For Immediate Release                           Contact: Catherine Smith 202.962.3632
May 21, 2012                                              csmith@icma.org

 

City’s reputation as a professionally well-managed community cited as reason for selection

WASHINGTON, D.C.— San Antonio has been chosen as one of five pilot communities that will be showcased in a national campaign to raise awareness of the contributions professional local government managers make to more than 59 percent of cities and towns and 27 percent of counties across the United States.

ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, is developing Life, Well Run, a national campaign to bring attention to the excellence and expertise of professional local government managers.

Although city, town, and county managers are among the most influential officials in local government, most taxpayers are unaware of the position.

A Harris Interactive poll conducted a few years ago found that only a third of citizens knew that city managers oversee the day-to-day operations of their local governments, and only five percent could describe what these managers do or the role they play in shaping their communities.

The lack of awareness deprives taxpayers of the opportunity to have an impact at the point where government is most accessible, and often, most responsive.

Additionally, many senior managers, who were drawn to public service by President John F. Kennedy’s “ask not what your country can do for you” speech, are preparing to retire, creating an urgent need to attract talented young people to the profession. With a low level of awareness of careers in professional local government management, many cities, towns, and counties will not have strong leadership to guide them in both the near and longer term.

“ICMA chose San Antonio to participate in this pilot phase of the Life, Well Run campaign because of the city’s national reputation as a successful, professionally well-managed community, as demonstrated by its vibrancy and its triple-A general obligation bond ratings from all three of the major bond-rating agencies,” said Robert J. O’Neill, ICMA’s executive director.

Life, Well Run will focus attention on the qualities that make San Antonio residents proud of their city and will encourage them to express that pride. The campaign will:

  • Highlight the work of San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley and her professional staff,
  • Engage residents through a number of video and digital events that demonstrate the critical role of professional management in a community’s quality of life.
  • Help San Antonians draw the dotted line between the local government services they receive and the critical role their city manager plays in delivering those services effectively, efficiently, and ethically.

“The campaign seeks to highlight the profession of local government managers and how their partnership with elected officials, community leaders, and residents creates communities we’re proud to call home,” said City Manager Sheryl Sculley. “I’m proud of the community we’ve built together, and honored ICMA chose us to be an example of a Life, Well Run community.”

A professionally managed community combines the strong political leadership of elected officials with the strong managerial experience of an appointed city or county manager or administrator. While mayors and city council members establish a vision and policy for the community, appointed, nonpartisan, professional managers work in partnership with elected officials, translating policy into action and results. Typical responsibilities of appointed professional city, town, and county managers include developing and implementing the budget, supervising department heads and other key local government employees, and engaging community stakeholders.

In addition to San Antonio and Seguin, Texas, three communities from the Chicagoland area in Illinois also will serve as Life, Well Run campaign pilots in 2012 before the national campaign launches sometime in 2013.

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. ICMA provides member support; publications; data and information; peer and results-oriented assistance; and training and professional development to 9,000 city, town, and county managers and other individuals and organizations throughout the world.  The management decisions made by ICMA’s members affect millions of individuals living in thousands of communities, from small villages and towns to large metropolitan areas.

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