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Gender Differences in Local Government Managers 6 Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Inclusiveness in Local Government 20 Advancing Social Equity 40 Diversity in Public Safety Forces 58

Equity and

Inclusion

SPECIAL REPORT

BUILDING A DIVERSE PROFESSION AND ORGANIZATION

SEPTEMBER 2019 ICMA.ORG/PM


SEPTEMBER 2019 VOL. 101 NO. 8

CONTENTS

SPECIAL REPORT, P. 27 BUILDING A DIVERSE PROFESSION AND ORGANIZATION

BUILDING A

DIVERSE

PROFESSION AND ORGANIZATI ON A Special Supplemen

t to PM

20-009 PM Board

Diversity Insert.indd

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8/16/19 2:04 PM

F E AT U R E S

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12

Understanding Gender Differences A close look at local government managers

Robert Eskridge, PhD, Kathryn Webb Farley, PhD, Boone, North Carolina; and Beth Rauhaus, PhD, Corpus Christi, Texas

12 Managing Diversity and Inclusion Insights and resources

Jonathan M. Fisk, Geoffrey A. Silvera, Courtney N. Haun, Auburn, Alabama; Jeffrey Downes, Vestavia Hills, Alabama; Nathan Eberline, Overland Park, Kansas; and Phillip Smith-Hanes, ICMA-CM, Ellis County, Kansas

20 Somewhere Over the Rainbow Inclusiveness in local government

D E PA RT M E N T S

Pam Davis, Boulder, Colorado

2 Ethics Matter!

36

4 Celebrating 100 Years

Communicating Effectively with Elected Officials Key strategies for success Kevin Duggan, ICMA-CM

40 Advancing Social Equity

Lessons from (and for) public managers Benoy Jacob, PhD, Las Vegas, Nevada

44 Perspectives in Equity in Hiring Practices

Transparency vs. Confidentiality

54 Management

Empowering Needles in the Haystack

56 Commentary

Five Reasons Why You Need an Architect on Staff

58 Leadership

44

Homegrown Heroes: Diversity in the Public Safety Forces

60 Professional Services Directory

The approach to catalyzing organizational change Dwayne Marsh, GARE and Race Forward; and Daniel Garcia, Multnomah County, Oregon

49 Meeting People Where They Are How lowering barriers to participation helps reach beyond the loudest voices in the community and build trust Jay Dawkins, PublicInput.com

International City/County Management Association

49 SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 1


ETHICS MATTER!

Transparency vs. Confidentiality Balancing Two Critical Values in Public Service Back in the day, it was all about “sunshine.” Sun-

MARTHA PEREGO, ICMA-CM, is director of member services and ethics director, ICMA, Washington, D.C. (mperego@icma.org).

shine was the disinfectant that would wipe away the haze of machine politics and outright corruption that infected government. A little-known fact is that it was Utah, not Florida (the Sunshine State), that adopted the first of the sunshine laws back in 1905. The favored term now is “transparency.” It’s what every stakeholder insists upon for their governmental organization. The expectation for it is heightened when the government does something perceived to be wrong. But transparency isn’t just a standard that gets dusted off and reinvigorated in times of crisis. The value is embedded in the way local governments operate. From procurement to land development to capital investments to financial health, processes are purposefully designed to be transparent and open to provide for both input and observation. Technology has exponentially elevated expectations for transparency. From council meetings broadcast via Facebook Live to cell phone videos from the field, the public now expects to know everything that is happening when it’s happening. This all works to the professional’s benefit. Transparency is a cultural norm that is essential for building trust with the public. The more information and details people have about what is happening, the more confidence they have in the organization, even when things go wrong. Transparency will eventually conflict with the value of confidentiality. It’s the classic “right versus right” values

International City/County

Public Management (PM) (USPS: 449-300) is published monthly except February by ICMA (the International City/ County Management Association) at 777 North Capitol Street. N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002-4201. Periodicals postage paid at Washington, D.C., and at additional mailing offices. The opinions expressed in the magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ICMA.

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COPYRIGHT 2019 by the International City/County Management Association. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced or translated without written permission.

September 2019

REPRINTS: To order article reprints or request reprint permission, contact pm@icma.org.

Management Association

SUBSCRIPTIONS: U.S. subscription rate, $46 per year; other countries subscription rate, $155 per year. Printed in the United States. Contact: 202/289-4262; subscriptions@icma.org. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Public Management, ICMA, 777 N. Capitol Street, N.E., Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20002-4201. ARTICLE PROPOSALS: Visit icma.org/pm to see “Editorial Guidelines” for contributors. For more information on local government leadership and management topics, visit icma.org.

2 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019

BY MARTHA PEREGO, ICMA-CM

dilemma. Organizations will feel the tension between meeting the public’s demand for instant answers and perhaps an employee’s right to due process. Or with relentless social media coverage on an issue, they will have to resist the urge to do damage control by presenting partial facts before the complete investigation is available for public scrutiny. Regardless of good intent, maintaining confidentiality may be viewed by some as a self-serving. Protecting reputations and rights can appear to be a smoke screen. Faced with that perspective and pressure, all organizations must carefully consider their legal, as well as ethical, obligation when it comes to confidential matters. Transparency vs. Confidentiality in ICMA’s Ethics Enforcement

ICMA faces the same challenge in our approach to enforcing the Code of Ethics. ICMA’s ethics review process is totally confidential until the ICMA Executive Board decides that a public censure, expulsion/bar, or temporary suspension is appropriate. From the instant the story of alleged unethical conduct breaks and compels someone to file a complaint with ICMA until the final decision of the board, we will not comment on whether a member is under review. No external party beyond the complainant will even know that the matter is under review. And therein lies the problem. The constant media coverage of an ongoing ethics scandal can harm the Public Management (PM) icma.org/pm ICMA 777 North Capitol Street, N.E. Washington, D.C. 20002-4201 EDITORIAL OFFICE: pm@icma.org ADVERTISING SALES: 202-367-2497 Tilman Gerald The Townsend Group, Inc. tgerald@townsend-group.com ICMA MEMBER SERVICES: 800.745.8780 | 202.962.3680 membership@icma.org

ICMA 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.


community where the alleged unethical conduct happened, as well as the profession. Some ask why doesn’t ICMA just weigh in to say that the “culprit” is under review? Or why not just condemn the bad behavior to reinforce the profession’s high standards? Doesn’t staying quiet shield the individual from accountability? Adding to the complexity is the reality that ICMA’s review may conclude that the member’s conduct was unethical, but the appropriate sanction based on the facts is a private censure. A private censure by its very nature is a confidential matter. Beyond the member, notice goes only to the complainant and state association president of the outcome (assuming that both are ICMA members). The same holds true if the review exonerates the member. It remains confidential. Only the member who is the subject of the complaint can break the confidentiality of the process to reveal the outcome. The absence of public confirmation that a matter is under review and certainty around the outcome can cast doubt on the value of the enforcement process. Why take this approach then? For two critical reasons. First, the facts presented to support the alleged misconduct are not always correct. Almost 40 percent of the cases referred to ICMA are closed because the facts demonstrate that the member’s conduct was ethical. Second, consider the potential reputational damage if it were publicly revealed that an individual was the subject of an ethics complaint before the review was completed. In the interest of transparency, we do want to report the private censures issued by ICMA over the last year. The 14 private censures issued addressed violations of Tenet 7 (Political Neutrality) or Tenet 3 (Integrity). Conduct that Violated Tenet 7, Political Neutrality:

• Endorsing a candidate for elected office and speaking at a campaign event on behalf of that candidate. • Involvement in a petition effort to recall a member of the governing body. • Making a single $250 campaign contribution to a candidate running for a federal office. 2018–2019 ICMA Executive Board PRESIDENT

Karen Pinkos* City Manager, El Cerrito, California PRESIDENT-ELECT

Jane Brautigam* City Manager, Boulder, Colorado PAST PRESIDENT

David Johnstone City Manager-Retired, Candiac, Quebec, Canada VICE PRESIDENTS

International Region

Frans Mencke City Manager, Hoorn, Netherlands Tim Anderson Chief Administrative Officer, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada Sue Bidrose Chief Executive Officer, Dunedin City Council, New Zealand

• Running for partisan elected office while serving as a county manager. The member mistakenly thought their ICMA membership had expired, which was a factor in the decision for private censure. Conduct that Violated Tenet 3, Integrity:

• Unprofessional comments in a media interview about the governing body. • Inappropriate comments on social media about the member’s former organization. • Seven cases where the member failed to meet their obligation to serve a minimum of 2 years including: ◦ 18 months into the role, the city manager accepted a position in another organization. The tenure ended up being 22 months. ◦ Applying for a better position after serving for only 15 months in the organization. Ultimately, the individual did not leave their position. ◦ Serving for 22 months and citing personal reasons for the early departure that did not meet the limited exceptions in the length of service guideline. ◦ Serving for six months before accepting a preferred position closer to home. ◦ Serving 10 months in the position before accepting the position as city manager for another community. ◦ Citing personal reasons to return to a position in their hometown after serving only three months. ◦ While selecting two challenging organizations to manage, the member left each before serving two years and without valid reasons. • Verbally accepted an offer, but withdrew to remain in their current position. As we balance these values in enforcing the values of the profession, please take time to read the ICMA Code of Ethics, seek confidential advice from ICMA when needed, and hold your peers accountable for their conduct.

Midwest Region

Southeast Region

Patrick Klein Director of Aviation, Kansas City, Missouri

Edward Driggers* City Administrator, Greer, South Carolina

Wally Bobkiewicz* City Manager, Evanston, Illinois Clint Gridley* City Administrator, Woodbury, Minnesota Mountain Plains Region

James Jayne County Manager, Coconino County, Arizona Heather Geyer City Manager, Northglenn, Colorado Michael Land* City Manager, Coppell, Texas Northeast Region

Stephanie Mason* Township Manager, Doylestown, Pennsylvania Matthew Hart* Town Manager, West Hartford, Connecticut Christopher Coleman Assistant Town Manager, Needham, Massachusetts

W. Lane Bailey* City Manager, Salisbury, North Carolina

ICMA Executive Director Marc Ott

Laura Fitzpatrick* Deputy City Manager, Chesapeake, Virginia West Coast Region

Martha Bennett* Chief Operating Officer, Metro Council, Portland, Oregon Maria Hurtado Assistant City Manager, Hayward, California

Director, Member Publications

Lynne Scott lscott@icma.org

Managing Editor

Kerry Hansen khansen@icma.org

Newsletter Editor

Kathleen Karas kkaras@icma.org

Art Director

Erika White ewhite@icma.org

Design & Production

picantecreative.com

Edward Shikada* City Manager/General Manager of Utilities, Palo Alto, California *ICMA Credentialed Manager (ICMA-CM)

SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 3


PM

1919 – 2019 PM in February 1971 It’s always exciting to have a look at PM’s previously printed pages to have a peek into the past of local government news. In the February 1971 issue, a feature titled, “Technology SOS: What Cities Need,” lists a page full of samples of city problem statements prepared for the ICMA/NASA program. The feature lays out over 30 sample technology requests that would have improved cities at the time: “A vehicle with equipment to remove dirt and small debris from street surfaces. A soil stabilizer to use on unpaved roads and alleys. A device to measure the strength of concrete, which is in place and hardened, without destroying the concrete. A simple metering device that could be attached to a firefighter’s helmet or lapel, able to measure and sound an alarm when certain conditions exist.”

In another feature, “Ending Technology Use Problems,” urban scientist and PM author Dean Vanderbilt describes his work with the City of Dallas, Texas, and shares his thoughts on ways a city could organize to utilize scientific knowledge. He also predicts the future of scientists on city staffs and how their roles could evolve. Vanderbilt writes, “The range of municipal services has never been greater than today, and expansion takes place each year. Resources are limited and personnel costs, a large part of any municipal budget, are increasing rapidly.” He lists various issues that he believes can be solved with technological advances, as well as ways local governments can move these initiatives forward. Vanderbilt concludes with the idea that technology can be effectively utilized in solving community problems with the determined efforts of local governments. Many of the statements made in both features are problems that have been fixed with the evolution of technology. It’s fascinating to see that even in the ‘70s, PM Magazine was looking toward innovation and technological advancement for cities.

100 years

Celebrating 4 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019

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Understanding GENDER DIFFERENCES

BY ROBERT ESKRIDGE, KATHRYN WEBB FARLEY, AND BETH RAUHAUS

A Close Look at Local Government Managers 6 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019


R

esearch has found that women manage differently from men in a number of ways.1 For example, women tend to encourage citizen engagement and input into decision making, and they lead in a less hierarchical and more participative manner than their male counterparts.2 According to ICMA member data, only a small percentage (18.4 percent) of female ICMA members report their title as “chief administrative officer (CAO).” A much higher percentage of women in ICMA (41.1 percent) claim titles of assistant or deputy CAO. Women constitute a little over half (50.6 percent) of ICMA members employed in all other local government positions.3 With the silver tsunami of coming retirements, these women are poised to be the community leaders of tomorrow. We recently conducted a survey of women in the top management position in cities to gain a better understanding of the gender differences among these managers and how their professional and work experiences have helped to socialize them and influence their performance and their own perceptions of their role. Socialization helps individuals develop their beliefs about their role and appropriate actions.4 Specifically, we examine ways female and male managers differ, and whether, over time, differences in motivations, attitudes, and identities of women in city management disappear as they are socialized into the profession. We conducted a survey of 353 female city managers/CAOs identified in a web search of 2,499 cities with a population of at least 5,000. We also surveyed 353 males in comparable positions. We then followed up with phone interviews with 23 male and female managers. Survey Goals

The survey was designed to capture information about each manager’s attitudes, perceptions of his or her experiences, motivations, fiscal and social ideology, and confidence levels. For example, respondents were asked how prepared they felt for their position when they began; we also asked them to rate their ability to fulfill the job responsibilities, their decision-making ability, and related indicators. We used this information to create an index measurement to capture their level of confidence in their abilities. We also captured personal demographic information in addition to gender: education, family status, age, race, and number of years they have served as a city manager/CAO. In addition, we asked respondents whether they felt adequately mentored before becoming a manager (see Table 1).

Table 1. Survey Respondents Variable

Factor

Male

Female

Race

White

91%

89%

Age

Under 40 40 to 49 50 to 59 60 and over

9% 24% 39% 28%

8% 31% 46% 16%

Education level

Less than 4-year degree 4-year degree Master’s or higher

3% 21% 76%

8% 23% 69%

Children at home*

Yes

57%

41%

Adequately monitored

Yes

80%

72%

First city manager job

Yes

46%

65%

Years as a city manager

5 or fewer 6 to 20 More than 20

25% 49% 26%

37% 50% 12%

Jurisdiction population

5K to 10K More than 10K

27% 73%

41% 59%

* Statistically significant difference SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 7


MORE WOMEN THAN MEN FELT THAT THEY HAD NOT BEEN ADEQUATELY MENTORED BEFORE BECOMING A MANAGER.

To determine whether managers had ever experienced bias or discriminatory behavior in their work or professional organizations, we asked about each respondent’s personal experiences with genderrelated issues, such as sexual harassment or professional bias such as exclusion from professional activities or failure to acquire a position. From the responses, we identified differences and similarities between males and females in our survey. Key Gender Differences

Women tended to be younger, and slightly fewer women had a master’s level education. More women than men felt that they had not been adequately mentored before becoming a manager. Women had also served in the chief appointed management position for a significantly shorter time period than men (almost 37 percent of women had served for five years or less compared to only 25 percent of men). This is not unexpected when we observe that women are significantly more likely to be serving in their first city manager position (65 percent of women versus 46 percent of men). This may also help to explain why we find that 41 percent of women serve in communities of 5,000 to 10,000, while only 27 percent of men serve in these smaller communities. Interestingly, only 41 percent of women reported having children living at home compared to 57 percent of men. This could indicate that women in this career choose not to have children or that they delay having a family until they are established in a career. Table 2. Discrimination Experience Factor Have you ever experienced sexual harassment by a council member?*

% Yes Female

Male

30%

7%

Have you experienced questioning of your ability to balance work and personal commitments?*

58%

46%

Have you ever been excluded from a professional group, organization, or activity because of your gender?*

27%

4%

Have you experienced a failure in achieving a job or promotion because of your gender?*

27%

6%

Have you ever observed gender bias in formal roles/activities in professional organizations?

34%

11%

Have you ever observed gender bias in informal roles/activities in professional organizations?

41%

14%

* Statistically significant difference

8 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019

We did find a number of significant gender differences when we examined respondents’ experience of discrimination in the workplace and in professional organizations (see Table 2). Women are much more likely than men to have experienced sexual harassment by a councilmember (30 percent of females); had their ability to balance their personal and work life questioned (58 percent of females); and to have experienced gender bias in formal (34 percent) and informal (41 percent) roles/activities in professional organizations. Females also significantly differed from males in failing to be offered a job or achieving a promotion because of their gender (27 percent versus six percent) and being excluded from professional groups or activities (27 percent versus four percent). These different professional experiences may have lasting effects on women’s approach to and understanding of their working environment. Confidence Issues

We found women managers to be less conservative than their male counterparts, significantly so for social issues (see Table 3). Interestingly, years of experience in the job has a liberalizing effect


Table 3. Individual Factors by Gender for women but not for men (not shown in table). Overall, female managers scored significantly lower than male managers in confidence levels. Perceiving that one was adequately mentored had a positive effect on confidence, but having experienced bias in formal roles of professional organizations had a negative effect. Again, we discovered that when we look at the combined effects of gender and years of experience, a highly significant relationship exists. Women with less than one year of experience had less confidence than men. Women with more than 20 years of experience had higher levels of confidence than men. Years of experience appears to have a positive effect on the confidence level of women but not of men. Interviews suggest this may start in the hiring process. Several women with fewer than 10 years of service indicated that they felt they were perceived as less fit for the job than a man or that they were questioned about work/life balance during interviews. Others recalled a council or citizens questioning how they would balance a family and work.

Mean (scale of 1 to 5)

Factor

Male

Female

What is your personal ideology concerning social issues? (higher = more conservative)*

2.91

2.67

What is your personal ideology concerning fiscal issues? (higher = more conservative)

3.75

3.6

Confidence index (higher = more confident)*

4.64

4.49

Public service motivation (higher = greater motivation)

4.59

4.62

* Statistically significant difference SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 9


YEARS OF EXPERIENCE APPEARS TO HAVE A POSITIVE EFFECT ON THE CONFIDENCE LEVEL OF WOMEN, BUT NOT OF MEN.

This trend may continue early in a woman’s career and then change. For example, one woman with fewer than 10 years’ experience recounted how she had reached out to ask her peers a question and that “it was interesting how quickly the women city managers reached back to me; a lot of times the male city managers delegated correspondence to [another] office instead of answering me directly from one city manager to another.” Another indicated that although she had been city manager throughout most of the duration of a major building project, the city council recognized previous managers during the grand opening but failed to publicly acknowledge her leadership during the event. A woman with more than 10 years’ experience said, “I 10 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019

recognized early on that I couldn’t be the same type of city manager as a strong male person. I did not have the overbearing presence. I needed to figure out what my own strengths were and play to those.” There are two possible explanations for women’s increase in confidence with years of experience in comparison with men. One explanation is that although males’ confidence levels do not change with experience, females do gain confidence with experience. Alternatively, it may suggest that newer female city managers are entering their positions with less confidence than women who entered the workforce in past years. A future detailed study will be necessary to draw further conclusions; however, either explanation suggests that some type of socialization is at work.


These findings can offer valuable lessons for today’s managers. Ensuring that young women in the profession receive adequate mentoring is extremely important, but it appears to be only part of the solution. Developing the appropriate norms, behaviors, and skills that are associated with confidence in one’s ability to do a job also appears linked to associating with other managers. Most men indicated that professional associations had been helpful. In our survey, very few men indicated they had ever felt excluded from these groups, and no men in our follow-up interviews indicated this. In contrast, more than half of the female interviewees indicated they had felt excluded or treated differently. Part of the solution may be helping women form relationships across the state or region and making sure someone reaches out to new managers, either at the time of appointment or during conferences, and welcomes them as colleagues. It could be that as confidence increases, so does the feeling of belonging to the profession. The Massachusetts Municipal Management Association (MMMA) is in the process of developing a mentorship program that may start to address this gap in the socialization of women. MMMA has created a women’s mentoring group and asked all members to invite women who may be future city managers or department directors to attend the meetings. This could help individuals learn the norms, behaviors, and skills they need and also build networks that will help them feel adequately mentored and included. Our study’s findings offer important insights given the importance of attracting women to the local government management profession and supporting them in their careers. ENDNOTES AND RESOURCES

Fox, R. L., & Schuhmann, R. A. (1999). Gender and local government: A comparison of women and men city managers. Public Administration Review, 59(3), 231- 242. 2 Meier, K.J., O’Toole, L., and Goerdel, H. (2006). Management activity and program performance: Gender as management capital. Public Administration Review 66: 24-36 3 International City/County Management Association. Membership data. August 20, 2019. 4 Berger, P. L. & Luckmann, T. (1966). The social construction of reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books. 1

Valuable Lessons

Overall, our study highlighted gender differences that exist today in local government management, which may be helpful in further understanding gender disparity at all levels of government, the distinct impact of women in government, and the barriers they face. By examining gender differences among city managers, we can also further understand how women affect governance at the local level and perhaps at the state and federal levels as well. Survey and interview data both indicate that the effect of adequate mentoring may be one of the most significant ways men and women differ. Moreover, inclusion in professional associations and networks may also have gender-related effects.

ROBERT ESKRIDGE, PHD, associate professor, is student chapter advisor, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina (eskridgerd@appstate.edu). KATHRYN WEBB FARLEY, PHD, is an assistant professor and MPA program coordinator, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina (webbfarleyke@appstate.edu). BETH RAUHAUS, PHD, is an assistant professor of public administration and MPA program coordinator at Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, Texas (beth.rauhaus@tamucc.edu). SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 11


MANAGING DIVERSITY AND

INCLUSION

Insights and Resources

12 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019


BY JONATHAN M. FISK, GEOFFREY A. SILVERA, COURTNEY N. HAUN, JEFFREY DOWNES, NATHAN EBERLINE, AND PHILLIP SMITH-HANES

P

ublic administrators need to not only assess their organization’s level of diversity and inclusion, but also be equipped to align such efforts with their strategic goals. A recent article by a group of academic scholars (Fisk, Silvera, and Haun) has provided a framework to map and understand organizational efforts aimed at diversity and inclusion. In addition to a brief description of this framework, local government administrators (Downes and Smith-Hanes) have provided commentary on the usefulness of this framework in practice and their own strategies for improving diversity and inclusion. Defining Diversity and Inclusion

For current purposes, diversity management can be considered a set of surface-level and deeper-level tools, rules, and policies that encourage diversity based on the presumed performance benefits associated with an inclusive workforce.1 In short, diversity management includes a range of voluntary actions that address diversity both in long-term strategic planning and in the more short-term activities of managers and employees.2 Organizations opt to pursue diversity and inclusion for a number of reasons3: 1. To deepen employees’ and other stakeholders’ knowledge of the backgrounds, beliefs, and values of their employees and stakeholders. Equipped with this knowledge, they can then modify their policies, practices, and programs to improve how they deliver goods and services. To satisfy goals and priorities outlined in their mission statements or strategic plans.4 2. To satisfy applicable employment laws. 3. To increase employee engagement within the organization.5 4. To respond to a diversifying population of customers/residents and other stakeholders. 5. To create organizations that capitalize on the diverse collection of employees’ backgrounds, knowledge, and experiences to develop greater problem-solving capacity.6 Thinking About Diversity in Organizations

In an article in Public Integrity, we described a typology of diversity and inclusion efforts in organizations.7 The typology SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 13


is intentionally nonprescriptive and does not suggest that all organizations should seek to be inclusive of all groups at all times, as organizations have various needs and goals with regard to diversity management. Instead, the typology offers administrators a tool by which to evaluate their current practices and assess whether they are appropriate to achieve their desired organizational outcomes. The typology uses the management theory of institutionalization8 to assess the degree to which the diversity management practices become incorporated within the organization. Figure 1 illustrates the typology of diversity and inclusion efforts by placing them in four quadrants, based on the degree of institutionalization and the degree of diversity management. · Compliance-based efforts are characterized by low commitment or ability to support and/or engage with the voluntary programs associated with diversity and a low degree of institutionalization. The reason may be limited financial or human capital that impedes efforts to diversify the workforce. In short, organizational efforts target legal compliance rather than efforts that go beyond compliance.9 · Ad-hoc efforts depend on a particular employee, group of employees, or organizational unit that demonstrates a significant commitment to supporting diversity. However, because these actions are not enshrined in official organizational policy or practice, they are likely to possess a low degree of institutionalization or utilization across the organization. In other words, efforts in this quadrant are likely to be voluntary, siloed,

short term, and/or temporary rather than long term, sustainable, and permanent. · Disengaged efforts are characterized by low commitment to diversity in organizations that do have well-established programs. These programs, however, are few in number and are likely operating as silos, meaning that they have very little integration across the organization despite having access to resources. For example, an organization may have an employee recruitment program for one stakeholder group, but fail to engage with other groups that it is likely to serve, or is otherwise neglected by organizational leadership. · Inclusive efforts define an organization that dedicates resources so that its efforts to improve diversity are widespread, sustainable, and designed to empower employees.10 Developing Diversity and Inclusion: So What?

As a first step in looking at the diversity and inclusion practices in your own organization, you can use Figure 1 to place your organization in the quadrant you feel best describes the organization as a whole. You might also use the tool to “map” administrative subunits or organizational functions as recruitment, development, performance management, and service delivery. It may also be helpful to ask these important questions: 1. Where is my organization in Figure 1? Do all members of my team feel this way? 2. Is this where we want our organization to be? 3. If not, how can we get to where we want to be?

Figure 1. Mapping Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

Diversity Management

DEGREE OF INSTITUTIONALIZATION

LOW

HIGH

LOW

Compliance-based (e.g. efforts aimed at legal compliance)

Disengaged (e.g. full integration across organization but do not address all groups or stakeholders)

HIGH

Ad Hoc (e.g. lack of permanent changes; efforts are episodic but pro-active)

Inclusive (e.g. long-standing pro-active efforts internally and externally)

Acknowledgment: This figure is derived in part from an article published in Public Integrity 21:3, 286-300, June 27, 2018, by Taylor and Francis, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10999922.2018.1471324. 14 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019


Table 1. Self-Assessment and Goals: Add Your Answers from Your Own Organization

Status quo: Where are we now?

Goal: Where do we want to be?

Action plan: How do we get there?

Employee Recruitment Employee Retention and Development Employee Performance Appraisal Service Delivery

Table 1 provides a way of organizing answers to these questions to begin the conversation and organizational self-reflection. Goal Identified: Now What?

A variety of mechanisms are available to organizations that seek to implement diversity programs or to move their efforts into a different quadrant in Figure 1. These mechanisms can be high-cost or low-cost, strategic or tactical, preventive or reactive. Moving from “so what” to “now what” offers organizations the opportunity to examine and consider tools that reflect their specific needs, strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. Table 2 shows some options.

Perspectives from the Field

It’s important to note that many of the programs described in Table 2 have significant associated costs in terms of staff time and money. While there‘s a business case for diversity, it may be that some organizations do not have the time or resources to support an internship program, conduct a barrier analysis, or build relationships with specific groups in the community (outside of what they already do). Recognizing that many local governments have limited resources, we are sharing two suggestions of low- or no-cost options that are already being utilized in public sector organizations.

SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 15


Table 2. Diversity Options

Employee Performance Appraisal

Employee Recruitment

Employee Development

Strategic partnership building, especially with groups that would not normally be part of your applicant pool (the partnership can be highlighted in announcing positions and recruiting applicants)

Employee mentorship programs targeting minority, female, or employees from other historically underrepresented groups

Data collection and analysis on: · Hours spent in trainings · Increases in knowledge, skills, abilities (as established in pre- and post-tests) · Overall number of trainings

Internships, job shadowing, and other partnerships, especially with groups that would not normally be part of your applicant pool

Trainings and other educational opportunities aimed at improving listening skills, identifying bias, or knowledge of specific stakeholder groups

Specific items/evaluative criteria in performance appraisals about intercultural knowledge, skills, and abilities

Incorporating intercultural knowledge, skills, and abilities as part of the job description

Specific cultural knowledge, skills, and abilities identified in a job analysis

Specific intercultural knowledge, skills, and abilities included in employee goal setting

Barrier analysis: why applicants from specific groups may not be applying to your organization

Barrier analysis: why employees from specific groups may not be advancing or participating in development programs in your organization

Barrier analysis: why employees from specific groups may not be scoring as high during promotional exams or performance appraisal

The Platinum Rule (by City Manager Jeffrey Downes, Vestavia Hills, Alabama). I face daily interactions with internal

staff, elected officials, and external stakeholders that all have different points of view. To be a successful public servant, I have to treat every situation as unique and understand the history being brought to me on the particular interaction. Reaching into my toolkit, one of my very favorite and most productive tools is something I call the Platinum Rule. The Platinum Rule was introduced to me very early in my career and in essence is a variation of the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated. The Platinum Rule emphasizes that you should treat others the way they want to be treated.11 Everyone is different. Everyone has different motivators. If you understand your audience and react based upon their innate needs, you can be successful building a team or working together to accomplish many tasks. I can think of many ways exercising this rule has produced results for my team and me. I remember hiring a very talented economic development professional who made a move from academia. He was not used to working in a bureaucratic environment where hierarchy and reporting relationships were an important context to success. His theoretical basis for actions was accurate, but his ability 16 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019

to navigate the bureaucracy made for implementation issues. Understanding his mindset was important to keeping his energy and enthusiasm intact. I could not treat him as I do a 20-year government veteran; I had to understand how to create an environment unique to his needs for him to be successful. My evaluation of the outcome of this effort was that many successful projects reached fulfillment due to adjusting my standard management based upon the unique needs of my employee. The Platinum Rule helped guide that particular challenge. Whether the situation involves a citizen complainant who is especially sensitive to noise or an elected official wanting only a concise summary of a project opportunity, I have seen success in altering my style to accommodate their needs. How can one become proficient in using this tool? There are several ways. Simple listening without knee-jerk reactions is one way. Probing different means of motivation is another. However, when dealing with your staff or teammates, the use of training environments is most helpful. Myers-Briggs or DISC assessments completed in a nonthreatening training environment can really help in formally learning your audience. If that information is then actually used to inform your actions, a powerful formula can be unleashed. I do not treat introverts the same way that I treat extroverts. Don’t spring an


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ENDNOTES AND RESOURCES

Klingner, D., Nalbandian, J., & Llorens, J. J. (2018). Public personnel management : Context and Strategies (Seventh). Routledge. 155-178. 2 Thomas, R. (1990). From affirmative action to affirming diversity. Harvard Business Review, 107–117. March-April 1990. 3 Rice, M. (2007). Promoting Cultural Competency in Public Administration and Public Service Delivery: Utilizing Self-Assessment Tools and Performance Measures on JSTOR. Journal of Public Affairs Education, 13(1), 41–57. 4 Norman-Major, K. A., & Gooden, S. T. (2014). Cultural competency for public administrators. Routledge. 5 Fisk, J. M., Silvera, G. A., & Haun, C. N. (2018). Developing and Defining Diversity. Public Integrity. https://doi.org/10.1080/10999922.2018.1471324 6 U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Governmentwide Inclusive Diversity Strategic Plan 2016. Retrieved from https://www.opm.gov/policy-dataoversight/diversity-and-inclusion/reports/governmentwide-inclusive-diversitystrategic-plan-2016.pdf 7 Fisk, J. M., Silvera, G. A., & Haun, C. N. (2018). Developing and Defining Diversity. Public Integrity. https://doi.org/10.1080/10999922.2018.1471324. 8 DiMaggio, P. J., & Powell, W. W. (1983). The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields. American sociological review, 147-160. 9 Koys, D. J. (1991). Fairness, Legal Compliance, and Organizational Commitment. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 4(4), 283–291. 10 Sabharwal, M. (2014). Is diversity management sufficient? Organizational inclusion to further performance. Public Personnel Management, 43(2), 197–217. 11 Winston, B. E. (2002). Be a leader for God’s sake: From values to behaviors. Virginia Beach, VA. 1

idea on an introvert and expect an immediate solution. Engage a team of extroverts on brainstorming exercises in a fun environment and awesome ideas will be generated. The key here, again, is that success demands that you understand the individuals with whom you are working. Self-Reflection and Listening (by County Administrator Phillip Smith-Hanes, Ellis County, Kansas). One route to becoming more

aware, sensitive, and knowledgeable is through self-reflection and listening. One low-cost and easy way to accomplish this is to ask others about their experience and “then shut up.” This requirement means shutting up not only outwardly, but silencing internal reactions as well. Listening to others to understand their point of view can break down barriers with regard to generational differences, as well as race or gender. In fact, I had a personal experience with this earlier this year when a millennial broke down in tears in a class I was in because she felt others in the class were making (unfair and incorrect) assumptions about her based on her age. She was genuinely hurt by the “funny” comments about millennials that those of us from older generations sometimes let fly. The second useful tool is to do some self-work and be aware of when your own personal values are transgressed by the actions of others. For example, I was raised to believe that with hard work I can achieve anything, and excuses are not acceptable. It tends to drive me crazy when people start expressing their own victimization by an organizational environment. I have to acknowledge that my value system is shaped by an uppermiddle-class, white, Protestant, English-speaking upbringing by parents who were born into one of the most upwardly mobile generations the planet has ever seen. Not everyone has had even a fraction of the advantages I have had within the economic and political system, and I have to listen to others’ stories from their perspective rather than my own. Key Takeaways

The goal of this article is to provide insights into diversity and resources for the intentional diversification of public service organizations. We have provided an assessment tool germane to the improvement of diversity and inclusion, as well as some low- to no-cost interventions. These are designed to precipitate difficult and honest conversations, to promote organizational growth and development, and to reinforce the core values of public service. 18 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019

JONATHAN (JON) M. FISK is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Auburn University (jmf0055@auburn.edu). GEOFFREY A. SILVERA is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Auburn University (gsilvera@auburn.edu). COURTNEY N. HAUN is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at Auburn University (cnh0028@tigermail.auburn.edu). JEFFREY (JEFF) DOWNES is city manager, Vestavia Hills, Alabama (jdownes@vhal.org). NATHAN EBERLINE is vice president of operations for the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and formerly served as associate legislative director and legal counsel for the Kansas Association of Counties. PHILLIP (PHIL) SMITH-HANES, ICMA-CM, is county administrator, Ellis County, Kansas (psh@ellisco.net).


SOMEWHERE OVER THE

RAINBO Inclusiveness in Local Government


OW: BY PAM DAVIS

The best time for local governments to be explicitly inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community was decades ago. The secondbest time is right now. The fundamental job of local government is to provide equitable services and opportunities to all who cross paths with our communities. Just as there is a spectrum of identities and beliefs within the LGBTQIA+ population, there is a spectrum of behaviors, policies, and practices local governments should consider implementing to create meaningful strides toward more inclusive organizations and communities. Spoiler alert: it requires more than flying a rainbow flag over city hall during pride month in June—but that’s a good start! This spectrum ranges from individual to organizational to community-wide efforts in our jurisdictions. Within those categories, efforts can range from symbolic and passive support to creating tangible and lasting systems change.

SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 21


While this article offers one perspective on advancing LGBTQIA+ progress in our profession, the recommendations can be adapted and applied to other issues and identities. All of us weave in and out of nearly infinite combinations of identities when we consider our race, gender, age, sexual orientation, physical and mental ability, religion, veteran status, and other salient characteristics. The different histories and perspectives brought by all of us can help to inform and strengthen the community-building work that we do. When addressing any one angle of inclusiveness we must not lose sight of the others. The journey toward equity is a systemic one. The following suggestions are based on my experience and information gathered from leaders of CivicPRIDE (the first nationally recognized

The different histories and perspectives brought by all of us can help to inform and strengthen the community-building work that we do.

professional association for LGBTQIA+ professionals in local government), and are not intended to cover every possibility. If you or your jurisdiction have other ideas or examples, please help keep this conversation going by reaching out or sharing your own story. Individual Behavior

I offer these general guidelines to ensure your personal actions demonstrate an individual commitment to supporting LGBTQIA+ colleagues: • Take Responsibility to Educate Yourself. If you are not currently familiar with the definitions of terms, history, and concerns of the LGBTQIA+

community, it’s time to learn. Please don’t ask your one gay or transgender coworker to teach you, unless you are very confident in your relationship and know that they are willing to put in that effort for you. There are now countless websites, books, articles, podcasts, and films that feature this information. • Don’t Make Assumptions. Relying on stereotypes to dictate how you interact with others is dangerous. Please don’t assume another’s preferred gender pronoun, sexual orientation, or general proclivities simply because of how they speak, dress, or act. Before stumbling into

your coworker’s personal life, I recommend simply being open and receptive to allow them to share themselves with you in their own time. If you have a business need to know something specific (e.g., knowing their preferred pronoun so that you can introduce them in a public setting), simply ask them directly and respectfully. • Become an Ally. Allyship is a lifelong process of learning and confronting biases within ourselves and others. Allies acknowledge their own privilege and leverage it to support and make space for the progress of historically marginalized groups.

CivicPRIDE Reception at the 2018 ICMA Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland 22 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019


LGBTQIA+ flags at the State College Municipal Building in Pennsylvania

Organizational Policies and Practices

Gender and sexuality are woven into our internal policies and practices in many ways. As CivicPRIDE has developed content for local government professionals, we have identified a wide range of organizational policies that may overtly or unintentionally alienate LGBTQIA+ professionals. These policies include family leave, sexual harassment, anti-discrimination, restroom signage, and dress codes. These policies have historically left LGBTQIA+ professionals invisible. Policies that either dictate different standards based on gender and sexuality, or fail to recognize gender and sexual differences, can serve to reinforce a hostile workplace or prevent your organization from recruiting and retaining talented LGBTQIA+ professionals. Taking the time to audit your current internal policies and practices and ensuring that they are inclusive

is a great first step toward improving your organizational culture. In many cases, your organization may have outdated policies that you aren’t even aware of. For example, during new employee orientation of a previous organization I served, I learned that I was technically violating the dress code on day one of my new job. As we were presented an overview of the employee handbook, I learned that women were expected to wear skirts or dresses and men were expected to wear ties. Meanwhile, I was sitting there as a female employee in my first-day-of-work tie and a new pair of slacks. Of course, that dress code was no longer enforced literally, but its existence on record sent an unwelcome message to employees whose clothing choices did not conform to their gender. A great resource to assess your organization’s level of inclusiveness is the Human Rights Campaign Municipal

Equality Index (MEI). This index examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies, and services are of LGBTQIA+ people who live and work there. Cities are rated based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement, and the city leadership’s public position on equality. The 2018 MEI is the seventh annual edition and rates a total of 506 cities on 49 different criteria from every state in the nation. While not every city is included, the index can serve as a guide for all communities. Learn more at www.hrc.org/mei. Community Outreach and Engagement

The number of cities and counties across the U.S. offering public support for their LGBTQIA+ community members continues to grow. This past June during pride month, I watched over social media as rainbow flags were

raised and declarations were read in jurisdictions large and small. Some cities and counties took an extra step to participate in their local pride parade or host an engagement event bringing together community partners and organizations working for the advancement of the LGBTQIA+ community. While largely symbolic, these images and events serve to send a clear message of inclusiveness. If your community does not currently participate, please consider opportunities to send that message. For cities and counties working to expand their efforts toward inclusiveness beyond the symbolic, your community partners and LGBTQIA+ residents should be invited to the table to generate ideas. For example, in Boulder, Colorado, our city is working to revise our code and charter to reflect gender-inclusive language and bring any policies related to gender and sexuality up to date. This effort grew from the

SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 23


LGBTQIA+ awareness ribbon pins, State College, Pennsylvania

encouragement of a community organization, Out Boulder County, and with support from our Human Relations Commission. To maximize success, the city is currently seeking public input on the recommendations made by Out Boulder County prior to bringing the revisions back to our City Council for approval. Inclusiveness Grounded in Ethics

As someone who is both gay and obsessed with local government management, I believe the strongest argument for inclusiveness is grounded in our professional ethics.

We serve a profession that was first created to ensure equitable service delivery that is protected from partisan politics. Tenet 4 of the ICMA Code of Ethics comes to mind: “Serve the best interests of the people.� Our guidelines tell us that this means we must understand and inform our governing body of the anticipated effects of a decision on people in their jurisdictions, especially if specific groups may be disproportionately harmed or helped. They also ask us to ensure that all people within our jurisdictions have the ability to actively engage with their local government and strive

24 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019

to eliminate barriers to public involvement in decisions, programs, and services. While I want to believe that all of us support the ideal of Tenet 4, I know that all of us have significant work to do to live up to that commitment on behalf of historically marginalized communities. My Own Journey

I began the journey to my local government career during my first semester of my Master of Public Administration program in the fall of 2011. The most common piece of advice I was given was to find a mentor, someone who could

help inform my professional development and lend an experienced perspective when I experienced challenges. At the time, I did not know of any LGBTQIA+-identified local government managers, and I did not have the confidence to ask to be mentored by one. That desire was not intended to disregard the value of the many mentors, professors, and supervisors who did support me through my formative years as a young professional. However, it would have made a huge difference in my own self-confidence to be able to confide in someone who understood my experience as


a gay woman and could help me wrestle with questions such as whether as a woman I could wear a suit and tie to an interview without fear, or if bringing a date to a networking event was out of the question. While I had always felt welcome in my new chosen profession, I didn’t know how I fit into it, and I set boundaries to protect myself. Everything changed when I received the ICMA 100th anniversary issue of PM Magazine in September 2014, in which Phil Smith-Hanes wrote an article titled, “A New Frontier in Diversity.” I had never felt more welcome in the profession than when I read that article. Finally, someone was telling me that I belonged and there were others like me out there who were serving authentically and

As someone who is both gay and obsessed with local government management, I believe the strongest argument for inclusiveness is grounded in our professional ethics.

openly in their communities. Connecting with Phil and other LGBTQIA+ professionals at that year’s annual conference is what set the stage for the CivicPRIDE we have today. Keeping the Momentum Going

On September 23, 2018, the first night of the annual ICMA conference in Baltimore, I was staffing the CivicPRIDE table at a reception bringing

together a variety of local government affinity and resource groups. One attendee stood out. As she entered the space, she scanned the room and locked her eyes on our bright rainbow CivicPRIDE poster. Her face brightened as she jogged the entire 30 yards across the room and right up to our table, exclaiming, “At last! I have found my people!” I wish that this young professional felt this immediate sense of belonging walking into any room hosted by local government leaders. Her amazing reaction to the growth of CivicPRIDE took me through many different emotions: • Joy, that the space we have created brings happiness and a sense of belonging to many of our colleagues; • Sadness, that it has taken

so many in our profession far too long to “find their people”; • Relief, that the effort we are expending is having a direct impact; and • Determination, that now that we have begun our work, we cannot let this momentum fade. Maintaining that momentum is going to require all of us to continue to push for greater inclusiveness. PAM DAVIS is senior management analyst in Boulder, Colorado, and chair of CivicPRIDE, the first nationally recognized professional association for LGBTQIA+ professionals in local government (davisp@bouldercolorado.gov; @heypamdavis).

SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 25


2019 ICMA Coaching Program Thrive in local government!

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ICMA’s FREE 2019 Coaching Webinars

UPCOMING FREE WEBINARS September 11

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Plus…. • Digital archives

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BUILDING A

DIVERSE

PROFESSION AND ORGANIZATION A Special Supplement to PM


Introduction BY KAREN PINKOS, ICMA-CM, ICMA PRESIDENT

s the ICMA Executive Board continues to be engaged in implementing our strategic plan, “Envision ICMA,” one of the strategic initiatives that has been a key issue over this past year is expanding and diversifying the membership. We’ve been looking at how to give a stronger representative voice to the diversity in our membership while remaining a world-class organization of local government leaders. Just as our world is evolving, so is our profession and the ICMA organization, which amplifies our desire to include new and different voices. To that end, the Executive Board continues to focus on improving diversity, equity, and inclusion of membership across the association, particularly in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and age.

2


The Executive Board has initiated a conversation about more effectively engaging our members across the career spectrum in the work and benefits of the association. To help make this happen, we launched an engagement process at the beginning of this year to hear from members and explore options for bringing more inclusion to the ICMA Executive Board and our membership. The Board has proposed several ideas with respect to membership and voting privileges in ICMA that would require member approval to amend the ICMA Constitution. In addition, our members have suggested many other ideas for improving diversity, equity, and inclusion, while maintaining the organizational focus to support leaders in local government. Many of you have participated in this process and I’ve heard a lot of candid feedback, and I’m grateful for that. Sometimes we must have these difficult, uncomfortable conversations to move forward. We need to be fair, we need to be true to our Code of Ethics, and we need to ensure that our organizations and our communities

allow everyone to feel valued, heard, and a part of the team. I also acknowledge, along with the Board, that much progress has been made in recent years. The work ICMA is doing in promoting women, people of color, and underrepresented groups began well before I became ICMA president. But we still have further to go. We are certainly not alone as

an industry when it comes to the need to improve our gender balance and minority representation, yet I see it as a huge opportunity. Our local government profession can be a leader across all sectors in raising the ranks of women, people of color, and underrepresented groups in executive management. We know local government is the best place to work, and

we can show the world that it’s because we welcome anyone and everyone to be successful. If you can see it, you can be it. And we are beginning to see it. I’m excited to keep the momentum going. Thank you to everyone who has participated in this conversation so far, and I look forward to seeing you in Nashville.

»

Karen Pinkos highlighted Equity and Inclusion in her speech at the 2018 ICMA Annual Conference.

3


ICMA’S

MEMBER

ENGAGEMENT PROCESS

T

o meet the Board’s goal of broadly engaging members in exploring options for bringing more inclusion to the ICMA Executive Board and our membership, ICMA worked with a firm that specializes in qualitative and quantitative research. More than 2,000 comments have been gathered, including ideas for better communication and beefing up “pipeline” and educational programs. In addition, ideas for expanding member voting privileges and service on the ICMA Executive Board were tested.

The questions posed to members were developed and refined through an iterative process which began in February using an online platform. The national focus group allowed over 300 participants to rapidly and continuously vote on options and provide comments which informed successive questions in the process. From the results of the initial focus group, a discussion guide with workbooks and supporting resources were developed for board members to present at the ICMA regional conferences and the state association meetings that have taken place throughout the spring and summer. These focus groups were aimed at gathering feedback on member perceptions, priorities, and areas of consensus, which would pave the way for change and provide clear direction to the Board as it develops ballot measures to change the ICMA constitution for consideration by the membership. 4

PARTICIPATION The participation of ICMA membership has been impressive. To date we have gathered feedback from 224 participants online (National Online Focus Group, March 4, 2019) and 766 participants in person at regional conferences and state association meetings (67 alone from the ICMA Southeast Regional Conference, February 28, 2019). • 990 survey respondents total* • 64% Voting Members • 18% Non-Voting Members • 15% Not a member • 3% Don’t Know * Additional data from August meetings will be included in final report.


WHAT WE LEARNED There is consistent support to change voting and nominating rights in service of diversity, which is generally defined as diversity of career experience and professional points of view from diverse colleagues.

Q2. How important is it to you to change voting, nominating rights, and Board service eligibility to create more diverse participation and governance at ICMA?

Q10. Use the Career Experience below to mark what you think is necessary to serve on the ICMA Regional Nominating Committee (mark the minimum qualification). Career Experience: 100% 80% 60%

100%

40%

42%

80%

0% CAO/Deputy/ Assistant

36%

40% 20%

22%

18%

20%

60%

41%

25%

18%

Department Director

5+ Years of 1–5 Years of Local Government Local Government Experience Experience

21%

What members are saying…. 0% Extremely Important

Very Important

Moderately Important

Not That Important

To be a voting member of ICMA, ICMA involvement is important, but secondary to career experience.

What members are saying…. “I think allowing affiliate members who have at least 3 years of experience to vote allows a broader perspective. Though they may not be CM’s or ACM’s they can provide valuable insight.” “The ICMA Board serves as the visible leadership of our organization. This Board has to be more diverse. The best way to accomplish this goal is to open the voting opportunities to more members.” “ICMA is the City/County Management Association, not department head association.” “Provide transparency to the process, lessens ‘insider’ status.”

Qualifications Matter Participants are open to a range of qualifications, but more prefer more experience than less. Participants expected voters and individuals serving on regional nominating committees, as well as the Board, to have 5 years of experience in service to local government and membership in ICMA.

Voting Rights Alternatives Of the four options tested, extending voting eligibility to affiliate members with requisite local government service and ICMA membership received the most support. Options for making no change and extending voting eligibility to any member in service to local government received the least support.

Representatives to the Regional Nominating Committee Most participants felt that any ICMA member serving in a local government and in good standing with 5 years of local government experience could serve as the appointed representative to the Regional Nominating Committee.

“Sometimes it seems or appears there is an ‘insider’ bias to the selection of regional nomination committees.” “We need more opinions and voices other than full members. Grooming ICMA members for greater responsibility means involving them in the process and opportunities sooner. Exposure can spark a desire to do more!” “More people available to serve brings more voices. More inclusive, more participation.” “This allows for leadership development and to give opportunities to other members.” “This is the City/County Management Association—you truly do not understand the accountability of this position until you sit in that chair.”

Executive Board Diversity Most participants believe that affiliate members should have representation on the ICMA Executive Board, which would bring more diversity to the Board. So the two options discussed that expanded eligibility to serve on the Board to affiliate members were preferred by participants.

Q11. Use the ICMA Experience below to mark what you think is necessary to serve on the ICMA Regional Nominating Committee (mark the minimum qualification). ICMA Experience: 100% 80%

65%

60%

34%

40% 20%

9%

0% Committee/Task Force Chair or Co-Chair

Committee/Task Force Participation

1–3 years of ICMA Membership as Entry to Mid-Management

5


ICMA President Karen Pinkos leads the Executive Board in a discussion of Board diversity, February 8, 2019, in Long Beach, California

An option that allowed the incoming president to make board appointments based on diversity was least favored, along with making no change to board eligibility.

What members are saying… “Include members at all levels to get different perspectives. Change is necessary or ICMA would not be looking at the issue.”

“I like the idea of building in and dedicating diversity over time. It is time for a change and to make progress in this area. It is long overdue.” “Diversity selection by a president is transparent to the membership & can be dealt with if anything inappropriate occurs. I believe CAOs and deputies should be primarily responsible for growing the organization.” “I do not think the president should have authority to appoint board members—Board members should be elected.”

WHAT’S NEXT? Given the comprehensive input gathered, the Executive Board will use the information to propose changes to the ICMA constitution that will increase diversity of the membership and the board and maintain the central role in the association of the CAO and the leadership pipeline positions. In looking at the membership demographics, these changes will make a difference. But there is so much more. For more than 40 years, ICMA’s leadership has brought attention to the issue of diversity and inclusion. Our members have shared best practices at work in their communities and ICMA affiliates have been strong partners in this journey. And based on the feedback from the discussions over the past few months, the desire to focus on being a more welcoming profession and organization has never been stronger. Look for additional opportunities to engage at the 2019 ICMA Annual Conference in Nashville. Share your comments within the ICMAConnect Group: Building a Diverse Profession and Association. ICMAConnect is an online community just for ICMA members where you can connect, network, and discuss issues via a safe, closed platform. Meet us there at icmaconnect.org.

6


THE PATH TO

Building a Diverse & Inclusive Profession 1974

First Task Force on Women in the Profession created.

1989

The Strategic Plan stated in our core beliefs that we had a responsibility in “ensuring that local governments and the association reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.”

Task Force on Workplace Diversity created.

1991

2003

2008

2014

Task Force on Women in the Profession was reestablished and charged with examining the status of women in local government management.

2018

February–August: Board diversity member engagement, including 224+ online focus group participants and 700+ at regional conferences and state association meetings. June: Preliminary results to the Executive Board. October: Executive Board to consider ballot initiative at the 2019 Annual Conference in Nashville.

November: ICMA action plan on diversity.

ICMA’s Next Generation Initiatives began.

2012

September: ICMA membership approved a resolution on diversity.

Task Force on Strengthening Inclusiveness in the Profession created.

The Strategic Plan, Envision ICMA, codified our commitment to equity and inclusion into ICMA’s current and future operations.

2017

February: Subcommittee on diversity created.

2019

June Meeting: Board approved the recommendations of the diversity subcommittee to consider expanding eligibility for voting and for service on the ICMA Executive Board. November: The board directed staff to develop an implementation plan with the goal of engaging the membership in a discussion prior to placing a constitutional amendment before the membership.

2020

ICMA member vote will take place.

7


ICMA EQUITY & INCLUSION AT A GLANCE Working with LGHN, NFBPA, and the League of Women in Government to recruit coaches and increase engagement with women and underrepresented groups

Celebrating stories of women who have made a difference in local government

At the 2019 Annual Conference: •

ICMA University + The League of Women in Government symposium

Luncheon for women in the local government profession

Equity mixer

Equity & Inclusion theme track

6 Episode Podcast series on women in local government

Students

Student chapter members receive complimentary memberships with LGHN and NFBPA 8

48%

Coaching

#sheleadsgov

of coaches on CoachConnect are women

Resources LEADING EDGE RESEARCH

Beyond Compliance:

ICMA Equity & Inclusion Toolkit

Recruitment and Retention of Underrepresented Populations to Achieve Higher Positions in Local Government

JANUARY 2019 KENDRA L. SMITH, PH.D.

Director, Community Engagement University of Houston – College of Medicine

Board diversity •

5 Regional and 1 national interactive discussions

Driven by the strategic plan initiative to expand and diversify the ICMA membership

1,600+

students in 98 Chapters, including 3 International

Code of Ethics Tenet 4 Revised to include Equity & Inclusion

Partnerships & Agreements


PUBLIC SECTOR

WORKFORCE 2030 SUMMIT: Planning for the Next Generation of State and Local Government Employees The Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE), the National League of Cities (NLC) and ICMA Retirement Corporation (ICMA-RC) will be hosting a reception on September 26, and a full day summit on September 27, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida that will center around the theme of planning for the public sector workforce of the future.

September 27, 2019 Broward Center for the Performing Arts Fort Lauderdale, Florida

SUMMIT CONTENT • Keynote presentations, expert

Rethinking Retirement

panels, and small group

• Restructuring retirement plans to prepare for the “workforce of the future”

discussions

• Applying models from other settings—private/nonprofit sectors, international or other levels of government • Using behavioral economics to encourage better saving habits among workers, especially those that may undersave

• Issues explored from a wide range of perspectives: – Government agency managers – Retirement/benefits adminstrators

Workforce Trends

– Human resource professionals

• Shaping the future workforce through recruitment and development

– Union representatives

• Responding to generational differences and demographic shifts

– Members of the academic and

• Identifying public sector positions showing the greatest growth, position types being reduced or eliminated, positions most difficult to fill • Examining the role of technological advancements on the changing workforce • Adapting education systems and technical training to meet anticipated needs

research communities • Summit Welcoming Reception, September 26, 2019, 5:00pm An opportunity to chat with Summit speakers and attendees

• Prioritizing equity and inclusion

Health and Wellness Benefits • Addressing the issue of work-life balance (e.g., family leave, elder care and other needs through different life stages) • Innovating around schedule flexibility, succession planning and advancement opportunities • Fostering a healthier workforce in a cost-effective manner

THE SUMMIT IS COMPLIMENTARY, BUT SEATING IS LIMITED, SO REGISTER TODAY TO GUARANTEE YOUR SPOT. VISIT:

SLGE.ORG/EVENT/WORKFORCE2030


COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY with Elected Officials KEY STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS In 2015, Cal-ICMA undertook a Survival Skills study to determine the issues most challenging to city and county managers in California. Through an online survey (with a response rate of more than 50 percent) and a series of focus groups, Cal-ICMA identified those key issues and prepared a report.1 BY KEVIN DUGGAN, ICMA-CM

36 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019


Since then, Cal-ICMA has undertaken a variety of efforts to create additional resources to help managers deal with the identified issues. These include conference sessions and articles dealing with “outlier” council members and how department head relations affect council-manager relations. Additionally, in conjunction with the City Managers’ Department of the League of California Cities, tools were developed regarding how local manager groups can support new managers and managers in distress. One key topic identified through the survey and focus groups was the challenge of establishing and maintaining an effective working relationship between managers and their governing boards. While this challenge has multiple components, effective communication with elected officials was a primary theme. It will come as no surprise that city councils and other elected bodies often cite inadequate communication as a primary reason to part ways with their city manager/chief executive. In response to the Survival Skills report, Cal-ICMA has collaborated with the League of California Cities since 2015 to conduct conference panel discussions on topics intended to help chief administrators and elected officials develop and maintain mutually supportive working relationships.

Cal-ICMA wishes to thank the California-based panelists who participated in the “Survival Skills” sessions:

Valerie Barone, City Manager, Concord Larry Carr, Council Member, Morgan Hill Nelson Fialho, City Manager, Pleasanton Steve Hansen, Council Member, Sacramento Mona Miyasato, County Executive Officer, Santa Barbara County Ed Shikada, City Manager, Palo Alto Christina Turner, City Manager, Morgan Hill Kurt Wilson, City Manager, Stockton

During 2019, the project sponsored two panels. One was directed toward city and county managers at the League’s annual City Managers Conference. The second, directed toward elected officials, was conducted at the League’s Mayors and Council Members Executive Forum. The panels addressed how to develop and maintain effective communication between the chief executive and the governing board. While it’s a given that effective communication is fundamental to any successful relationship, people have varying expectations in regard to what effective communication “looks like.” If the parties in a relationship do not fully appreciate each other’s expectations for “effective communication,” it’s easy for them to feel that communication has fallen short. In addition, when things appear to be going well, one or both parties can become complacent and less sensitive to the priority of effective communication. Trust, of course, is the most critical characteristic in a successful relationship, and effective communication is essential for trust. The panels generated the following list of strategies for building effective communication.

SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 37


Recommended Strategies

1|

Always make time for your elected officials. Spending time

with your elected officials may not always be the most fulfilling part of your job or seem to be the best use of your time, but nothing is more important. You are the critical link between the governing board and the organization, and this role cannot be ignored or shortchanged. The time you spend allows you to gain important information and insights regarding the thinking of your elected officials. It also demonstrates that you recognize the important role they play as policymakers and that you want to understand their perspective on issues. No one ever ran for public office to feel ignored or unimportant!

CONSISTENCY IN MESSAGING WITH INDIVIDUAL ELECTED OFFICIALS IS CRITICAL.

2|

Develop a clear understanding of your elected officials’ expectations regarding communication. While it’s certainly your

intent to be an effective communicator with your elected officials, it’s unlikely you’ll meet that goal if you don’t fully understand their expectations. In addition, what one elected official expects can differ dramatically from what others may expect. Without developing a clear understanding of what’s expected (and consensus among the elected officials to the greatest extent possible), you’ll be shooting in the dark. Sometimes the best approach is simply to ask, either individually or as a group, what effective communication looks like to them.

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3|

Adjust communication techniques to the needs of individual councilmembers.

It’s likely you’ll find a variety of preferences among your elected officials for how much information they wish to receive and methods of communication. Some will want detail, while others will want the CliffsNotes version. Some will want information verbally, others in writing. Some prefer communication in person, others not so much. While these different preferences offer challenges, it’s much easier to deal with this complexity if you at least understand it.


4|

Establish a “floor” of information that you make available to all. While it’s

5|

Be particularly sensitive to how/when to communicate “bad news.” There are few things

important to tailor communications to individual preferences, it’s also important to establish a minimum amount of information (the “floor”) that needs to be provided to the entire council or board even when you provide more detail to those who want it. All elected officials need to be confident that they had access to the same information you provided to others, even if they did not choose to get into the same degree of detail.

managers dislike more than having to communicate bad news to their elected officials. This is particularly the case when the bad news involves some form of organizational failure. However, these are the most critical times to communicate clearly, accurately, and quickly. Don’t let the natural anxiety of having to report unwelcome information lead to an undue delay in communicating the information or in “spinning” it in a way that could be perceived as being less than forthright. Most people, including elected officials, are much more likely to forgive an honest mistake than to forgive what appears to them to be a less than open and clear communication of what happened.

6|

Develop clear guidelines regarding communication between elected officials and staff. Unless you’ve established clear

guidelines governing appropriate protocols for communication between elected officials and staff members, you are certain to have challenges. While clear guidelines are not guaranteed to prevent either elected officials or staff members from communicating inappropriately, having no guidelines will almost assure it.

7|

Communicate consistently with all governing board members. Consistency in

messaging with individual elected officials is critical. While it may be tempting to agree with whichever elected official you’re

speaking with at the moment, varying your message or appearing to take different positions with different members will create inconsistent messaging and will harm your credibility.

8|

Reestablish communication expectations whenever the council changes. Changes in the

council composition, even if only one or two members, can dramatically affect the council dynamic, including expectations about communication. Never take for granted that what was acceptable to one council will be acceptable to another. Even if your council doesn’t change, members’ expectations can shift over time, so it’s important to reengage your elected officials on the topic periodically.

9|

Encourage/promote effective communication among elected officials. No matter

how effectively you communicate with your governing board members, your professional life will be a lot easier if they also communicate effectively among themselves. While you don’t have complete control over their interactions, encouraging good communication among elected officials, and being clear about why such communication results in a better working environment for everyone, can help make for a more effective council/staff team.

Don’t forget the basics: • Exercise patience: Be willing to take

the time to carefully listen to what your councilmembers have to say. • Practice emotional maturity: Keep your cool and don’t overreact to what is said or how it is said—never allow a policy disagreement to appear to become a personal disagreement. • Listen more than you talk: While this is a cliché, it’s often very difficult to do and requires thoughtful deliberation. Effective communication is fundamental to an effective manager/elected official relationship. It requires a clear strategy and effective implementation. Remember: Effective Communication = Trust Trust = A Successful Relationship. ENDNOTES AND RESOURCES

Download the report, “Challenges and Strategies: Maximizing Success for City and County Managers in California,” at https://www.icma.org/cal-icma-survivalskills-report. 1

KEVIN DUGGAN, ICMA-CM, is a senior advisor for ICMA; former director, ICMA West Coast Region; and former manager of Mountain View, California (kcduggan@katesbridge.com).

SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 39


Advancing

SOCIAL EQUITY BY BENOY JACOB

LESSONS FROM (AND FOR) PUBLIC MANAGERS 40 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019


and counties and some of the challenges they face. Thus, while the findings are still preliminary, I put forward the following four lessons that represent some insights from my work to date: 1. Recognize that “we” were/are part of the problem. 2. Grasstops and grassroots are important. 3. Data is many things and serves many functions. 4. We have lots of tools; we need better skills. “We” Were/Are Part of the Problem

T

he United States has a long history of public efforts aimed at ameliorating social and economic inequality. Many of these programs—and the agencies associated with them—have been developed and implemented at the national level. It has become evident, however, that inequality and the related lack of opportunities for advancement manifest themselves most clearly at the local level.1 As a result, many cities and counties have made the advancement of equity a central objective in their policies and programs. That said, given the idiosyncratic nature of local jurisdictions, and the nascent nature of these efforts, lessons about challenges and opportunities are still emerging. About five years ago, I took notice of the growing movement among local governments to address inequity. With support from the American Society for Public Administration’s Center for Accountability and Performance, I (along with a doctoral student of mine) sought to document and understand this emerging field of practice, paying particular attention to the role of performance measures.2 More recently, I have continued my work as one of the inaugural members of the ICMA Local Government Research Fellowship program. In this capacity, I have been examining a series of local jurisdictions and related professional organizations. In particular, I am conducting interviews and focus group meetings with key stakeholders in several cities to develop in-depth case-study evidence to help synthesize issues, challenges, and best practices associated with the local pursuit of social equity. While the “final” results of my work will be presented at the 2019 ICMA Annual Conference in October, I am starting to gain some clarity on how the issue of equity is being addressed by cities

The U.S. government, like others, has unfortunately played a key role in creating and maintaining social inequities. While all levels of government are culpable in having shaped the distribution of (dis)advantage across the country, this is particularly true of local governments. One need only look to the history of American land use regulations to understand how regulatory tools have been used to segregate communities in ways that limit opportunities for employment, education, and access to public amenities.3 Recognizing that the public sector has played a role in creating an uneven playing field, however, is not a judgment on those who work in local government. Rather, it is often the first critical challenge facing those who wish to advance social equity from within public sector organizations. The leaders and staff of a jurisdiction need to understand their institutional history with respect to social inequity. To this end, stakeholders need to develop a shared language with which they can have a meaningful conversation that facilitates the implementation of actionable programs. This important first step is what the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) refers to as “normalizing.”4 Normalizing means employing “a racial equity framework that clearly articulates our vision for racial equity and the differences between individual, institutional, and structural racism as well as implicit and explicit bias. It is important that staff—across the breadth and depth of a jurisdiction—develop a shared understanding of these concepts.”5 Further, GARE suggests that an important part of normalizing the issue of racial equity is to recognize its urgency. “The most effective path to accountability comes from creating clear action plans with built-in institutional accountability mechanisms. Collectively, we must create greater urgency and public will in order to achieve racial equity.”6 The interviews I have conducted make clear that normalizing was one of the most “eye-opening experiences” for those involved. It was vital to moving the organization forward from broad conversations about equity to actionable programs and plans. In addition, it helped overcome key “sticking points” for many individuals— notably, the recognition that structural change within the institution is not a “judgment” on the individual. Recognizing institutional racism and/or implicit bias does not make you a bad person, but rather points to areas where change can and must be made. Grasstops and Grassroots Are Important

The second insight from my case studies is the importance of developing social equity initiatives through both the organization’s grasstops (leadership) and its grassroots (staff). First, while many SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 41


social equity programs are formalized through some level of jurisdictional leadership—mayor, council, and/or manager—it appears that these efforts often took shape first, at the staff level. Indeed, in some instances, the insights developed through “initial” data analyses were considered simply “validating” what staff already knew. Thus, it is important that leadership—perhaps through the normalizing process—engage with the grassroots of the organization to better appreciate how staff see and understand community inequities in the implementation of their day-to-day work. In practical terms, given the complexity of city and county governments, this often means supporting organizational and operational changes. Like any comprehensive effort that addresses a complex issue, social equity initiatives require the development of new organizational infrastructure. In many communities, this means the development and empowerment of departmentlevel “equity teams.” In the most “advanced” jurisdictions, these equity teams can be found in every departmental unit. They help develop departmental equity plans, programs, and measures; communicate these to leadership; and provide insights back to department staff on how and where further action might be taken. Despite the importance of empowering and tapping into the organization’s grassroots efforts and expertise, it is worth noting that the goal need not be 100 percent buy-in. This is especially true for jurisdictions that are starting new equity initiatives. In many instances, equity efforts begin in a “single corner” of an organization (often public health departments). As the program grows and matures in that corner, it begins to expand to other departments. Dwayne S. Marsh, co-director of Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), leads a seminar on equity and inclusion.

42 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019

Finally, it is important to recognize that the grasstops and the grassroots need to be tightly connected (hence the importance of the equity teams). Even though there are clear benefits to decentralizing programmatic efforts, organizational leadership still matters. Staff need to see that their efforts are part of a broader organizational approach and culture. Data is Many Things and Serves Many Functions

The third insight is about the role of data. Not surprisingly, public managers, staff, and other stakeholders are very clear that data—in a variety of forms—is critical for the advancement of social equity initiatives. Yet data is an area where interviewees were the most ambiguous in their comments. While stakeholders had very precise measures for their own jurisdiction, it was much harder for them to generalize their measurement efforts to lessons for others. Measurement, it appears, is such a granular issue that it reflects the idiosyncrasies of each jurisdiction. That said, making sense of these measures—in a generalizable way—is one of the key objectives of my work (past and present), and it seems the best way to gain insight into the measurement issue is to draw upon the academic literature. Members of the Standing Panel on Social Equity in Governance of the National Academy of Public Administration developed a framework that defines the operational measures of equity. This framework is useful in identifying how equity can be defined in one’s organization and which types of measures are most appropriate for assessing equity in different programs and activities. The framework is divided into four overarching types of measures: access, quality, procedural fairness, and outcomes.


• Access measures evaluate the extent to which public services and benefits are available to all. • Quality measures assess the level of consistency in public service delivery to different groups and individuals. • Procedural fairness measures examine problems in due process, equal protection, and eligibility criteria for public policies and programs. • Outcomes measures assess the degree to which policies and programs have the same impact on various groups and individuals.

A related issue that emerged in many of my interviews is that speaking of an equity initiative or program, as I often do, is unduly (and perhaps inappropriately) narrow. A comprehensive equity effort, of course, includes these things, but ultimately, equity is best understood as a lens through which programs, policies, and initiatives are ultimately assessed. This idea is tied to some of Frederickson’s early work on equity in which he described social equity as a pillar of the field of public administration alongside effectiveness and efficiency. In practice, my interviewees have pointed to the increased use of equity

THE LEADERS AND STAFF OF A JURISDICTION NEED TO UNDERSTAND THEIR INSTITUTIONAL HISTORY WITH RESPECT TO SOCIAL INEQUITY. This framework describes equity as multidimensional, and “outcomes” is just one dimension. This is important because outcome measures at the community level are unlikely to change in the short term, which may make programs seem less effective than they are. To the degree that staff can gather data and analyze the different dimensions of equity, they are more likely to appreciate where and how they are making systemwide structural changes. Interestingly, while public managers speak clearly about the importance of data when telling the story of (in)equity in the community, they are equally clear that data has its limits. While data, measurement, and evidence should be at the heart of any equity initiative, my case studies provide evidence that a mixedmethods approach to equity can provide a more holistic view of program impacts. In a 2005 article for the National Civic Review, H. George Frederickson noted, “I respect those who are working on social equity indicators, social equity benchmarks, and other forms of statistics, but … statistics and data lack passion and smother indignation … stories, films, videos, essays and personal descriptions … have the power to move people, and also move policymakers.”7 In short, data and measurement are important, but they should be supplemented with descriptive anecdotal evidence. We Have Lots of Tools; We Need Better Skills

This fourth lesson is one that resonates with me. As my family and friends will attest, I am not a handy person. I have plenty of tools in my garage, but the tools themselves don’t fix things. Rather, knowing when and how to use them is the key. Similarly, managers and administrators can find plenty of “equity” tools. For example, GARE and other organizations offer an increasing number of tools that jurisdictions can employ to generate insights on equity. However, jurisdictions need to recognize that the tools themselves are meaningless if not used properly. As Donald Moynihan explains, performance measures cannot provide the knowledge needed to make decisions to improve performance. They do not indicate why performance occurred, the context, how implementation took place, outside influences, or how to prioritize measures.8

measures in the development of their jurisdiction’s budget as an example of how equity is being employed as a lens to consider the various activities of the organization. Beyond Racial Inequity

As noted earlier, the four insights I put forward here are still preliminary. That said, I think they are fairly noncontroversial. To some degree, they are lessons that can be applied to substantive areas outside of social equity. In conclusion, I want to highlight a perhaps more difficult issue that I am still trying to understand. In most of my cases studies, social equity has been operationalized as racial equity. This has been somewhat surprising to me, because the focus on racial equity, while obviously very important, omits other important areas of inequity, such as inequity related to gender and sexual orientation. Clearly, as the field of social equity practice matures, the focus on racial inequity will need to expand to include and advance opportunities for other disenfranchised groups. ENDNOTES AND RESOURCES

See https://www.brookings.edu/research/all-cities-are-not-created-unequal/. See also, https://opportunityinsights.org/paper/the-opportunity-atlas/ 2 Larson, S.J, Jacob, B, & Butz, E. (2017). Linking social equity and performance measurement: A practitioner’s roadmap. Report prepared for the ASPA Center for Accountability and Performance (CAP) Social Equity Performance Measurement Fellowship. 3 Segregation by Design: Local Politics and Inequality in American Cities, Cambridge University Press, 2018 4 Bernabei, Erika. (2017) Racial Equity: Getting to Results. https://www. racialequityalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/GARE_GettingtoEquity_ July2017_PUBLISH.pdf 5 Ibid. 6 Ibid. 7 Fredrickson, G. (2005). The State of Social Equity in American Public Administration. National Civic Review, Winter 2005, 31-38. 8 Moynihan, D. P. (2008). The Dynamics of Performance Management: Constructing Information and Reform. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. 1

BENOY JACOB, PHD is an associate professor, School of Public Policy and Leadership, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (benoy.jacob@unlv.edu). SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 43


BY DWAYNE MARSH AND DANIEL GARCIA

PERSPECTIVES

IN EQUITY I N H I R I N G P R AC T I C E S

The Approach to Catalyzing Organizational Change


What are the obstacles to addressing workforce inequities through hiring? In this interview, we speak with Daniel Garcia, senior equity and inclusion policy advisor for Multnomah County, Oregon, to discuss how the county’s Workforce Equity and Strategic Plan is functioning to catalyze organizational change.

Tell us about the Workforce Equity and Strategic Plan, and how it functions to address equity issues that your organization is facing right now?

We have a huge gap in diversity and equity in the Multnomah County workforce. When you put the data together with a lot of the qualitative experiences that were expressed, you can’t paint any other picture than “this is something we have to deal with” or it’s going to become a crisis. When I first came to the county in 2013, 30 percent of our workforce was 10 years or fewer within retirement age. We don’t have the workforce in our area to fill all those positions. That’s a huge issue. The biggest challenge has been taking what we know and taking what we’ve learned—or what we think we know—and turning that over into actual organizational sea change, and that comes in the form of the Workforce Equity and Strategic Plan. It evolved from our employer resource groups who have been able to communicate things that have been going on—what everyone knows, but is afraid to talk about. Our employee workforce groups were essential in creating this plan. SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 45


The challenge right now is turning this plan into tangible results that people can feel. The rubber is hitting the road. Now we need to figure out how this is going to be embedded into our culture. Our values explicitly call out social justice as a value. What does this actually look and feel like? In terms of achieving an equitable organization— making that a reality across all the departments—that’s where the challenge is. We have a lot of different departments with a lot of different cultures, each unto themselves. Traditionally, all of our departments have been pretty siloed. One of the larger struggles that jurisdictions will face is trying to create that common language, common history, and common equity framework with

“Only when you begin to understand how race affects your work will you be able to take on the challenge of attaining racial equity.” measurable expectations when organizations are siloed. We need to make that consistent across the organization and still relevant and specific to the needs of each department. Each department has its own culture. How do you get each department culture lined up to have the continuity in equity work? We’re getting there, but it’s a struggle. The larger the organization, the deeper the work is to get there. It’s not just a singular group, team, or unit—it’s that the philosophy of any leadership team might be completely different from middle management. I think through this journey, many of our leaders are realizing, “Oh,

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what I experience at this upper level and what I assume gets transferred into other layers of the organization…isn’t necessarily what’s happening.” Through this process there’s a gap that’s closing between leadership, direct service staff, and management. Now that we’re trying to figure out how to operationalize the work, you uncover more problems. My father-in-law always tells me, “When you fix something in a car, you end up finding more problems. One noise covers up another noise.” We also know that at times when someone moves up in an organization—the more positional authority someone has—their levels of empathy

start decreasing. When that happens, and people get more power, suddenly there’s a false sense of need to separate from the rest. The empathy gap needs to be closed. It’s an essential skill for leadership. How do you build empathy and understanding into governmental structure?

It’s a reshaping of what it means to be a manager of people. At the top of that pyramid is not necessarily outcomes, or results, but empathy. For me, a good manager is someone who gets their team what they need to be successful. “How can I bring the best out of people around me?” rather than “how do I get the best out of people for me?”


Also, everything rolls down home. If there’s leadership that doesn’t show empathy or isn’t engaging the workforce, that sends an implicit message to the community. Before I came to Multnomah County, I would hear stories from other persons of color (POCs). They would say, “Ohhh, you better be careful if you start working in the government.” But those stories come from employees that enter into public service, hit walls, and don’t feel like there are people empathizing with them, and that unspoken culture takes over. Can you give an example of running into one of these particular roadblocks?

In supporting teams, oftentimes we’ll use alternative dispute resolution, specifically mediation, as a tool. At the same time, if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And me being a professional mediator, it was easy for me to treat conversations like a mediation. But I also recognize that using this particular process may not be the best in certain instances, such as highly racialized situations. Since mediation is confidential, when other issues come up during these conversations, they get cordoned off and they become untouchable and I’m bound to confidentiality. It can be hard to make systematic change when situations get shifted over to mediation because of an interpersonal dynamic, but the larger issues were institutional workflow and management dynamics—dynamics that affect everyone! When I come out of a mediation and talk to people, I can point out the high-

level dynamic that we’re not addressing. When I bring these issues to managers, there is strong pushback at times. That was the scope of what I could do about it. The more I pressed on it, the more it got minimized. The issue is framed as though, “Those people have a problem,” not that there are policy and practice issues that caused the problem. Our Theory of Change

The Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a joint project of Race Forward and the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, is a national network of local governments working to achieve racial equity in order to advance opportunities for everyone. GARE’s theory of change centers on three components: normalize, organize, and operationalize. Normalize: The first step toward addressing the problem of racial inequity is acknowledging government’s

role in perpetuating it. This can be easier said than done, especially when taking political implications and electoral repercussions into account. GARE offers its members a series of exercises they can utilize to normalize conversations about race and racism and their respective effects on the role of government and delivery of services. Only when you begin to understand how race affects your work will you be able to take on the challenge of attaining racial equity. Organize: You should not and cannot do this work on your own. In order to adequately address a systemic problem, you need a cadre of committed government staff working together to change the structures and institutions that perpetuate racial inequities every day. GARE encourages city and county governments to build action teams aimed at merging subject matter expertise and

institutional knowledge to prioritize attaining racial equity. By coming together around a common purpose, government workers can find ways to infuse racially equitable principles into their day-to-day work and outputs. Operationalize: Once you have the subject-matter experts focused on the common goal of attaining racial equity, you can begin to develop and implement programming and execute interventions to interrupt disparities within a given system. By putting racially equitable policy changes into action, you can begin to positively affect conditions for communities of color. GARE emphasizes that it’s not a linear theory of practice and it’s likely that while you may be organizing with regard to one issue—say your hiring practices for public sector employment—you may be in the normalizing stage when discussing transportation access. You

SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 47


may be simultaneously operationalizing changes to your county’s community engagement strategy. This is to say that efforts focused on racial equity can and do take many forms, depending on who is at the helm of a particular governmental body and the political context in which they function. New Affiliation

ICMA signed an affiliate agreement with GARE earlier this year to help advance equity programs both for ICMA and to assist GARE in the work they are doing with local governments. It’s our joint aspiration that this agreement will contribute to greater success for both GARE and ICMA in the areas of membership, equity, and inclusion awareness

and strategies; community engagement; and promoting local government careers and the management profession for people of color and women. Be a Racial Equity Champion

With more than 150 jurisdictional members nationwide, GARE is leading the effort to attain racial equity in government. But this work requires champions within jurisdictions to prioritize racial equity and the role of government in achieving it. With strong leadership, cities and counties are far more able to make the necessary changes to policies, practices, and procedures that can make a real difference in the lives of communities of color throughout the nation. This is why GARE is so grateful for the work of ICMA

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for raising the issue of racial equity with their members. GARE is thrilled that ICMA has offered the opportunity to present a workshop at the upcoming national conference in Nashville, Tennessee. We look forward to continuing to find ways that city and county managers—many of whom lead participating GARE jurisdictions—can further the racial equity efforts of local governments across the country. In recent months, ICMA and GARE have worked to strengthen their association, recognizing the critical role that ICMA’s membership plays in improving outcomes for communities of color through improved governance. For more information about the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, visit www. racialequityalliance.org.

This is the first in a series of perspectives from leaders across the country who have committed to attaining racial equity in their local governments. Look out for upcoming articles featuring colleagues who undertaking this important work with GARE and ICMA.

DWAYNE MARSH is co-director of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) and Race Forward’s vice president for institutional & sectoral change, (dmarsh@raceforward.org). DANIEL GARCIA is the senior equity and inclusion policy advisor, Multnomah County, Oregon.


Meeting People

Where They Are How Lowering Barriers to Participation Helps Reach Beyond the Loudest Voices in the Community and Build Trust

Today, more organizations are prioritizing community engagement as a pathway for building public trust and improving the quality of life for all residents. Yet most organizations we speak with share a common sentiment: we’re spending more time than ever communicating, yet somehow we’re still only hearing from the same handful of residents. BY JAY DAW K I N S

SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 49


This problem is approaching crisis levels in some communities: Only hearing from a handful of loud and/or organized voices puts critical projects at risk, while hamstringing our ability to make decisions that reflect the needs of the broader community. So how are organizations leveling the playing field to more easily engage the broader community, and doing so in a way that doesn’t require giant marketing budgets or overworked staff? The key is shifting the way we think about engagement from one-off efforts to a cohesive, consistent process. You are probably familiar with these one-off efforts: posting a link on social media, press releases, a newspaper ad about a public meeting, posting an announcement on the website. From there, we let the outcomes be what they may. Even if executed well, the current state of public engagement often leaves us without knowing important insights like who we are reaching and if we’re hearing from a representative set of voices. Meanwhile, feedback may not be useful or consists primarily of the “frequent flyers” at public hearings. The most successful organizations we’ve worked with approach community engagement less as a checklist, and more like an integrated process with steps that compound to build and sustain engagement. Figure 1 demonstrates a way of visualizing those steps. We often reference this pyramid as a framework for building public trust. It is important to note that while this process is broken down into steps, those steps are integrated: simply reaching residents isn’t sufficient if we don’t engage in a meaningful way.

Figure 1 Build trust

Build and measure public trust Public trust is the goal, and the foundation of democratic governance. It’s time to quantify it.

Close the loop

Re-engage to make residents feel heard Resident follow-up is critical to building trust, but this step is often overlooked. Let’s change that.

Capture and analyze

View the complete picture Whether it’s meetings, online, social media, email or paper – bring it all together.

Provide accessible online engagement

Use online to lower barriers to entry Meet people where they are using accessible, understandable formats.

Reach beyond the self-selectors

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Bring more voices to the table Understand who’s missing, and use targeted outreach to reach them.


BEING MOBILE-MINDED IS ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO INCREASE ENGAGEMENT FROM UNDERREPRESENTED GROUPS.

Furthermore, if input from all outreach methods can’t be captured in one place like a public participation database, it’s difficult to see the big picture and ultimately align decision-making with community needs and priorities. Ultimately, public engagement success hinges largely on the last, critical step—closing the feedback loop—to make a measurable impact on public trust. Research by the World Bank has pointed to this act of closing the loop as being a critical predictor of trust.1 But for the purposes of increasing equity from the onset of a project, let’s focus on the foundational step: reaching beyond a handful of self-selectors.

we can pair an online presence with in-person collection, text message surveys, and targeted social advertising, an organization has a much better chance at informing and engaging a broad, representative set of residents. What this amounts to is using all the outreach methods at our disposal, traditional and virtual, to provide more residents an opportunity to engage—no matter where they are. This increased access, when scaled through technology that lowers barriers to participation, sums up the new paradigm of engagement: Meet people where they are.

How do we reach underrepresented groups and actually get them to provide input?

Simply hosting meetings, creating a survey or website, and expecting residents to respond can be a non-starter. Instead of expecting residents to come to us, we need to meet them where they are. By building relationships with community centers, houses of worship, and nonprofits— while also attending public events like farmer’s markets or festivals—we can increase equity and start building public trust from the onset of any project. For example, Raleigh Parks received national media attention for hosting pop-up dog parks, where staff handed out business cards with a website address so participants could participate on their phones.2 Others opted to weigh in on a tablet, participating in real time. Staff would go on to conduct outreach at four other community events in areas that could be potentially impacted by the project, garnering feedback from over 1,500 residents.

1. Apply mixed-mode surveying

The widely publicized decline of telephone surveying has hinted at a much broader problem: conducting outreach and surveying using only one communications channel almost guarantees biased results. Researchers have long heralded “mixed-mode” surveying, the practice of using multiple methods to reach people and ask questions, as a best practice. Today, forward-thinking organizations are applying this strategy to get a more representative sample while avoiding built-in bias. For example, only collecting input via an online survey is likely to yield a high degree of selection bias—especially if it requires a resident to already be engaged with an organization. However, if

2. Create on-the-ground community relationships

SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 51


DID YOU KNOW? 3. Increase access by lowering the barriers to participation

Getting residents to engage means removing hurdles to participation and meeting them where they are in the virtual sense. Engagement increases when we use easy-to-understand formats, especially for someone on the go, and create two-way communication. Likewise, these formats should create equitable participation—meaning that someone who participates virtually should be able to have the same opportunity to provide dynamic feedback as someone who attends a public meeting. Key Tactics for Lowering the Barriers to Participation

Keeping the barrier to participation low means being able to instantly engage: no usernames or passwords, no creating an account. This also means asking ourselves questions like, “Are we requiring residents to have to learn a new or unfamiliar interface in order to engage?” Rather, participation should be easy and intuitive, folding into the everyday life of residents in formats they are already familiar with. With a little bit of strategy, we can use these formats to increase equity. 1. Provide a mobile-friendly experience. Being mobile-minded is

one of the best ways to increase engagement from underrepresented groups. According to Pew Research, reliance on smartphones for online access “is especially common among younger adults, nonwhites, and lower-income Americans.”3 Meanwhile, low-income Americans are actually more likely to own a smartphone compared to the national average. Why? Because while low-income Americans may not be able to afford a monthly Internet bill and a laptop, they can afford installments on a smartphone and a monthly data plan. 2. Segment participants based on the text keyword or URL by which they reach you. With mobility in mind, formats such as

text messaging and mobile-friendly websites can instantly put an engagement opportunity in the palm of someone’s hand. These text-in numbers and URLs can be disseminated in any number of traditional methods (physical signage, mailers, in-person meetings, fliers) or virtual methods (social media, e-newsletters, websites, online news articles about upcoming projects). Rather than asking more demographic questions, we can infer a great degree about a person automatically by creating unique text-in codes or URLs. For example, King County’s transit team creates short URLs and text message keywords specific to bus stops. When a participant texts in or arrives at the custom URL, they arrive at the same content, but are identified with this particular stop. This is stored in their public participation database, where they can later segment responses by route or stop. 3. Lead with relevant questions. When thinking in terms of survey design—especially the first touch point or initial message— residents are more likely to engage when prompted first with a relevant, simple question. Messaging is also best when it shows the value that public input will have on the decision-making process. For example: “Your input will help set priorities for our 2040 Transportation Plan.” 52 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019

95%

of Americans own a cell phone

85%

of low-income Americans own smartphones

77%

of Americans own a smartphone

31%

of Americans making <$30K depend entirely on smartphones for internet access

Thinking in terms of both online and offline reach efforts, such a question can be used as the headline for a targeted social media ad or postcard, both pointing to the same engagement opportunity. An example of a relevant question might be: “How can we improve bicycle and pedestrian safety downtown?” While it may not seem intuitive, this is actually a question that is relevant to any resident who traverses downtown, including those who don’t typically bike or walk. In a recent study we conducted with a transportation planning organization in North Florida, bike and pedestrian safety was a top priority—despite over 93 percent of participants indicating they commuted solely by car. 4. Leverage existing communities online. Building relationships with community groups on-the-ground is important and impactful, so we should also build similar digital relationships. By cross-referencing existing offline relationships with their Facebook presence (i.e., Facebook Group), you can have a group administrator post a link to your project page or you can post a link yourself. Not only can you scale up your efforts by reaching your existing community partner groups online, you can also find new ones that may only exist online. By creating partnerships with these groups, you are able to reach their audiences in a whole new way, meeting them where they are, build on the trust that they have in that organization or group, and parlay that into building trust with yours. 5. Become multilingual by default. All residents, especially those with Limited English Proficiency, should still be able to provide feedback in their native language to increase equity and inclusion. However, this is often prohibitively labor intensive when creating separate surveys and websites for each additional language. To avoid this, and the costs therein, combining a service like Google Translate with the review of a native-speaking contracted translator or bilingual volunteer creates a high-fidelity translation at a fraction of the cost.


Case Study: Targeted Social Media Advertising

While a “boots on the ground” approach does build relationships, it’s difficult to scale, especially given time and staff constraints. These in-person efforts can easily take on a life of their own without having a way to know if the time, budget, and effort is being spent wisely. For instance, are we spending too much time reaching out to one demographic or geography, and not enough somewhere else? The solution could be to start with social media, using strategic targeting. San Diego Parks, a client of AECOM, was able to target residents in southern San Diego, home to a typically underrepresented community of low-income, Spanish-speaking residents. After initial bilingual social targeting, AECOM identified gaps in participation and focused their efforts not just online through retargeting gap areas, but also offline with pop-up style events at specific community centers. At these informational sessions, the City of San Diego educated residents on the master plan and directed them to a website where they could provide feedback. Conclusion: Scaling Your Engagement Beyond the Loudest Voices—Without Breaking the Budget

While in-person efforts are valuable for creating relationships with residents, being able to allocate time and budget effectively is unrealistic without understanding where the gaps are and having a scalable way to reach people. Meanwhile, solely turning

to online engagement independent of a cohesive process can also leave a number of questions unanswered. The best way to optimize engagement and increase equity is to combine traditional and online outreach into a cohesive process and build a public participation database so you can analyze input, report findings, and make strategic decisions. Any well-designed tool will reduce the amount of effort you need to exert, but the right one will ensure that you are able to make the most of your efforts through integrating your process and public engagement methods. This means being able to house all your public input and communication in one place so you can quickly tell a clear story and close the feedback loop. Robust and meaningful community engagement efforts can be efficient and effective, but only if we think outside the box and selectively leverage technology as part of a cohesive process. ENDNOTES AND RESOURCES

“Closing the Feedback Loop: Can Technology Bridge the Accountability Gap?” The World Bank, http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/100021468147838655/pdf/ Closing-the-feedback-loop-can-technology-bridge-the-accountability-gap.pdf (accessed August 13, 2019). 2 “Raleigh, North Carolina’s Dog Park Study,” Parks & Recreation, https://www.nrpa.org/ parks-recreation-magazine/2018/november/raleigh-north-carolinas-dog-park-study (accessed August 13, 2019). 3 “Mobile Fact Sheet,” Pew Research Center, https://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/ mobile/ (accessed August 13, 2019). 1

JAY DAWKINS is CEO of PublicInput.com.

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MANAGEMENT

Empowering Needles in the Haystack

BY ASHLEY (TRIM) LABOSIER

How Hayward, California, Engaged a Diverse Community Hayward, California, doesn’t fit the

typical profile of a Bay Area city. Sometimes referred to as “Haystack,” it’s a community that has experienced its share of rising housing prices without its share of economic infusion from the tech industry. As is often the case, for the past decade or so the city focused limited available resources on revitalizing the downtown area. However, the Hayward City Council feared this focus was leaving some residents behind. In particular, council members worried about the neighborhoods along the Tennyson Corridor, among the lowest-income and most diverse in the city. Recognizing that the Corridor was both underserved and underrepresented, the council directed staff to conduct community outreach to draft a vision plan specific to the Corridor. The interdepartmental team charged with the project knew that an equitable, sustainable plan would require substantive, inclusive input from a broad cross section of traditionally marginalized residents. “Plug-and-play” community visioning strategies and public workshops were not going to work in a neighborhood that includes one of the most diverse census tracts in the country. Tennyson Corridor residents speak more than 50 languages. An Inspired Partnership

ASHLEY (TRIM) LABOSIER is executive director, Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership, Pepperdine School of Public Policy, Malibu, California (ashley.labosier@ pepperdine.edu).

As the team considered creative options, one strategy captured its imagination. What if the city partnered with Chabot Community College to engage with the community while building civic capacity in a new generation of leaders? Unlike an external consultant, Chabot is located in the target community. The majority of its 15,000 students live nearby, and the student body includes native speakers of every language represented in the Corridor. It is a key economic and activity hub for the surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, the college has a Student Initiative Center (SIC) focused on project-based learning that offered the city more hours of engagement

54 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019


work for the proposed budget than Sometimes the city would have received from a more traditional consultant. The inclusiveness SIC had experience developing has less to do innovative approaches for eliciting community insights and feedback with the policy a through engagement projects such as knowledge carnivals, which use local government games and creative activities to provide implements than information to participants and then solicit feedback; project prototyping, it does with the where participants create scenarios to quickly test suggestions and make conversation it changes as a group; video interviewing; convenes and the and identifying community experts. The proposed partnership would not people it invites be a one-off series of public meetings; it would be an all-out effort to build longto the table. term social capital in a community that desperately needed it. Not only would engagement help design the vision plan requested by the city council, it would also inform and direct the design of pilot projects aimed at revitalizing the corridor. This would help provide proofof-concept and community buy-in for any long-term policy solutions.

This culminated in an art show at City Hall in May 2018, “Needles in the Haystack.” For many residents of the Tennyson Corridor, this was their first trip to City Hall. For residents of other parts of the city, as well as for staff in City Hall, it provided a real opportunity to connect with the people and stories of the Tennyson Corridor community. By summer, the students were working with Tennyson residents to develop programs and solutions to neighborhood problems such as food access, water quality and conservation, neighborhood watch, emergency preparedness, and habitat. The idea was to fund a number of community pilot projects to see which had the

Building Social Capital

Starting in mid-2017, the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University provided a capacity-building grant and served as a technical advisor to the city and the college. College students are not typically experts in government operations, so training provided by the Institute was an important contributor to their civic education. The goal was to equip students to be advocates, while setting realistic expectations for what local government can do. Mary Thomas, a management analyst at the Hayward Fire Department, spearheaded the partnership with Chabot College and Pepperdine. Thomas noted, “The concept of ‘civic engagement’ is often mentioned in academic and political conversations, but not everyone understands what that actually looks like in practice. The Davenport Institute’s approach is unique because they actually show students what steps to take in order to become actively involved. The students brought tremendous energy and enthusiasm to the work from one semester to the next. The spring of 2018 saw the students fanning out to interview hundreds of residents of the Tennyson Corridor. From these interviews, students created more than 75 art pieces depicting some aspect of life or community in the Tennyson Corridor.

most promise. Later, at a community fair, over 300 community members voted on 30 to 40 of these projects to recommend for seed funding. By spring of 2019, the SIC had finalized and funded three pilot projects and identified dozens of resident partnerships to launch future projects. In addition, over 700 Chabot students, many from the neighborhood, had participated in the 18 months of community engagement. Inclusive, equitable resident engagement is never easy or quick. Often, however, local governments have resources at hand that they may have never considered. Thomas notes that it’s all about a fundamental human need—the need for community—that drives us to live in cities in the first place. “The desire is there for people to get to know each other,” she says, “but no one wants to take the initiative and be the first to knock on their neighbor’s door.” Sometimes inclusiveness has less to do with the policy a local government implements than it does with the conversation it convenes and the people it invites to the table. SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 55


COMMENTARY

Five Reasons Why You Need an Architect on Staff Special Attributes Will Benefit Every City

JANE LANAHAN DECKER, RA, NCARB, CBO, CFM, is assistant building department director, Doral, Florida (janedecker@ gmail.com).

I am the assistant director for a

local municipal building department, arriving in administration after working in the field as an inspector and plans examiner. I am also a licensed architect. Merging the two paradoxical worlds have helped me identify five reasons why every city should have an architect on staff.

56 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019

BY JANE LANAHAN DECKER

1 We are outside-the-box thinkers.

We are creative thinkers. We are thrown problems, issues, puzzles, and pickles and are expected to formulate practical, thoughtful, and complete solutions for those quandaries. We might consider redesigning the box. We might deconstruct the box down to its component parts. We might sit inside the box and just contemplate the space. We might


even build a model of the box to get past an impasse. The box is just a metaphor for any number of problems we need to tackle regularly in municipal government (or really, any organization). Local government managers and elected officials can be assured that if there’s a problem, we’ll solve it. 2 We are altruistic. (And we consistently aim higher.)

We know the story of Michelangelo negotiating with Pope Julius II for his monthly stipend—at least as portrayed by Charlton Heston in The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965). At one point “Mike” survives on very little just to maintain the integrity of the beautiful fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He would stop at nothing to get it absolutely perfect. Don’t confuse this with ego or megalomania, though. This is the architect’s genuine need for wholeness. As Michelangelo is quoted as saying, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.”1 As architects, just as we are motivated to solve problems, we do so with an undying perseverance. We also love to learn. We probably have more than one degree, and the second or third might not even be related to architecture. Our curiosity and thirst for knowledge is inexhaustible. We likely are incessantly trying new things, taking cooking classes, travelling to the distant corners of the world, or even going back to school. Just one more time. 3 We are natural-born project managers.

We understand the beginning and the end, and while beneficial, we don’t need the Project Management Professional designation to show competence. (Besides, our continuing education requirements are just as rigorous.) We have experienced risks and delighted in rewards. Remember, after finishing a five-year undergrad or 4+2 master’s program, plus a minimum three-year apprenticeship, and then taking a series of exams (currently seven) that test our abilities from pre-design through construction and post-occupancy, we know that every project requires a different set of processes and thinking. No two methods of execution for a project will ever be precisely the same. From early on in our architectural careers, we are taught how to carefully plan. We start with vague illustrations of relationships and sketches with lots of arrows or maybe a “needs and adjacencies” matrix. We refine these sketches into partis, which are careful diagrams that begin to outline flow or movement through a space. Later, the details emerge from the ether and we begin to see something Bauhaus or Postmodern or Neoclassical or… something else. Don’t pigeonhole us into just the capital improvement projects, though. That will come easy to us. We are challenged when management assigns us to software integrations and process improvement studies on customer service or permitting workflows. We will gaze in awe at a project, slowly dissecting the Rubik’s moves toward a solution.

4 We thrive on R&D.

We are driven to find the answers that no one else can. Research and development is our wheelhouse. Before we even begin to plan or sketch and visualize a project, we do the research. We interview our clients (e.g., stakeholders, building users); we find out their needs, wants, and desires. We find out what has worked or what has epically failed in prior spaces, buildings, structures, or sites. Then, we try to fix it. We are fixers, you know, the “good” kind. When a project calls for something truly unique, we might even invent something new to tackle the problem. Think of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose residential projects were often complemented with his self-designed furniture or flatware because anything off the shelf just wouldn’t do. His philosophies prevail today. “Above all, integrity,” he would say, “buildings like people must first be sincere, must be true.” In government, this type of integrity and inventiveness is not just a gift, but something that debunks the myth of bureaucracy that can pervade government today. 5 We embody engineering, mathematics, and pragmatic solutions.

We love numbers. We see patterns. We understand the importance of technology and are capable of figuring out how to design an entire procedural workflow around an end goal or objective. The key is for management to be able to communicate its needs or the residents’ needs to us unequivocally. We are broad thinkers, 40,000-foot hoverers, able to see the proverbial bigger picture. But we also enjoy the minutiae, the details, the nuances of why something is so. We remember our lessons from the Ten Books on Architecture, in which Vitruvius2 wrote that an architect should focus on three central themes when preparing a design for a building: firmitas (strength), utilitas (functionality), and venustas (beauty). All cities likely endeavor to create communities rich in all three attributes. We identify with workflow maps and the visualization of the plan. We will look for pleasing proportions and sensible scale, in any project, report, and yes, space. We will look for solutions that are beautiful and make sense, that will be functional and strong. The next time the administration is looking to fill an executive level spot, consider the applicant pool and look for someone who came through an accredited architecture program. You won’t be disappointed. Your citizens and colleagues might find it refreshing to have such an innovative thinker on staff, even if it’s a little weird if you ever see them sitting inside a box. ENDNOTES AND RESOURCES 1 2

https://www.michelangelo.org/ http://www.bl.uk/learning/cult/bodies/vitruvius/proportion.html SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 57


LEADERSHIP

HOMEGROWN

Heroes

Public Safety Diversity Initiatives in Dayton, Ohio A long-standing issue facing local

MONICA JONES is assistant to the city manager, Dayton, Ohio (monica.jones@ daytonohio.gov).

governments across the country is diversity in public safety personnel. These organizations increasingly find themselves having to defend their cultural competency and moral responsibility for diversity, and the cities that fund these departments increasingly face costly discrimination lawsuits. The city of Dayton, Ohio, is no exception; with 52 percent of the population identifying as white, 43 percent identifying as black, and roughly five percent identifying as “other,” it is imperative that efforts be made to have a workforce that is representative of the community it serves. It can be argued that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has had a negligible effect on U.S. fire and police service department personnel. For example, more than 50 years since its passage, the current number of minorities in

58 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | SEPTEMBER 2019

BY MONICA JONES

most fire departments across the country is reflective of an era that preceded the Civil Rights movement, as nearly 90 percent of career firefighters are white.1 Dayton’s Dedicated Commitment

Despite repeated attempts at diversification and ongoing, focused recruitment efforts, the current racial and ethnic demographics of the Dayton Fire Department and Dayton Police Department look nearly identical to those found in 1965. Ninety-three percent of firefighters and 91 percent of police officers are white. The collective actions taken by the city of Dayton over the last 50 years — including several voluntary affirmative action plans, a diversity plan, and consent decree with the Department of Justice — demonstrate Dayton’s commitment to creating a workforce that mirrors the community while simultaneously highlighting the difficulty in achieving that goal.


Dating as far back as the Civil Rights era, city leadership began its first targeted recruiting effort, acknowledging that Dayton’s population was becoming increasingly diverse, but that the workforce, specifically public safety, was overwhelmingly staffed with white males. A robust recruitment campaign, which included local media advertising and minority referral requests from business agencies, helped the city increase minority hiring from 14 percent to 26 percent. However, minority representation in all workgroups did not achieve this increase and police and fire largely remained homogenous. Additional historic recruitment efforts included the creation of a recruitment committee by the Dayton Civil Service Office in 1972. This committee included leadership from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the Dayton Urban League, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and local trade unions. Several affirmative action plans were voluntarily adopted, but iterations and components of the various plans were met with legal challenges, including court rulings that they violated the city’s charter. A Homegrown Strategy

In addition to other continued, focused recruitment efforts — open houses and participation in job recruitment/college career fairs, mass mailing and emailing reminders of the application period and exam announcement, practice exams, study guides and/or tutorial sessions — the city has developed a new strategy, the Homegrown Heroes Program. This initiative seeks to recruit, engage, and mentor current City of Dayton employees who are eligible to take promotional examinations for the Public Safety Forces. The premise of the program is that the city’s overall workforce is noticeably more diverse than what is found within the Public Safety Forces and that existing employees could prove to be a valuable pipeline of diverse talent to these departments. Due to a change in the civil service hiring process, current city employees with at least

Due to a change

six months of service them to become city in the civil are now eligible to take employees. Not only would an exam for promotion this effort help to ensure service hiring to firefighter and police a sustainable pipeline of process, current officer positions. future police and fire safety Promotion exam lists candidates, but it also city employees are elevated above attracts students who know with at least six regular exam lists in the the community in which city’s hiring process, so they would serve. months of service recruit classes would Through Homegrown are now eligible first be filled from Heroes, the City of promotion lists of Dayton hopes to to take an exam existing city of Dayton continue to elevate its for promotion to talent pool candidates. efforts to recruit diverse When the city public safety employees firefighter and initiated Homegrown who more accurately police officer Heroes in the summer reflect and represent the of 2018, 209 employees community they serve. positions. were identified The city takes the goal of as eligible for the an inclusive workforce firefighter exam, of which 46 percent are seriously and strives for community minorities; 131 employees were identified cohesion and equity. as eligible for the police officer exam, of Since the program went live in 2018, which 48 percent are minorities. there have been several early benchmarks Additional components of the indicating success, specifically with Homegrown Heroes Program include a the Fire Department. The Fire Recruit ride-along program: city employees have Civil Service Test was given on April the opportunity to accompany a police or 13, 2019, and 54 current city of Dayton fire emergency medical services crew as employees took the test as a promotional part of their regular work hours. The city opportunity. This was a direct result of the has also developed mass communication recruitment and continued engagement pieces, including home mailings to eligible of employees eligible for the Homegrown employees explaining the benefits of Heroes Program. Twenty-six percent of the program. It has also offered “Safety those that passed the test and that are now Forces Fridays,” during which police and on the Fire Recruit promotional eligibility fire departments jointly host information list are minorities, which is markedly sessions open to city employees. higher than the current seven-percent Dayton has also established a Safety minority make-up of the Fire Department. Forces Mentoring Program as part Additionally, after months of planning of the Homegrown Heroes initiative. and collaboration between the city and Safety Forces mentors are assigned to Dayton Public Schools, a Fire/EMS career employees who show a serious interest in tech program will launch during the the promotion process and can provide 2019–2020 school year. This will be a valuable insight into the field, as well as four-year program and a Dayton firefighter help mentees prepare for and navigate the is completing the necessary training to be promotion process. the lead instructor for this initiative, which speaks to the cohesiveness between the city On the Horizon and school system. There is much In addition, the city is exploring a excitement surrounding this new endeavor collaborative effort with Dayton Public as 40 freshmen and 40 sophomores have Schools to build a career tech program already enrolled. We look forward to much that will expose students to fire and police continued success. careers beginning in the eighth grade. This ENDNOTES AND RESOURCES effort seeks to create a pool of graduating 1 (United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017) seniors armed with certifications to enable SEPTEMBER 2019 | PUBLIC MANAGEMENT | 59


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