ICMA Urges Young People To Consider Careers As Professional Local Government Managers

As baby boomer managers retire, local governments will need trained, ethical, committed managers.

Feb 18, 2014, 12:00 ET from ICMA

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The current demographics of professional local government managers indicate that as an increasing number of baby boom managers retire and leave vacancies in the coming years, cities, towns, and counties will need skilled, trained, and committed managers to replace them, according to Life, Well Run, a campaign created by ICMA, the International City/County Management Association.

More than 73 percent of cities, towns, and counties across the United States with populations of 2,500 or more employ a professional local government manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of their communities. These managers, who are appointed, nonpartisan, and nonpolitical, carry out the policy vision and goals established by elected officials, such as mayors and city, town, or county councils, boards, and commissions.

A 2012 ICMA survey showed that 89 percent of its membership is age 41 or older.  As the economy improves, older managers who postponed retirement because of the economic downturn are likely to leave the workforce, and it is imperative that local governments have a large pool of educated, experienced, nonpartisan, and talented managers to meet the challenges of the coming decades.

Recently, two veteran local government managers who are also ICMA members talked about their enthusiasm for their jobs and why they recommend the local government management profession as a career.

Scott Hancock, executive director of the Maryland Municipal League and a former long-time professional local government manager, uses a football analogy to explain how elected officials, managers, and their staffs work together. "You have the coach, who happens to be the elected official," he said. "You have the quarterback, who is actually directing the plays, taking his or her lead from the coach, and then you have the team, which are all the dedicated public safety officials and public works individuals who are out there taking care of the quality of life services that local governments provide day after day."

"What you really need to be an effective professional local government manager is to have a passion for serving people," adds Patricia Martel, city manager of Daly City, California. "I would absolutely recommend it as an outstanding career and I do -  frequently. I don't think there's any better profession where you have an opportunity to enhance the quality of life for people and to really make a difference."

The interviews with Scott Hancock and Pat Martel were taped as part of ICMA's celebration of its centennial anniversary and the 100-year legacy of professional local government management.  

For information on professional local government managers and how to become one, as well as career resources, visit lifewellrun.org, or icma.org.

About ICMA
ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, advances professional local government worldwide. The organization's mission is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional management to build sustainable communities that improve people's lives.

About Life, Well Run
In 2012, ICMA launched Life, Well Run, a national campaign to raise awareness of and appreciation for the role professional local government managers play in leading effective, efficient, and ethical local governments and the value they bring to building great communities. One of the goals of the campaign is to highlight professional local government management as an exciting career choice for young people.


Video: http://origin-qps.onstreammedia.com/origin/multivu_archive/PRNA/ENR/FX-MM65386-20140213-1.mp4
Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140218/MM65386-a 
Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140218/MM65386-b

Contact: Catherine Smith  
202.962.3632, csmith@icma.org