress code is expected by your employees. Increase your use of behavioral interviewing. In the behavior-based interview, the interviewer uses examples from the candidate’s past to predict future job performance. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Therefore, you need to obtain detailed behavior-based descriptions of past events in order to determine the extent to which the candidate’s competencies match the requirements of the job. Questions that are developed should incorporate aspects of your agency’s mission, vision, and values to increase the likelihood of the appropriate fit. Behavioral interviewing should also be utilized for promotional interviews. Suggested interview questions might include:

• In past positions you’ve held, how have you handled continually shifting priorities?

• Tell us about a decision you made when you were under pressure.

• What steps have you taken when you had to make an immediate decision?

• What were the biggest challenges facing your

current employer and what solutions did you recommend and implement?

• Describe the most important attributes in people you’ve hired.

• What did you learn last year?

7. Onboarding

A systematic and effective onboarding process is especially critical in order to reduce turnover among new employees and accelerate the performance of your new employees. Let me be clear, HR can have a fabulous onboarding process for new members joining your organization, but once that employee shows up to their respective department on their first day, how robust is the departmental onboarding process? Organizational leaders should be asking each of their department directors to report out on their onboarding process for their new employees. You may discover serious opportunities for improvement.

Nothing turns off new employees more than showing up for their first day of work and finding that no one is expecting them. It can send a disheartening message that they’re not valued, and they may regret their decision of choosing to work for you. This kind of low morale right off the bat can quickly derail performance. Your organization’s brand relies on that first day for the new employee to create the necessary traction for high performance and to ensure all the terrific comments expressed by the organization’s hiring team about their employer are actually true.

Beyond the basics of having the workspace prepared, business cards printed, email accounts set up, uniforms available, and so on, your organization should assign buddies or mentors to show new employees the ropes, introduce them around, take them to lunch, and acquaint them with the workplace and their co-workers. The buddy or mentor doesn’t have to be their immediate supervisor, but someone who will have the time, enthusiasm, approachability, and credibility to help the new employee become more familiar with their workplace, including articulating expectations about performance.

Equally vital for the new employee to contribute their talent quickly is crafting a customized work plan that outlines goals and objectives to be met within the first 30 days, 90 days, and six months. Creating a clear and compelling work plan will give new employees vision, which will lead them down the road to success.

8. Learning and Development

A relic of the past is “let’s not go to great expense to train people; they might leave.” I turn that around and ask, what if you don’t and they stay? Which is the bigger risk to your organization’s level of performance? Successful organizations realize that in today’s workplace, candidates and employees alike are seeking (and usually expecting) an employer that chooses to invest in developing their skills and capabilities as a strategy for elevating employee performance and improving organizational effectiveness. Again, the employer’s reputation of being an organization that makes strategic decisions to invest in its own workforce, even through tough economic times, is important because it helps attract, retain, and develop talented people. Gone are the days when training was first on the chopping block when budgets tightened. Your organization should begin linking precious training dollars with the desires of those employees who are seriously interested and committed to improving their performance trajectory. It’s time to discard the idea of training as a budget expense and lean toward viewing it as an investment in the future of both employees and the organization.

9. Workplace Culture Culture is the workplace experiences that both shape beliefs and drive actions and results. In short, employees both affect workplace culture and are affected by the workplace culture. Most people want to be part of something bigger than themselves—this

The challenge for public sector organizations is to manage what comes to mind when prospective candidates think of government as an employer.

is why culture is the most important dimension of an organization’s identity. It’s the context—or should be—for every other dimension. Think of your workplace culture as the set of principles and mores that defines the organization, lived with conviction and consistency by every employee from top to bottom. Collectively, the culture is something bigger that unifies all the individual elements of what you are and what your employees do. Everything from outward-facing activities to internal business processes are reflections of those shared principles. In brief, culture is the predominant attitudes, language, and behavior of the organization:

• Attitudes are the way people think and feel that affect behavior.

• Language is the words people use to describe their thoughts and feelings.

• Behavior is the way people act.

Workplace culture should be factored into your organization’s recruiting and hiring decision. While organizational objectives outline what you want to get done, culture defines how you get it done. Workplace culture is essentially how you operate, interact, and collaborate to accomplish these objectives.

For their part, employees say the top three areas where they experience their organization’s culture are the mission or values statement, employer recognition or celebrations, and the approach to employee performance, according to Quantum Workplace’s 2022 Organizational Culture Research Report.1

Constructed properly, a healthy workplace culture will

reinforce the articulated values and the specific behaviors that leaders expect from all employees.

10. Performance Appraisal/Evaluation/ Management

You’ve invested a tremendous amount of time, effort, and energy in hiring new employees and now it’s time for them to perform. Let me go out on a twig and offer that your agency, in the past few years, has probably modified the performance appraisal instrument to make it shorter, maybe even put it online for easier access, yet performance management remains a sore point. You might be asking, Patrick, why are you identifying this as a subject for attracting talent? Well, it’s been my experience and observation that effective organizations actively promote in their outreach to prospective job candidates how high performance is the norm, and that the necessary mechanisms and advocacy are in place to ensure success.

At its core, performance management is about creating a work environment that helps an organization meets its goals. It’s more than just a collection of tools and processes, although there are many that can help organizations meet their goals.

Employees who are clear on what’s expected of them and who know they are being evaluated on a consistent set of criteria have been proven to be more productive and committed to the organization. Naturally, it provides them with some assurance that the organization is making decisions that affect them in a fair and ethical manner.

Failing to assess and coach employees can lower individual

performance and organizational effectiveness. Good performance management can engage employees and invigorate your agency’s overall performance. It can:

• Improve individual employee performance and enhance organizational effectiveness.

• Inspire greater employee commitment and help reduce unwanted turnover.

• Enhance your agency’s reputation as an employer of choice and strengthen your brand.

• Clarify roles and responsibilities and hold employees accountable. Performance management must be structured and consistently applied, but also flexible and responsive to the needs and styles of employees. Designing performance systems is never easy; changing them can be even harder, if for no other reason than employees are used to the ones they have, like them or not. The goals of this performance management initiative should be to:

• Educate both management and employees on the rationale and value of implementing performance management within the agency.

• Provide managers and supervisors with the tools they need, and the training on those tools, to implement performance management within their departments.

• Focus people on doing the right things that drive value for the organization and deliver results that support key strategic priorities.

• Increase accountability for performance at all levels of the organization.

• Train both managers and employees to ensure everyone adopts, understands, and embraces the principles and intent behind the performance management system.

• Communicate and coach constantly at all levels (including the executive level) to keep the intended process on track.


In closing, change introduces uncertainty into our worlds, and clinging to what we know is an entirely human response. Feeling paralyzed by the sheer scope of implications, real or imagined, is normal. Breaking down our strongly held positions to understand the underlying interests allows us to solve them in different ways. Exploring the range of options to meet the seemingly insurmountable challenges present with respect to the workforce offers a concrete path toward addressing what matters while continuing to evolve.


1 https://marketing.quantumworkplace. com/hubfs/Marketing/ Research/2022%20Organizational%20 Culture%20Research%20Report.pdf

PATRICK IBARRA and his consulting firm, the Mejorando Group, are passionate about unleashing human potential (patrick@

Most people want to be part of something bigger than themselves—this is why culture is the most important dimension of an organization’s identity.

WORKFORCE TRENDS to Watch in 2023

City and county managers in local governments across the United States, along with state governments and other public service organizations, faced yet another challenging year in 2022. At the same time, public service leaders have gained important insights on approaches to workforce management and support while attracting new talent.

Recent research by MissionSquare Research Institute ( researchinstitute) highlights six key strategies and actions that public service employers can take in 2023 to be employers of choice as they look to attract and retain the next generation of state and local government workers.1

1Communicate the Full Value of Benefits

The wages advertised for a

position represent only a small portion of the full value of a job’s financial and other benefits. Public service jobs often include more than “traditional” benefits like health insurance, pensions, and deferred compensation.

Benefits also can include paid leave, life insurance, flexible scheduling, and student loan or housing assistance, as well as important intangibles like greater job stability in the public sector, which enhances an

employee’s ability to save for emergency expenditures and long-term plans.

The data suggest that those working in state and local government do generally know and acknowledge that

Based on recent studies, MissionSquare Research Institute has identified key strategies and actions for public service employers to consider in their recruitment and retention efforts.

salary is just one part of the total compensation package— and perhaps not the most compelling benefit employees receive. While 44% of HR managers feel that the wage compensation that they offer their employees is competitive with the labor market, nearly twice as many (85%) believe that the benefits compensation they offer to their employees is competitive with the labor market. However, salary is just one part of the total compensation package. In advertising vacancies, governments will find greater success by quantifying this full value proposition of working in state and local government.

2 Customize Recruitment Appeals

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs are important to many jurisdictions’ recruitment

and retention efforts. But just expanding recruitment outreach to include a nearby historically black college or university (HBCU), for example, does not mean there’s a truly customized DEI effort. Rather, each position’s recruitment plan may include new audiences, active partnerships with

outside agencies (e.g., colleges, school districts, job training programs, neighborhood or civic associations, specialized media, and private sector groups). It also may include outreach that communicates in ways that best resonate with each of these audiences, like trading bureaucratic descriptions for missionfocused appeals and plain text. Employers also may benefit by tailoring campaigns to appeal to candidates with different benefit focuses depending on their life stages or economic circumstances. In 2023, MissionSquare Research Institute will be conducting a survey with younger workers (those

under the age of 35) to better understand the career and financial issues that are most important to younger public sector workers. Addressing their specific concerns, needs, and preferences can help employers better tailor their recruitment efforts to this next generation of state and local government workers.

3 Maintain Retirement Plan Funding

While 2021 data showed steady funding for retirement plans, 2022 brought significant

51% of state and local government survey respondents described their current morale regarding work as positive.

economic volatility impacting individual finances and worker anxiety. A vast majority (84%) of state and local government workers surveyed reported that current economic conditions and market volatility make them feel anxious about their current personal financial security. They are worried about issues such as whether they will be able to retire on time, whether they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement, and whether they will have enough money to last them throughout their retirement.

A key objective for plan sponsors is to weather volatility and commit to maintaining actuarially determined contributions. This will help ensure that funded levels do not drop, which would place

additional pressure on future contributions or on potentially higher-risk investment strategies designed to make up for any shortfalls. Full funding of retirement plans supports the dual goals of long-term fiscal stability and leveraging retirement plans to serve as effective workforce recruitment and retention tools.


Restructure the Workforce

The Great Recession and The Great Resignation have been significant disrupters to the public workforce status quo. In early 2022, more than half (52%) of state and local workers reported that they were considering leaving their jobs voluntarily due to COVID-19 to do any or all

of the following: to change jobs, to retire, and/or to leave the workforce entirely. This is particularly concerning given that those under the age of 40, African Americans, and those in K-12 education—groups that are already difficult to recruit for—were among those most likely to be considering changing jobs.

However, this time of change also offers opportunities to rethink future staffing models. Workforce restructurings anticipated in 2023 and beyond not only stem from the pandemic and economic changes, but are also tied to evolving technologies touching every field, from customer service to accounting to transportation. And while automation may not fully replace certain jobs, it is certain to contribute to job restructurings and the need

The pandemic normalized the idea that it is okay for workers not to be okay. Now, there’s a focus on worker mental health and burnout as real concerns that employers must take seriously.

to update job descriptions. Concurrently, employers can consider part-time or temporary staffing models and explore new ways of partnering in the provision of services with other governments, gig workers, or the general public.

5 Take a Holistic View

As of early 2022, just over half (51%) of state and local government survey respondents described their current morale regarding work as positive. However, they also reported feeling stressed (44%), burned out (42%), and/or anxious (39%) while at work. The pandemic normalized the idea that it is okay for workers not to be okay. Now, there’s a focus on worker mental

health and burnout as real concerns that employers must take seriously.

And as persistent inflation leads to consideration of compensation changes, it will no longer be enough to point to cost-of-living adjustments and end the conversation with employees there. Rather, employers should lean into

State and local government workers take great pride in serving their communities. This has been one of the most consistent research findings in MissionSquare Research Institute’s surveys of public sector workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers can engage with employees to learn what aspects of their jobs are most rewarding, their career goals, and how employers can provide professional growth opportunities or other forms of support. Employers can also assist their workers by providing offerings such as financial wellness programs and other benefits that can improve financial and overall health.

6 Prioritize Data-driven Decision Making

existing staff, and strategic action on the data collected to avoid preventable staffing or retention problems. By proactively assessing and engaging in successful strategies, workforce management can become a tool that enables employers not just to respond to problems that arise, but to develop the talented and diverse workforce that they need to perform essential services—and to help those individual employees thrive.

difficult conversations with team members about their financial stress, workload, health, or childcare issues. While employees are looking for improved compensation, they are also seeking other forms of assistance to reduce stress, such as hiring more staff or reducing workload, or providing more emotional support (e.g., respect, acknowledgment, encouragement).

The institute’s recent DEI survey found that a majority of governments identified workforce DEI as a priority, yet about a quarter are not tracking DEI results. Institute research also found 85% of governments are performing exit interviews, but just 37% are performing employee satisfaction surveys, while only 11% are conducting stay interviews. Given these findings, it is not surprising that less than six percent of governments are using the data from such methods to evaluate their DEI results.

More generally, public service workforce management cannot be viewed as something that is only managed at budget time or at the end of a worker’s career. Instead, it requires timely analysis of recruitment results, regular check-ins with


MissionSquare Research Institute promotes excellence in state and local government and other public service organizations to attract and retain talented employees. The organization identifies leading practices and conducts research on retirement plans, health and wellness benefits, workforce demographics and skill set needs, labor force development, and topics facing the not-forprofit industry and education sector. MissionSquare Research Institute brings together leaders and respected researchers. More information and access to research and publications are available at researchinstitute.

ENDNOTE uploads/2022/12/59599sixtrendstowatch_122922.pdf

RIVKA LISS-LEVINSON, PH.D., is senior research manager at MissionSquare Research Institute.

GERALD YOUNG is senior research analyst at MissionSquare Research Institute.

The recent MissionSquare Research Institute DEI survey found that a majority of governments identified workforce DEI as a priority, yet about a quarter are not tracking DEI results.

Six Tips to Recruit and Retain Generation Z for Local Government

No, not everyone under 40 is a Millennial; Generation Z (generally understood to have been born between 1995 and 2012) is here, and they are coming in droves!

I have been studying generations for more than a decade and have seen the impact generational differences can have on organizational performance, which inevitably impacts our customers: our community and our elected officials. As every new generation enters the workplace, different norms and values come with each cohort. By understanding Gen Z’s new viewpoints of work, organizations can adjust their culture to create a better sense of belonging, which produces better outcomes.

This article will provide tangible ways to recruit and retain the best Gen Z talent, but it can be helpful for all generations at work.

Consider the purpose-driven Gen Z perspective before, during, and especially after the hiring process.

1. Promote and Train the Best Leaders

Did you know that, according to the Center for Creative Leadership, “Almost 60% [of leaders] said they never received any training when they transitioned into their first leadership role” and that “50% of managers in organizations are rated as ineffective”?1 Also, Gallup found that “managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units.”2 So, most of our leaders did not receive leadership training once they were promoted, but they are the main reason our employees are engaged or disengaged at work. This is comparable to handing your kid the keys to a brand-new car because they got straight A’s in school but do not yet have a driver’s license.

Also, just because a candidate has seniority or a graduate degree does not mean you are promoting the right person. Yes, they may have stuck around, and pursuing a graduate degree is rigorous while working full time, but neither of these means they are 100% qualified to be a leader.

Our data found that Gen Z wants their leaders to be coaches and mentors, not just technical experts or task assigners (although these are important).3 Being a good coach and mentor requires a different lens, one that values a one-on-one mentoring session as much as writing a staff report (unless it’s the same day as your council meeting!)

Actions you can take starting today:

• When ready to promote an employee to a supervisor, make interpersonal skills a key factor.

• Provide new supervisors with leadership and coaching training, as well as a mentor.

• Make employee engagement scores of subordinates a critical factor in your supervisors’ performance reviews.

2. Create a Purposedriven Culture

Recruiting and retaining employees based on monetary incentives can be challenging unless you are a massive city/ county with a budget to match. Having consulted with municipalities and having worked in the public sector, I understand that budgets can be tight. But I have some good news: according to a recent study by Lever, “42% [of Gen Z’ers] would rather be at a company that gives them a sense of purpose than one that pays more.”4 I like to call local governments “purpose factories” because of the unparalleled impact they provide for their residents. Your after-school programs give kids a place to go; your police forces help keep families safe; your trash haulers keep the city clean, and so on.

Find ways to communicate the impact of local government employees as you recruit your Gen Z’ers, and take the time to show your current Gen Z employees how their work positively affects the community. For example, if you have a management analyst who needs to prepare a request for proposals (RFP) for a playground, take them to where the playground will be built or show them how dilapidated the current playground is, which will give them skin in the game. Once the project is complete, allow them to attend the grand opening and see how their work impacted those kids and families.

Actions you can take starting today:

• Utilize social media to show the positive impact working for your local government can create for your community, which can help recruit altruistic Gen Z’ers who want to make a difference.

• Show your direct reports how their work creates positive change.

• Create impact metrics, such as trees planted, attendance at parks and recreation programs, square footage of affordable housing, crime statistics, building permits process, new businesses, etc.

3. Invest in Gen Z’s

Strengths to Help Them Be the Best Version of Themselves

While pursuing my doctorate, I had the opportunity to take the CliftonStrengths Assessment. Upon graduation, I was promoted to work as a project manager overseas, responsible for millions of dollars while leading a multicultural team. In addition to this work challenge, I was a new father and moved my family to the other side of the world where we did not speak the language. Many changes occurred in my life in only a couple of months, and I needed to look back to my “greatest hits” from what I learned in my doctorate program. When I did this, I revisited my CliftonStrengths Assessment results and started implementing Gallup’s

suggestions based on my top five strengths. Completing this exercise gave me more energy, helped me understand where my weaknesses lie, and allowed me to delegate tasks to folks whose strengths complemented my weaknesses.

Gallup found that when organizations incorporate the identification of leadership and employee strengths into their culture, they have:

• Higher customer engagement (3-7%).

• Lower turnover (6 to 16% for lower turnover organizations and 26-72% lower turnover for higher turnover organizations).

• An increase in the number of engaged employees (9-15%).

• Significantly fewer safety incidents (22% to 59%),5 (which I’m sure your insurance provider will appreciate).

By understanding how each person on our team is wired, we can speak to them in a language they understand and will respond to, which works for every generation (Boomer to Millennial, Gen X to Gen Z). Also, this is an excellent tool for staff leadership and council to do together. Imagine, as a city manager or county administrator, you can immediately understand how each city councilmember or county commissioner is wired, and you will be able to respond in a manner or language that will keep them engaged.

Find ways to communicate the impact of local government employees as you recruit your Gen Z’ers, and take the time to show your current Gen Z employees how their work positively affects the community.

Actions you can take starting today:

• Look at your latest employee engagement survey results.

• Create a baseline of what you want to measure, such as your employee engagement results, turnover rates, absenteeism, safety incidents, customer service scores, accounts payable or RFP cycle time, and anything else you use to track each department’s productivity.

• Have your team take a strengths assessment6

• Bring in a facilitator to conduct strengths workshops, starting with the city manager’s office and department heads (you can include your city council if they are available), and then implement with the rest of the organization and find champions in each department to make it part of the culture.

• Ways to make it stick: Incorporate strength assessments into performance reviews; post results on Zoom/ Teams backgrounds, email signatures, or desks/ cubicles; and start weekly staff meetings by recognizing someone’s strength with a positive outcome.

• Once implemented, examine your metrics baseline and compare them at three months, six months, and one year. How did you do?

4. Cultivate a Culture of Growth, Not Stagnation

What is the first thing that organizations usually cut as budgets get tighter? You guessed it: professional development/training, which is a big mistake. LinkedIn’s 2022 Workplace Learning

Report states that having the opportunity to learn and grow is the number-one determinant of a great corporate culture.7 Also, McKinsey & Co’s global study found that the numberone reason why employees quit during the Great Resignation (April 2021 to April 2022) was a “lack of career development and advancement.”8

Our study of Gen Z’ers found that they want the opportunity to do tasks outside of what they were initially hired for, and many of them have a side gig or plan to get one.9 Gen Z is on track to be the most educated generation in history,10 and simply completing repetitive tasks for years before a promotion or role change will cause them to leave or engage in quiet quitting (doing the bare minimum to avoid being fired, rather than being passionate about their work). Leaders can prevent turnover by investing in professional development (conferences, tuition reimbursement, books, mentoring programs) and implementing job rotation programs.

Low-dollar actions you can start today to create a culture of growth, not stagnation:

• Establish monthly leadership book clubs.

• Create a formal mentoring program.

• Hold regional meetups— encourage your department heads (and lower-level leaders) to meet with the other folks in your region to discuss different topics and lessons learned. These roundtables can help eliminate redundant tasks and is a great way to build community and gain a different perspective.

5. Recruit Where Others Are Not Looking

One of the great things about high school Gen Z’ers is their focus on their future. They may not decide to work in the service industry because they are taking college courses, volunteering, or interning in a potential field of interest. Cities and counties can leverage this by creating a high school internship program (paid or unpaid), giving them

real-world experience while viewing them as potential hires. While writing my book, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of high school interns at a Fortune 500 company. I don’t know about you, but in high school, one of my first jobs was working at Blockbuster (RIP), which had nothing to do with my career aspirations.

One of my clients created a high school internship program to give students volunteering hours while doing real work, such as creating social media content, helping with filing, and more. Even though the interns may not work with you long term, this is a great way to plant the seed of working in local government, which could blossom into a long-term relationship.

Actions you can take starting today:

• Work with your human resources department to develop a plan to start this program. Here are some sample roles in helping you get started:


○ Social media outreach— task them with ideas to improve your social media outreach strategy.

○ Graphic design—they can create flyers for your events using Canva or other familiar tools.

○ Murals—give art students a chance to paint a mural on a wall or utility box.

○ Intern rotation program—allow them to rotate and learn about each department.

○ Environmental audit— provide feedback on what your city/county can do better to be more environmentally friendly.

• Bring this to your city council or board of county commissioners for support during your next strategic planning session.

• Ensure you use metrics to measure the success of the program: satisfaction with the program (from intern and city staff), hire rate (did you hire them later?), and general output from whichever role they perform (ex., how many social media posts or flyers did they produce?).

• Have a final project and allow them to showcase their work at a city council meeting.

6. Accountability and Metrics in a Post-pandemic World

Our data found 98% of the Gen Z’ers we surveyed want clear expectations from the first day on the job.11 If holding folks accountable and having clear expectations are important to Gen Z, but our leaders are not doing this, we could have a potential disconnect.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen businesses adapt: box stores

will deliver groceries to our car, we can visit our doctor via teleconference, and we can watch movies the same day they are released in theaters. But some organizations have been slow to adapt to a hybrid workplace. Yes, a hybrid or remote work schedule is impossible for specific roles (cashiers, parks and recreation, law enforcement, etc.), but why do human resource or finance professionals have to come into the office daily? Can you give some employees one or two days a week to work from home and save time commuting?

We found that about three out of four Gen Z’ers want a hybrid work schedule as we exit the pandemic.12 Allowing folks to have a hybrid work schedule is a low-cost perk that may lure your Gen Z workers from the private sector. Working from home has its challenges, and if employees work remotely, we need to ensure they are working, which means we need clear performance metrics and hold our folks accountable for meeting those metrics. We live in a great time where artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are easily accessible to help managers make intelligent decisions quickly. You can utilize metrics and dashboards within every department in your organization. An excellent place to start is by defining which metric is the critical indicator of success for your department or organization. For example, how long does it take to get a pothole fixed from the time of the complaint to completion?

What is your front desk’s average customer service score by category (parking permits,

building permits, etc.)? Consider tracking customer cycle times, customer satisfaction scores, weekly productivity rates, etc.

Actions you can take starting today:

• Have each department create a measurable metric synonymous with success in their department (ex., accounts payable cycle time, RFP cycle time, front desk customer service score, employee engagement scores, etc.)

• Team up with your human resources department to create a hybrid work policy clearly stating the expectations of working from home.

• Define metrics related to each person’s job. For example, your accounting department’s metrics may be the number of invoices processed or the cycle time to pay vendors. Also, providing metrics to the community can help show transparency and how hard your team works.

• You can place QR codes in your lobby and encourage residents to take a customer service survey or utilize a text messaging service a day or two later.

• When employees are in the office, use this time for critical face-to-face conversations, such as staff meetings, work sessions, one-on-ones with supervisors, etc. Most of these tips will work for all generations in the workplace, but empathy is the key to understanding each generation, and compassion is how we help them. Remember, the future is bright!



2 182792/managers-account-varianceemployee-engagement.aspx

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4 research/2022-internal-mobility-andemployee-retention-report/?utm_ medium=pr&utm_source=news&utm_ campaign=leverbrand&utm_ content=job%20crafting%20report

5 workplace/236288/global-study-roistrengths-based-development.aspx

6 cliftonstrengths/en/252137/home.aspx

7 content/dam/me/learning/en-us/pdfs/ workplace-learning-report/LinkedInLearning_Workplace-Learning-Report2022-EN.pdf

8 capabilities/people-and-organizationalperformance/our-insights/the-greatattrition-is-making-hiring-harder-are-yousearching-the-right-talent-pools

9 dp/1645438457?ref_=cm_sw_r_apin_ dp_XSPR9FJWEN0JA3QJA7QG

10 social-trends/2020/05/14/on-the-cuspof-adulthood-and-facing-an-uncertainfuture-what-we-know-about-gen-z-sofar-2/

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DR. SANTOR NISHIZAKI is the founder and CEO of Mulholland Consulting Group, LLC, and he is a Ph.D. professor of global leadership and change at Pepperdine University. His work on Millennials and Gen Z in the workplace has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, Psychology Today, Yahoo Finance, CNN. com, SHRM, ATD, and more. His new book, Working with Gen Z: A Handbook to Recruit, Retain, and Reimagine the Future Workforce after COVID-19, is available for order on Amazon. (


Let’s Think Differently About Performance Evaluations

We should recognize that performance evaluations aren’t effective and instead develop a straightforward performance evaluation system that emphasizes employee development.


A Call to Action

Let’s be honest. Performance evaluations haven’t helped in the past, are not helping now, and will not help organizations or employees in the future as they presently exist. Performance evaluations are hated equally by employees and supervisors, are an enormous waste of time and energy, and do not make organizations more productive.

So, let’s think differently about performance evaluations by jettisoning our present systems and creating new, meaningful, and effective systems.

History of Performance Evaluations and Appraisals

It is important to put any issue in context before deciding to change or eliminate it. Why were performance evaluation systems initiated? Where did they come from?

There is a basic human tendency to make judgements about others:

• In the third century, emperors of the Wei Dynasty rated the performance of family members.

• In the 1500s, the Jesuit Society developed a procedure to rate its members.

• In the late 18th century during the Industrial Revolution, workers were evaluated in order to pay them by piecework.

The concept of performance evaluations contined to evolve from there. The first significant federal legislation in the United States was the Pendleton Act of 1883, which was passed to develop a merit system to fight the spoil system. In 1920, the U.S. Civil Service Commission directed Congress to create a uniform rating system. There were continuous and frequent changes to the federal legislation (in 1923, 1949, 1950, 1954, 1962, 1978, ad nauseum) in a never-ending attempt to improve the performance evaluation system and to “get it right.”

Performance evaluations became more widespread as a formal management tool around World War II when the military used them to justify promotions during the war.

Hard Data

The vast majority of research shows that performance evaluations are predominantly ineffective, and as a result, do

not increase job performance or productivity. The following research supports this conclusion.

• In 2003, the World Bank found that in the public sector, “performance evaluations demonstrate remarkably little influence on anything and in some cases produce negative effects.”

• One professor researching performance evaluations said in the world of business there aren’t many universal truths. Just one really: “Annual performance reviews are the worst.”

• A Cornell Institute of Public Affairs survey revealed general employee dissatisfaction with performance evaluations. The greatest concerns were in the public sector arena.

• A 2012 report that gathered more than 23,000 ratings from over 40 companies found that “personnel ratings had no significant effect on profits or losses.”

• Professor Herman Aquinis, distinguished scholar at George Washington University, said of performance reviews, “It’s a soul crushing enterprise. Employees don’t know what they are supposed to do, and managers don’t see any value of it. They are only doing it because HR told them to.”

• Many big-name corporations like Dell, Microsoft, IBM, Gap, Accenture, General Electric, and others have ditched their performance evaluation process. As of 2015, 51 major firms have moved to a “no rating” system.

• The accounting firm Deloitte stated that around 70 percent of companies

Any performance evaluation system that has a chance of working and being effective must have the acceptance of management and employees.

are reconsidering their performance management systems.

• Market research from the Corporate Executive Board found 95 percent of all managers are dissatisfied with formal PE systems and 90 percent of HR professionals think the appraisals are inaccurate.

A summary of the above research is that employees and managers don’t like performance evaluations. Employees say that performance evaluations don’t reward high performance or deal with poor performance, are disrespectful, and are untimely. Managers say that performance evaluations are time consuming and do not motivate employees. Participating in performance evaluations is the job both managers and employees love to hate. It is time to ask ourselves: Why do we keep using these ineffective and generally hated systems?

What Have Been the Goals of Performance Evaluation Systems?

There has been significant “mission creep” in the many goals assigned to performance evaluation systems.

Performance evaluations can’t and won’t accomplish all these goals. In fact, one of the most common criticisms of performance evaluation systems in the literature is that they have too many goals and many of those goals conflict with one another. Such goals include:

• Assisting in decisions of promotion, transfer, or lay-off.

• Matching organizational expectations with employee objectives.

• Helping with job rotation decisions.

• Dealing with employees who have performance issues.

• Determining salary increases for individuals.

• Improving communication between managers and subordinates.

• Providing feedback and guidelines for employees for better performance.

• Instilling inspiration and higher goals in employees.

• Determining whether selected training and developing programs are effective.

• Determining training and development needs of employees.

In addition to the criticism that performance evaluations have too many and often conflicting goals, other major criticisms of performance evaluation systems are summarized below:

• They don’t improve behavior or increase productivity.

• They are universally disliked by managers and employees.

• They consume an enormous amount of time and energy and have little or no positive impact.

• Managers dislike giving feedback and employees hate receiving it.

• Eighty percent of managers, executives, and HR professionals report that performance evaluation systems in their organizations are failing.

• There is pervasive rating inflation, as most organizations report that 80 percent of employees receive ratings of “above average” or “excellent,” rendering them useless.

• They almost always lead to conflict if an employee is given an “average” or “below average” rating.

What to Do?

It is time to stop rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. We need to ditch our present ineffective performance evaluation systems. So, what should we do?

1. Let’s start with a basic belief that managers should be primarily coaches, not critics. (General Electric has taken this approach and found it has had a positive impact.)

2. Let’s agree that the only valid and widely accepted purpose of performance evaluations should be to develop our employees.

3. Acknowledge that our present performance evaluation system does not help improve performance problems, and more often, makes it harder to fire employees.

4. Let’s also agree that our present merit/civil service

systems all but guarantee automatic merit step increases for employees. Salary increases are generally granted based on formal negotiations. Hence, performance evaluation systems do not pay a significant role in our compensation system. Based on the above four statements, we should start experimenting and beta testing alternative methods for managers and supervisors to help employees develop their skills and talents. Employee development is a crucially important role of any organization and, if done well, will improve an organization. Any performance evaluation system that has a chance of working and being effective must have the acceptance of management and employees.

Getting Started: Recognize the Challenge and Learn from Others

It is important to recognize that making such a counterculture change like dumping your performance evaluation system will not be easy for the following reasons:

• Performance evaluation systems have been embedded in public sector organizations for decades and it will be argued they are needed for approval of merit pay increases and to document performance issues.

• Making such a change is relatively new and not widespread. According to the Corporate Executive Board, in 2015, nearly 12 percent of Fortune 1000 companies were ditching annual reviews—up from one percent in 2011 and two percent in 2012.

The vast majority of research shows that performance evaluations are predominantly ineffective, and as a result, do not increase job performance or productivity.

• Any change in the performance evaluation system, even a pilot program or beta test, could be subject to the meetand-confer process in some organizations.

• The public sector is risk averse, slow to change, and most often is “status quo” oriented.

What we have learned from those corporations that have ditched their traditional performance evaluations systems is that they have replaced them with systems that have similar characteristics, including the following:

• Companies recognize managers as coaches and employee development is considered one of their most important jobs. Some companies have developed resources focused on coaching and growth to equip managers to become better coaches.

• Some companies have eliminated their “strengths” and “weaknesses” categories. Instead, employees are given behaviors to “continue”

and “consider changing.” This changes the focus from looking back to looking forward.

• Companies that have abandoned their traditional annual appraisal have adopted regular checkins, whether bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. Some companies document “check-in” discussions and others do not. During the checkins, expectations are set, feedback is provided, and the future development of the individual is discussed. For example, Microsoft now holds bi-monthly performance reviews. These check-ins are formal, structured conversations between managers and direct reports, in which they discuss goal progress, skill development, and more—so employees know if they’re moving in the right direction.

• Some companies have instituted ongoing discussions between managers and employees to set expectations, offer feedback on performance, and recognize strong work. Adobe reports that this saved 80,000 hours of managers’ time in annual review processes and is attributed to a 30 percent decrease in voluntary turnover.

Most importantly, many companies that have replaced performance evaluations with a culture of collaboration, continuous communication, and shared accountability report that it led to an increase in creative problem solving, teamwork, engagement, and morale, while decreasing defensiveness, conflict, and frustration.

Develop a New System and Conduct Beta Tests

We recommend convening a small group of volunteer stakeholders from a department or division who are willing to design a pilot program and beta test that program to meet the unique needs of their organization. All members involved need to be open to changing the current performance evaluation system.

Once an experimental program is designed, the volunteer department or division will beta test the new system. After an agreed amount of time, an evaluation of the beta test will be conducted. It is critical to learn from the test and make adjustments or changes to improve the original design. Remember these are small, experimental beta tests so they don’t have to be perfect the first time.


The old adage applies here: If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. Based on the research and the authors combined 75 years of experience in local government, it is clear that our profession needs to discard our current performance evaluation systems. We need to focus on one positive purpose for any performance evaluation system: employee development.

of performance evaluations. This process will enable us to learn from small experiments, to improve upon our original idea, and to get acceptance by supervisors, managers, executives, and employees. We also need to learn from each other. We will be working to develop a system whereby organizations can share their experiences in this area in order to learn from each other.

Good luck! We stand ready to assist and consult (free of charge) with anyone trying something new. Let’s figure out a way to rid our organizations of an ineffective system and replace it with something that will add value to the organization and be embraced by employees and supervisors.

Future articles of “Let’s Think Differently About…” will deal

with: (1) the practice and principles of beta testing, and (2) why our profession is terrible at disciplining and firing employees. Stay tuned!

ED EVERETT, ICMA-CM (RETIRED), is a retired city manager (

MARY WELCH served as the human resources director for both San Mateo and Alameda counties in California for a total of 25 years. She also served as a human resources consultant for Management Partners for 10 years.

We need to focus on one positive purpose for any performance evaluation system: employee development.

Leaning into the Future:

SIX STEPS for Creating a Comprehensive Leadership Development and Learning Program in Your Organization



As the leading professional organization in municipal government, ICMA encourages all members to continue learning and growing. They also stress the importance of leadership, not just management. We in McKinney, Texas, agree and have spent five years creating what we believe is a comprehensive leadership development and learning program for staff at all levels. Our efforts have paid off significantly in areas that are important to all senior leaders in municipal government. It has resulted in everything from increased employee engagement to stronger teamwork to higher staff morale. At the same time, it is helping to make us more of an employer of choice because so many of today’s employees seek out organizations where they can continue to learn and grow.

Knowing that leaders in other municipalities strive to achieve these same types of outcomes, we want to share several of the lessons we learned along our journey creating what we call “McKinney University.” And to make it more helpful, we organized them into six key steps to developing a high impact, comprehensive learning and leadership development program in your municipality.

Built from the ground up, the city of McKinney’s program has resulted in increased employee engagement, stronger teamwork, and higher staff morale.
McKinney, Texas

Step One: Build a Foundation That Supports Your Strategic Goals

When creating our program, we followed Stephen Covey’s excellent advice and “began with the end in mind.” It caused us to think deeply about our overarching goal or desired end state. This may come as a surprise, but our primary objective was not to merely come up with an excellent training program. Yes, we wanted to develop a top-tier program, but specifically one that would, first and foremost, help further our city’s broader strategic goals.

For example, a top priority when we started to build our program was to breathe life into newly established unifying core values. In McKinney, our values are Respect, Integrity, Service, and Excellence (RISE). Knowing that authentically operationalizing our values was essential for success on several different fronts, we made sure to link back to one or more of them in every class or seminar we taught. And we asked the

consultants and facilitators we hired to do the same thing when teaching classes for us. Another strategic priority in our city when we got started was to create a stronger organizational culture. Toward that end, and like many of you, we use the High Performance Organization (HPO) framework as the GPS system to guide us along that journey.1 It promotes concepts like shared decisionmaking, leadership at all levels, and intentionally setting aside time for the important work of leadership. We believe strongly in each of these HPO principles and, therefore, make sure our classes and workshops address and reinforce them wherever possible.

There are other examples we could share here, but the important point is to avoid the tendency to look at your training program in isolation. Instead, we recommend you see it as a powerful and incredibly effective mechanism to help you achieve your broader strategic goals. Such an approach will pay big dividends

in your organization over the longer haul.

Step Two: Start Small and Dream Big

We know some cities/towns/ counties will be starting from scratch. In fact, we were in that same boat ourselves several years back, doing very little internal training or professional development. As such, we started by developing a good New Employee Orientation program. In addition to the usual topics covered in orientation, we built bridges to several of the important areas previously mentioned and even included an

introduction to HPO.

Another good idea when just getting started is to seek subject matter experts who work in your organization, especially those who connect well with others. We did this with great success. For example, when employees asked about foundational classes on Microsoft Office, we turned to our informal administrative professionals’ group. Several members stepped up and created a series of hands-on classes that we made available to all employees. As a by-product, this approach is very effective in relationshipbuilding and fostering greater communication and teamwork, skills that are important for all municipal government employees to have.

Keep in mind that your internal subject matter experts will likely need some coaching on adult learning theory. Teaching adults is vastly different than teaching K-12 students or even university students. To be effective, adult courses must be interactive, relevant, and engaging. To make the content meaningful, you have to get them involved.

Lastly, we recommend you launch your program with high-quality sessions that will create a buzz throughout the organization and stir up

Avoid the tendency to look at your training program in isolation. See it as a mechanism to help you achieve your broader strategic goals.
Executive Leadership Team Department Leadership Teams Leadership Acdemy (Supervisors and Managers) New Leader Foundations (Buddy to Boss)
Emerging Leaders Series (High-Potential Frontline Staff)

employee enthusiasm for more. This, in turn, also leads to support from supervisors and managers who will recognize the downstream benefits: increased motivation, greater teamwork, more efficiency, and better customer service, among other things. Remember: quality is far more important than quantity.

Step Three: Shift the Focus to Leadership Development

If you’re reading this article, you are likely a formal senior leader in your city or county—and one who understands that one of your most important roles is developing leadership in others. As Jack Welch once said, “When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” This is nothing new. Harvey Firestone made the same point years earlier when he said, “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” It’s true.

Our city manager and executive leadership team get it. Therefore, after we got our program off the ground, we naturally shifted our focus to leadership development. Incidentally, there was a real hunger for it across the organization, too. Accordingly, by focusing on leadership development, we also filled a significant void for our employees. Furthermore, as an HPO city that embraces leadership at all levels, we felt it was essential to also provide “leadership development at all levels.” And, of course, as already mentioned, we also knew that doing so would help us further our strategic goals. Here are the different tiers of leadership development we provide in McKinney:

Emerging Leaders: This course is for high potential front-line staff who embrace our core values but are not yet in a supervisory role. It centers on leadership basics, with much of the curriculum coming from a book called Leadership Rising by retired Army Colonel John Antal (who actually teaches several of the classes for us). Department heads select employees to attend the course, drawing on input from supervisors and managers. We offer it twice per year and graduate about 25 employees in each class. It’s very popular.

New Leaders: This is a “buddy-to-boss” course and includes a series of classes specifically geared to employees recently promoted into their first supervisory role. It focuses on strategies to make a smooth transition to supervisor and covers areas like motivation, coaching, conflict management, making tough decisions, accountability, and the key

differences between leadership and management. We offer the course twice per year and intentionally keep each one small, generally graduating 12 or 13 employees in each one.

Existing Supervisors and Seasoned Managers: For supervisors and more seasoned managers, we have a deeper dive nine-month leadership academy. It covers advanced leadership skills and topics like team dynamics, organizational culture, psychological safety, DEI, and presentation skills. We break each academy class into small, cross-functional teams and have each complete a capstone project. You would be amazed at their initiative and creativity. Once they complete their work, the separate teams present their findings and recommendations to the city manager and executive leadership team. Our goal is to provide each employee with a real-world, hands-on leadership practicum, one that can also

improve our organization. This approach also demonstrates what HPO looks like in action.

Departmental Leadership Teams: Like many of you, we have leadership teams in every operating department. Each one is charged with focusing exclusively on “QII” leadership work when they meet. Forward-leaning departments have gotten very creative in developing their own leadership development initiatives for employees. For example, the McKinney Fire Department developed a special two-week Captains’ Boot Camp course that centers heavily on leadership. Also, our Parks and Recreation Department established their own Parks Academy, which includes a strong leadership development component.

Executive Leaders: Consistent with the HPO methodology, we also have a well-established Executive Leadership Team that meets


every other week to do the strategic leadership work for the city. About once per quarter we dedicate a meeting to leadership development. Those sessions cover topics like cognitive biases, emotional intelligence, diversity and inclusion, and change leadership. We typically bring in a well-respected academic or proven senior leader for these sessions.

The important point here is that we believe leadership development is important for even our most senior and accomplished leaders. Holding these sessions is good for their continual growth, and it sets a great example for everyone else in the organization. The message is loud and clear: “Leadership development and continuous learning are important for everyone in our organization.”

Step Four: Address Gaps and Build a Strong and Diverse Stable of Facilitators

In the spirit of continuous improvement, it is critical to periodically evaluate all programs to determine if they are meeting your organization’s needs. While it is tempting to rest on your laurels once the program has begun delivering strong results, there is a risk of content growing stale or irrelevant. Therefore, we evaluate all classes and workshops through regular surveys, and then use the results to course correct when necessary.

In addition to class surveys, we engage participants directly, asking them what they want, or in the case of supervisors, what they need in the way of classes for their employees to flourish. In some

cases, we identify internal subject matter experts who help, as described earlier. In many cases, however, we reach out to local universities to find professors interested in partnering with us. We also go after experts in nearby cities, local and regional consultants, and former municipal leaders, all of whom provide unique insight. We think it is crucial that staff hear different perspectives, especially when it comes to leadership.

As a result of our ongoing efforts in developing relationships with content providers, we have successfully, over time, created a strong network within our region. In those cases where our external facilitators may not be able to cover a specific topic, they have been very helpful in referring us to a colleague who can help fill a void in our program. As with almost everything we do in government, it’s all about relationships!

Step Five: Keep Working the Margins

After nurturing our program for several years, like all of you we suffered disruptions because of the pandemic. When we could no longer conduct classes in person, we were agile enough to very quickly and effectively

switch over to Zoom-based classes and seminars. We also wanted to send a strong “we care” message to our employees. Therefore, we had a psychology professor from Southern Methodist University offer virtual classes related to pandemic stress, along with the importance of optimism and staying connected in creative ways while working from home. These sessions drew larger attendance than many of our in-person classes. Our employees deeply appreciated them, too. Some, in fact, included their spouses, which we openly welcomed.

Beyond this, we recognized that we needed to be creative in other ways to keep our program fresh. For example, we launched an online book club, allowing employees from all departments and levels to meet weekly and discuss books centered on a wide range of topics they were interested in. The club has read about 15 different titles since it began— Angela Duckworth’s GRIT, James Clear’s Atomic Habits, Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law, Carol Dweck’s Mindset, and even Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike.

Furthermore, we worked with employees to create a quarterly cultural education series, inviting staff members

to share their experiences with Kwanzaa, Diwali, Juneteenth, Mexican Independence Day, and more. These sessions have grown in popularity, reinforcing relationshipbuilding, advancing our core values, and engaging employees in a way that introduces them to dates on the calendar that are important to our diversifying city. Also, they show our strong support for diversity and inclusion and our ongoing effort to create a strong sense of belonging within our entire organization— another important culturebuilding strategy.

And we established an internal Toastmasters club, which is entirely employee led. The participants, on their own, named it “RISE and Shine,” which is a good example of how they helped to reinforce our unifying values. All of these are examples of creatively working the margins to keep your program fresh and vibrant, while furthering your broader goals.

Step Six: Reinforce and Show Commitment

The final step that we feel is important is intentionally and regularly demonstrating a strong commitment to continuous learning and leadership development to eventually make it part of your organizational culture or DNA. This is an excellent area to seek help from your most senior leaders. Have them introduce individual sessions or even attend them start-to-finish. They are perfect when it comes to relating the content back to key areas that we mentioned in Step One, and they also like spending some quality time mixing with employees.

“When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” —Jack Welch

Additionally, we recommend you continually reinforce key messages whenever career-oriented discussions take place. These topics are important in a training environment, but they also promote a culture of learning when leaders include them during employee reviews, career chats, coaching sessions, or celebrations of success. Toward that end, we even modified our employee evaluation system to include a block on professional growth. Additionally, work to have your key messages woven into town halls, etc. Above all else, ensure that employees receive a consistent message from every angle: everyone in the organization is expected to continue growing and learning.

In summary

An organization that is authentically committed to learning and leadership development is one that differentiates itself from others. Through targeted

and intentional programs that reflect and reinforce enterprise-wide values and other strategic priorities, a strong culture emerges and employee engagement increases. The dividends that your organization realize from a comprehensive learning and leadership development program will more than pay for the time and effort you put into building it. Think of it as an investment in the future— and a good one.

As the work of local government continues to evolve in the coming years, not only will you build capacity to adapt, but your organization will cultivate a robust team capable of moving the organization forward through a shared set of values, enhanced leadership skills, and a commitment to flexibility, creativity, and continuous improvement. And, if that’s not enough, you will make sure that the members of your team do the very best job possible supporting the residents of

your community—which is why we exist!


1 hpo-framework/

JOE MAZZOLA is director of organizational development for McKinney, Texas, and the recipient of the 2021 ICMA Assistant Excellence in Leadership Award. He is a retired military colonel and a 2022 graduate of Harvard’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program.

JOHN CUNNINGHAM has served as training administrator for McKinney for five years. He has over 12 years of training and management experience at Disney. John is a subject matter expert in curriculum development, adult learning theory, coaching, communication skills, customer service, innovation, and leadership development.

See The Technology Private Haulers Don't Want You To Know About! [407] 973-4141
Ensure that employees receive a consistent message from every angle: everyone in the organization is expected to continue growing and learning.
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Strengthening HR from the Inside Out

What began as a Leadership ICMA capstone project for a Boston suburb soon turned into something greater as the team realized their research and recommendations are applicable for many local government organizations.


A myriad of factors, including the proximity to a large metropolitan area, high cost of living, and high-performing schools, often creates a scenario for suburbs in which the recruitment and retention of employees can be difficult, especially for lower wage or entry-level jobs. Rural counties, cities, and towns navigate different obstacles to attract high performers, subject matter experts, and younger workers. Further, local governments have placed an emphasis on ensuring they are welcoming and inclusive communities yet struggle to attain their goals.

In fall 2021, the town of Needham, Massachusetts, recognized many of the same challenges, some that plagued the organization for years and others revealed by the pandemic, and the need for assistance to accomplish goals set forth by elected officials. In an innovative approach, Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick asked ICMA for help, providing an opportunity for Leadership ICMA (L-ICMA) individuals to work on current local government workforce issues.

For more than 15 years, L-ICMA has graduated numerous mid-career ICMA members through its competitive, intensive two-year ICMA University program designed to cultivate key competencies needed for successful leadership at all levels of local government management. The class of select individuals complete a series of class modules and team-based capstone projects.

When Kate Fitzpatrick provided a capstone project

to develop an analysis of and recommendations for strategies to guide the town of Needham’s human resources department to enhance the diversification of their talent pool and provide and fund attractive employee benefits and programs, five Class of 2022 L-ICMA members eagerly volunteered.

The L-ICMA team members were Jack Daly,

research on emerging trends and best practices related to employee recruitment, compensation, benefits, and program offerings, the L-ICMA team is proud to share the key findings and recommendations.

Literature Review

The L-ICMA team reviewed the Society of Human Resources Management

charged with recruiting and retaining employees or are those responsibilities shared with department leaders and supervisors throughout the organization?

• What role does HR play in terms of retaining employees? Or ensuring diverse applicant pools?

If these tasks are HR’s responsibility, then there needs

assistant public works director, Georgetown, Texas, and L-ICMA team lead; Jared Jones, assistant city manager of operations, Panama City, Florida; Jennifer L. Prochazka, AICP, assistant city manager, College Station, Texas; Stephanie Reyes, interim city manager, San Marcos, Texas; and Laura Savage, senior program manager on the ICMA membership team.

What began as a capstone project for a small, wealthy Boston suburb soon turned into something greater as the team realized their research and recommendations are applicable beyond Needham’s town limits and can be right sized for many local government organizations. Through the course of virtual meetings with Needham town management, an onsite visit to the town, and 10 employee focus groups, as well as

(SHRM) State of the Workplace Study 2021-20221 and WorldatWork’s 2021 Total Rewards Inventory Programs & Practices,2 which was released in February 2022, to determine what drives success in human resource departments—and what does not.

When analyzing the data from SHRM and WorldatWork, the team reached several conclusions that should be considered best practices for local government.

The Role of Human

Resources. It is critical for town management to define HR’s role in the organization as it relates to recruitment, retention, and organizational morale and engagement. Within those definitions, there needs to be clarity around these questions:

• What role does HR have when it comes to recruitment? Is HR solely

to be appropriate support and resources to ensure they can achieve their objectives. If these responsibilities are shared among departments, then time needs to be taken to document roles and responsibilities, and then provide appropriate training to hiring managers to ensure they can meet the expectations of the organization.

Rethink Your Approach to Compensation. The trend in compensation is to focus on market-based adjustments as opposed to cost-of-livingadjustments. Historically, the public sector has used other public sector employers as the basis for their market studies. As wages increase in the private sector, however, the public sector may need to amend compensation philosophies to include benchmarking against private sector employees, especially in hard

It is critical for town management to define HR’s role in the organization as it relates to recruitment, retention, and organizational morale and engagement.

to fill positions. Additionally, incentive pay to encourage continuing education, longevity, and rewarding high performers should be considered in compensation strategies. Compensation tools can include bonus pay (which avoids compounding salaries); accelerated step programs (which reward longevity but are front-loaded); weekend or shift differential pay; accelerated pay increases for high performers; and referral, sign-on, or retention bonuses to encourage employees to participate in recruitment efforts.

Flexibility for all. Workplace flexibility appears to be a trend that will continue. Employers need to be open to more remote work and possibly even dedicated remote positions, especially for hard-to-fill positions. For jobs that cannot be done remotely,

flexible schedules should be discussed. Rethink Benefits. New benefit offerings should be considered. Specifically, the following benefits are increasingly becoming standard:

• Shifting to a paid time off (PTO) bank versus accruing separate sick and vacation leave.

• Short-term disability insurance.

• Unpaid, job-protected time off to care for or bond with new children (beyond what’s required by state and federal laws).

• Dependent care spending program.

• Identify theft insurance.

• Personal financial planning services tied to the retirement program.

• Pet insurance.

• Paid civic duty.

DEI-centric Recruitment. Finally, a focus on specifically recruiting from more diverse or underrepresented talent pools will help address concerns related to recruitment and retention, as well as dovetail with implementing or expanding DEI initiatives. According to SHRM, both efforts are interrelated and successes in one will drive success in the other.

Employee Focus Groups

To help better understand what attracts employees to apply to work for Needham, what makes employees stay, and what can be done to attract others to Needham, the L-ICMA team conducted onsite stakeholder retention and recruitment interviews on March 28 and 29, 2022. Ten employee interviews were held over the two

days and represented town employees with varying tenure and responsibility within the organization. The team also visited various town facilities and spoke with staff at Town Hall, the Recycling and Transfer Station, the Department of Public Works, and the Fire Station. These interviews were conducted as facilitated focus group discussions with approximately 5- 10 participants in each group. Targeted employment demographics included:

• Ten or more years of tenure in Needham.

• Four to nine years of tenure in Needham.

• Three or fewer years of tenure in Needham (two groups interviewed).

• Six months or less tenure in Needham (three groups interviewed).

• Managers and supervisors.

Laura Savage, Stephanie Reyes, Jennifer Prochazka, Jackson Daly, Jared Jones, and Chuck Murphy-Romboletti (director of human resources, Needham, Massachusetts)

• Hard-to-recruit positions.

• Public safety.

Focus group participants were asked to share their thoughts about Needham as a community and as an organization in which to work. Interviews were organized onto three distinct discussions focusing on compensation, employee benefits, organizational culture, and diversity. The same discussion format and guided questions were used for all focus groups regardless of tenure or responsibility within the organization.

Key Findings

#1 Needham employees enjoy the work, the work culture, and the leadership. Participants were positive about the environment and opportunities in Needham. A very common response when asked about the best part about working for Needham was the people with whom they work. Additionally, L-ICMA heard numerous unsolicited comments related to the professionalism of and the support from town management.

#2 While an initial concern for town leadership, length of commute did not appear to be a concern for those residing outside of Needham. In fact, while very few participants live in Needham, the majority of participants stated the short commute time to Needham as a benefit.

#3 Several small, but impactful changes could be made to both attract and retain existing employees. Demonstrating care for the employees as individuals and

supporting their whole self while they work for the town of Needham will set Needham apart from the competition and make it an employer of choice.

Recommendations from Employees

From the hours of interviews and in-depth discussions, L-ICMA developed a list of specific and actionable recommendations from the participants:

• Needham school eligibility for all Needham employees. The town has

support each other, and meet to discuss innovative town operation ideas and emerging leadership skills.

• No civil service or residence requirements. Due to the high cost of housing and existing demographics in Needham, any civil service or residency requirements will greatly limit the potential talent pool and reduce the diversity of the workforce.

• Employee plus one insurance. This recommendation was stated

employees with young families or those with aging parents needing care.

• Childcare assistance. Childcare costs are high in and around Needham. The ability to have a child close to a parent at work was mentioned as an important benefit by parents with small children. It can also be a benefit to the employer since closing times of faraway childcare facilities may mean employees need to leave work earlier. Childcare assistance could be in the form of

excellent schools that could serve to attract top talent and retain existing employees.

• Last mile public transportation. Needham has direct and convenient access to public transportation that expands its potential talent pool. Several participants expressed concern that once in Needham, only Town Hall was in proximity to the transit stop. Ride share, bike share, or other easy to access transportation to other town facilities could remedy this concern.

• Summer ambassador program. A paid internship program offering a pipeline of potential talent to serve the town in the future. A mixed cohort of interns from across town operations could cross-train together,

many times throughout the discussions with interest from members of households that either do not yet have children or whose children have left the home.

• Housing assistance. Citing the high cost of housing and transportation in Needham and the greater Boston area, participants felt that the only way for employees to live in Needham and therefore reduce transportation costs is to either offer housing assistance or for “town housing” (akin to “company housing” of the past) to be developed in Needham.

• Paid family leave/ parental leave. This additional benefit was recommended a number of times in support of

additional compensation or through an employersponsored childcare facility.

• QR codes on trucks for recruiting. This recommendation came from one of the participants and is a creative and low-cost way to advertise jobs on the very vehicle or equipment that prospective employees may operate!

• PTO instead of buckets. Shifting to a personal time off (PTO) bank in lieu of distinct buckets for vacation time, sick time, etc. can offer additional flexibility for staff and allow the employee to step away from work without identifying the need for the time off. In addition, it may reduce stigma surrounding mental health and provide more privacy for those living with chronic illness.

With younger people entering the workforce, paid family or parental leave is an important incentive to attract potential candidates.

Impact/Effort Matrix

• Front-loaded benefits. This additional type of benefit may help attract top talent that is currently happily employed elsewhere. Changing jobs is a huge decision once established in a successful career. To make a move to the town of Needham more attractive, a front-loaded bank of PTO should be offered.

Introductory or probationary periods that restrict the use of vacation time are quickly becoming a thing of the past as employers show their staff appreciation and trust by providing this benefit as soon as employment begins.


The site visit, as well as the focus groups and employee surveys, helped the team determine if Needham has the components to meet standards of being an employer ideally

situated to recruit and retain top talent among its workforce compared with the research of current trends within the public and private sectors.

After analysis, these general recommendations were made to guide Needham to more comprehensively address the wants and needs of their employees, as well as position them to attract new ones:

1. Define the mission and role of Needham’s Human Resources Department to position the department to be more strategic. Shifting from an administrative department to a strategic department will require better employee on-boarding and ongoing communication, as well as organizational development, training, and recognition programs to ensure that employees understand and appreciate

the programmatic offerings of the HR department and what individual departments are responsible for within those offerings.

2. Study new benefit offerings to include adopting a paid time off (PTO) bank and implementing a short-term disability insurance program, paid paternity leave, and dependent care subsidies.

3. Adjust the town’s compensation philosophy to be more incentive-based to encourage continuing education, longevity, high performance, and employees participating in recruitment.

4. Explore options to adjust recruitment strategies, such as encouraging and advertising workplace flexibility; targeted recruitments for veterans, historically underserved

communities, community and technical colleges, and high schoolers; and developing a more robust internship or summer ambassador program. Hiring supervisors need to understand the process and what can be offered to potential employees. Training to help hiring managers think through equity issues when negotiating pay and paid time off will also help address concerns highlighted in the focus groups.

Human Resources

The HR department currently functions in a support capacity and the entire organization and community could benefit from them being a more strategic business partner. The current HR team is excellent; however, it is difficult to focus on the bigger picture and

Last Mile Public Transportation $$ No Civil Service or Residence Requirements $ QR Codes on Truck for Recruiting $ Needham School Eligibility $ Summer Ambassador Program $ Housing Assistance $$$$ Paid Family Leave / Parental Leave $$ Front Load Benefits $ Childcare Assistance $$$ Employee Plus One Insurance $$$ PTO vs. Buckets $ EFFORT LOW HIGH IMPACT LOW HIGH
Low Impact, High Effort Low Impact, Low Effort High Impact, High Effort High Impact, Low Effort

being more proactive without having the necessary staff and resources to accomplish this vision. The recommendation is to conduct a study to more accurately identify the needs that are essential to allowing the HR team to focus on more targeted recruitment, creating an environment that focuses on the entire lifecycle of an employee from onboarding to offboarding. Managers within the organization play an integral role as well as they must own and foster a positive and productive organizational culture. The current town manager and her team are very supportive of their employees.

Recruitment efforts should focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion and recruiting firms should be utilized for specific positions, such as executives and those that are hard to fill. Recruitment firms can assist by being a conduit for bringing talent into the selection process who may not otherwise apply.

There also needs to be a comprehensive onboarding process so employees who come into the organization feel invested in the organization. Organizational culture and

having shared core values and organizational vision are extremely important. People leave an organization if the proper culture is not fostered. Culture involves training and developing the individual employee to meet their full potential, implementing employee recognition programs on a regular basis, providing for career progression and professional development, even doing proper exit interviews to understand why the employee is leaving and how Needham can improve in areas identified. Managers should have scheduled check-ins with their employees to ensure that there is regular communication and a clear understanding about how things are going from both the employee’s and manager’s perspectives to keep employees and management working toward common and shared goals.

Employee Benefits

Specific to benefits, employees cited the attractiveness of being able to have their children attend Needham schools as an incentive. There is also interest in creating a personal time

off (PTO) structure rather than having separate sick and vacation leave banks. PTO will allow for more flexibility, as well as not have the employee have to identify why here she is taking time off. In addition, it maintains privacy and is free from labeling or judgment.

With younger people entering the workforce, paid family or parental leave is an important incentive to attract potential candidates. Childcare assistance is also important to allow employees to achieve a better work-life balance and know that their employer acknowledges the high cost of childcare. In addition, a lot of employees do not work and live in the same town, so having childcare available in the town in which they work is more ideal. In order to entice employees who may not otherwise be looking for a new position when they are established with another organization, it will be more attractive to frontload PTO banks upon hire rather than to have the employee wait six months during an introductory period to be able to request time off if needed.

Incentive pay is an attractive option to encourage employees to grow and to recognize them for career progression. This can take the form of additional pay for licensing, longevity pay to reward employees who stay with Needham, or pay to recognize high performance.

Other recruiting benefits that can attract potential workforce are having flexible hours, remote work positions, and flexible workspace that may not require an employee to be onsite for 100% of their work schedule. There is no one-size-fits-all model so it is important to remember that

having a variety of programs that speak to a broad audience is imperative.

Moving Forward

Again, it is necessary to emphasize that overall town employees are satisfied and feel supported by their current town leadership. Although the organization provides comprehensive benefits for their employees, there is still room for improvement. In order to make adjustments to move toward developing wellintegrated and comprehensive programs, the ideal components identified in the study will be extremely useful tools for helping develop Needham’s (and any local government organization’s) programs.

It was truly an honor to participate in the L-ICMA effort to assist Needham with their recruitment and retention concerns. We enjoyed meeting Kate Fitzpatrick and her team and cannot express enough gratitude for their insight, generosity, and hospitality. It is very meaningful to be able to explore and uncover insights within another organization’s operations. Each L-ICMA team member brings more knowledge and expertise back to their home organizations because of the unique opportunity offered through ICMA.


1 pages/shrm-state-of-the-workplacereport-.aspx

2 research/total-rewards-inventoryprograms-and-practices

LAURA SAVAGE is senior program manager, member services and ethics, at ICMA (
Jennifer Prochazka of the L-ICMA team

Special Thanks to Our Supporters

A special thanks to the 2022 supporters and friends of the ICMA Future of Professional Management Fund

ICMA would like to express its gratitude to the individuals and organizations listed in this special section for supporting the local government management profession by becoming ICMA donors. Their financial support of the Future of Professional Management Fund and other donor-supported professional development scholarship opportunities has helped promote and preserve the profession and, accordingly, strengthened local communities everywhere. Because of our contributors’ generosity, ICMA was able to continue its mission of advocating for professional local government management by supporting the adoption and retention of the council-manager form of government, raising public awareness about the profession, and inspiring a new generation of future local government leaders.

ICMA is honored by the generosity and commitment of all of the donors.

Organizational Donors

Illinois City/County Management Association: $4,800

Kansas Association of City/County Management: $1,000

Mirick O’Connell: $399

Virginia Local Government Management Association: $4,000

Washington City/County Management Association: $2,000

Wisconsin City/County Management Association: $500

Individual Donors

Robert D. Agee: $20

Lisa Blomgren Amsler: $10

Gordon R. Anderson: $100

Amie Bah: $5

Sheryl D. Bailey: $100

W. Lane Bailey: $100

Jane Bais-DiSessa: $150

Daniel G Bauer: $25

James B. Baugh: $500

Jamie Beasley: $5

Teodoro J. Benavides: $200

Seth B. Benjamin: $50

Martha J. Bennett: $100

John S. Bennie: $15

David Biggs: $100

Patricia Black: $25

Donald H. Blake: $25

Wally Bobkiewicz: $100

Jessi Bon: $100

Stephen Bonner: $200

Julie M. Brenman: $25

Barry M. Brenner: $100

T.C. Broadnax: $500

Thomas L. Brownlow: $50

David R. Burman: $100

Troy L. Butzlaff: $50

Matthew H. Candland: $50

Ron Carlee: $500

Scott R. Carney: $100

Justin Casanova-Davis: $10

Evelyn Casuga: $50

John J. Caulfield: $250

Elishia Chamberlain: $20

Nathan M. Cherpeski: $100

Edward J. Ciecka: $100

John M. Coakley: $50

Charlotte A. Colley: $50

Larry R. Coons: $100

Cesar Ricardo Correa: $50

Charles J. Cristello: $100

Larry J. Cunningham: $500

Clay J. Curtin: $1,200

Michelle Marie Daher: $150

J. Scott Darrington: $120

Lange Karen Daulton: $25

Llamas Lloyd De: $1,000

Brian K. Dehner: $100

Daryl J. Delabbio: $50

Walter L. Denton: $100

Sara Deuster: $200

Vince DiPiazza: $100

Gerard Divay: $50

John J. Duffy: $50

Jana L. Ecker: $50

Candice J. Edmondson: $500

Lee R Feldman: $1,200

Veronica A. Ferguson: $50

Thomas Fountaine: $100

William J. Fraser: $100

Karl F Fulmer: $24

Lee A. Furness: $50

Chantal Cotton Gaines: $20

Sam S. Gaston: $1,000

Bill Geddy: $100

Rita L. Geldert: $100

Dianne L. Gershuny: $50

Patrick L. Goff: $100

Jorge M. Gonzalez: $150

Magda Alicia Gonzalez: $100

Salvador Gonzalez: $5

Kurt S. Hansen: $200

Kathleen Jenks Harm: $200

Harry W. Hayes: $50

Julie C.T. Hernandez: $50

Edmond Hinkle: $100

Melissa N. Hipp: $10

James N. Holgersson: $500

Otis L. Hollar: $50

Brian P. Humphress: $50

Gloria Hurtado: $50

Genaro C. Iglesias: $10

Mark Israelson: $100

Desmond I. Jeffries: $25

Brian L. Johnson: $300

William E. Johnson: $100

Crandall O. Jones: $150

Baldev S. Josan: $100

Peter Kenney: $50

Richard I. Kerbel: $50

Peter A. Korn: $100

John Kross: $100

Nicole Lance: $25

Richard J. Lee: $100

James R. Lewis: $100

Jonathan R. Lewis: $100

Layne P. Long: $150

Katherine G. Love: $50

Suzanne Ludlow: $100

Jonathan James Macias: $10

Matthew G. Magley: $100

continued on page 42 40 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | FEBRUARY 2023


James J. Malloy: $660

Benjamin B. Marchant: $50

William Martin: $10

Shannon Martinez: $50

Lorin McKnight Mayo: $50

Tad McGalliard: $112

Robert C. McGrory: $200

Susan K. McLaughlin: $29

Michael A. McNees: $100

Molly Mehner: $250

Peggy Merriss: $2,000

Florentine Miller: $350

Justin J. Miller: $150

Liz R. Miller: $25

Nada Mohamed: $1

Bryan Hyrum Montgomery: $100

David E. Moran: $100

Joyce L. Munro: $50

Eric P. Norenberg: $200

Tiffany Nozicka: $5

Paul J. Nutting: $250

Robert J. O’Neill: $1,000

Marc Anthony Ott: $1,500

Sara Ott: $100

Reid T. Ottesen: $100

Nathaniel W. Pagan: $100

Derwick L. Paige: $50

Martha L. Paige: $50

Laszlo Palko: $120

John W. Park: $50

Kenneth W. Parker: $240

William Patrick Pate: $100

Parth Patel: $20

George A. Pettit: $200

Marc H. Pfeiffer: $200

James S. Phillips: $100

Karen E. Pinkos: $100

Beth A. Pollard: $25

Frederick Presley: $600

James J Proce: $100

William A. Prokop: $50

David H. Ramsay: $25

Meredith Roark: $50

Meredith Stengel Robson: $100

Margie C. Rose: $100

Jill Rubin-Goldsmith: $100

Nathaniel R Rudy: $220

Kathleen F. Rush: $75

Elizabeth S. Ruyle-Hullinger: $50

Tamar Salpeter: $25

James D. Sandoval: $5

Ronald D. Scott: $50

Warren H. Shafer: $100

John F. Shirey: $400

Brian W. Silcott: $100

Katherine S. Simmons: $25

Nat Erskine Smith: $100

Marion Lawrence Sodnik: $25

Glenn F. Spachman: $150

Monica N. Spells: $200

Catherine P. Standiford: $50

Brent D. Stoddard: $30

Diane Stoddard: $80

Stephen K. Straus: $50

David A. Strohl: $50

Eric S. Stuckey: $200

Virginia Tallent: $10

Dennis M. Taylor: $100

James L. Thomas: $250

Peter Troedsson: $100

Valmarie H. Turner: $100

Michael K. West: $100

John A. Whitson: $100

Michael Wilkes: $100

Kimberly Woods: $30

Richard A. Zais: $100

Eric G. Ziegler: $100

Judith Ann Zimomra: $100


“I find my ICMA-CM voluntary credential encourages me to advance not only my professional development, but requires me to stay on top of relevant trends, innovation, and best practices in local government management. I appreciate the review and feedback on my annual report to ensure I am aligning my development activities to advance my management skill sets.”

City of Battle Creek, MI

Credentialed since April 2016

Demonstrate your commitment to professional development and lifelong learning. Join the growing number of those who have earned the ICMA-CM designation.

ICMA Credentialed Managers are viewed with growing distinction by local governing bodies and progressive, civically engaged communities. For more information, visit

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David Ellis County Manager Wake County, North Carolina

ICMA Member Since 2004

The Highlight of My Career

One of my first moves as manager was taking our housing division out of human services and expanding it into a department. Within that department, they developed a 20-year plan and thus far, they are two and a half years ahead of where they were supposed to be. With the focus on housing affordability, they were able to do things during the pandemic that without having a housing department we would have never been able to do.

NFBPA: Mentorship into Leadership

Calvin D. Jamison, Ed.D., current board president of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA), met me many years ago, pulled me aside, and said, “I hear you want to be a manager. I looked at your bio and here the areas that I believe you need to strengthen.” He just did that out of the blue, the first time he had met me, and his advice stuck with me and allowed me to strengthen those areas. In NFBPA, people are really willing to share their expertise and their stories. It’s just a tremendous organization that really needs to be at the forefront, not just during Black History Month, but throughout the year.

Celebrating Black History Month with the National Forum for Black Public Administrators

Advice to Black Aspiring Local Government Leaders

Develop a career plan and check on it every three years to see where you are and identify what skills or activities you should be working on. Identify mentors who are in positions that you aspire to be in the future, and really sit back for conversations with them to learn from them. Become active in organizations like ICMA and NFBPA; don’t just join them. I was encouraged to get active in ICMA and NFBPA and to this day it’s been one of the best things I’ve done for my career. There are also a number of leadership programs out there, like Leadership ICMA and the Harvard Kennedy School. I really encourage people to consider those opportunities for developing their leadership skills.


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