ICMA University Forums at the 2019 ICMA Annual Conference are interactive, intensive training sessions designed to develop skills and enhance local government management knowledge. Taking place on Sunday, October and Wednesday, October 23, the forums are limited in enrollment to 250 participants. Although there is no fee to participate in a forum beyond the main conference registration fee, preregistration is required because of the ceiling on enrollment, and early registration is recommended.

City Management, Performance Evidence, and the “New Will”: Reducing Poverty, Inequality, and Racial Injustice Fifty Years after the Kerner Commission

Sunday, October 20 12:45 PM – 2:45 PM

In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission, concluded that urban America had made little progress in reducing poverty, inequality, and racial injustice. In its Fifty-Year Update of the Kerner Commission report, published in 2018, the Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation concluded that the nation still had made little progress but had at least learned a great deal about what works and what doesn’t work. In this forum, the foundation will review the evidence on urban economic, education, criminal justice, housing, and neighborhood policies that work. Local government managers will be challenged to identify evidence-based programs in their localities and to create what the Kerner Commission called the “new will” necessary to scale up success. One goal will be to begin to overcome the present deep divisions in American society.

Alan Curtis, President and CEO , Eisenhower Foundation , Washington, DC
Gregory Squires, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology and Public Policy & Public Administration, George Washington University, Washington, DC

How to Engage Residents in Sustainability Initiatives

Sunday, October 20 12:45 PM – 2:45 PM

Do you have great sustainability initiatives, but low participation in them? Join this interactive forum for strategies on engaging your residents and businesses in sustainability efforts. Discussions will also address ensuring that your zoning codes and ordinances encourage residential and commercial participation while reducing barriers for those efforts. Join this forum to learn how to encourage behavior changes through updating zoning codes, model codes, benefits of code unification, and how you can leverage your zoning code or ordinances to further your sustainability efforts.

Marta Goldsmith, Executive Director of the Form Based Codes Institute at Smart Growth America, Smart Growth America, Washington, DC
Susanne Rasmussen, Director of Environmental and Transportation Planning, City of Cambridge, Cambridge, MA
Melissa Valadez-Cummings, Assistant City Manager, City of Cedar Hill, Cedar Hill, TX

What We Have Is a Failure to Deliberate: Reframing Local Government Management as Deliberative Practice

Sunday, October 20 12:45 PM – 2:45 PM

Forum participants will develop awareness of deliberative practice as an alternative form of communication and participation within organizations and whole communities to address concerns including interpersonal conflict, citizen opposition, and discovery of solutions to public problems that range from mundane to wickedly complex. You will experience deliberative process through interactive exercises to name and frame issues and identify tensions and tradeoffs while considering solutions. Professional managers and students alike will access tools for supporting deliberative practice in their communities. 2, 9 

Thomas Bryer, Professor, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Martin Carcasson, Professor, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Bryna Helfer, Assistant County Manager & Director of Communications, County of Arlington, Arlington, VA
Cheryl Hilvert, Midwest Regional Director , ICMA, Montgomery, OH
Valerie Lemmie, Director of Exploratory Research , The Kettering Foundation, Dayton, OH
Doug Linkhart, President, National Civic League, Denver, CO
Timothy Shaffer, Ph.D., Assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies and the assistant director of the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy at Kansas, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS

Are You Ready for Some Socratic Challenges and the Athenian Project?

Wednesday, October 23 11:15 AM – 12:45 PM

Two lines in the Athenian Oath sometimes get overlooked yet offer a very personal challenge to public servants, “We will never bring disgrace on this our City by an act of dishonesty or cowardice. We will fight for the ideals and Sacred Things of the City both alone and with many.” As individuals who have chosen a profession guided by ethical expectations, how do you find and use your voice at the local, state, or federal level to live up to the ideals encouraged within the oath and also expressed in its ending, “Thus, in all these ways, we will transmit this City not only, not less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.” As part of the newly established Athenian Project, four important issues were identified and incorporated as “Socratic Challenges”: balancing the tension between personal and professional integrity; sociotechnical disruption; public service in the future; and continuous community building. Learn about the Athenian Project and join members of the inaugural project group for an interactive discussion about these important and challenging themes. Long-term members who want to enhance and energize their leadership legacy may find inspiration here.

Kate Fitzpatrick, Town Manager, Town of Needham, Needham, MA
Michael Land, City Manager, City of Coppell, Coppell, TX
Peggy Merriss, CEO, Merriss Management and Leadership Consulting, Decatur, GA

The MTAS Model: A Partnership with the Cities of Tennessee, the State, the Municipal League, and the University of Tennessee

Wednesday, October 23 11:15 AM – 12:45 PM

Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS), housed within the Institute for Public Service at the University of Tennessee, works one-on-one and face-to-face with the 345 municipalities in the state to provide training, research, and technical assistance. Learn how MTAS does this, how it is structured, and the benefits to cities. Participants will learn enough of the history to grasp how they might propose the model to their state. 8, 11

Margaret Norris, Executive Director, UT-Municipal Technical Advisory Service, Knoxville, TN