Weekly Update

Weekly Update

The giant sand dune in Pacific City, Oregon.

The giant sand dune in Pacific City, Oregon.

Dear ELGL members,

Everyone, regardless of political party, experienced some extreme emotions this past week. More than one person described working through Wednesday feeling like they had a hangover. Social media is unrelenting in the perspectives, ideas, reasons, blame, and news about President-elect Trump, and why Secretary Clinton lost the election. Our police departments and city offices are dealing with election protests. It doesn’t matter your political preference – it’s been a doozy of a week. I escaped to the beach for the weekend, finding solace in Pelican beers, books and podcasts. This David Gregory interview of Nicholas Kristof was the most enlightening for me.

ELGL previously had conversations about what local government employers should (and could) do to help employees after national tragedies. We’ve talked about the appropriate role our agencies should play after mass shootings, officer involved shootings, and other events that scare us. We’re not great at rolling out robust support networks on the fly, but here at ELGL, we’re trying to have conversations about how to support our local government employees, especially employees who are members of marginalized classes.

Which brings us back to election results. ELGL members in all departments are grappling with how they process their own emotions about the election, often in workplaces that are not prepared to (or allowed to) engage employees in frank discussions about politics. Codes of ethics make it almost impossible in council-manager organizations to have open political discussions, just as politics in strong mayor and commission organizations can feel like a muzzle.

We’ve already ascertained that talking about gun violence, or fatal force, or targeted violence is difficult. Throw in politics, and it’s hard to picture how we can build empathetic work cultures, post-election.  Don Krupp is the county manager of Clackamas County, Oregon and he’s done a nice job of recognizing how divisive the last week has been for our country while still upholding his ICMA code of ethics. It’s my guess, though, that Don is the exception, and the norm is to expect employees to deal with their post-election emotions on their own time.

Over the next few weeks, I’d love to hear from you about management approaches or programming that are helpful to you or your organization as we work through these complex emotions and begin to move forward in a President Trump administration. You can email or tweet at me with your stories.

Thank you,


Fresh Faces

#FunFact: the results from the #ELGL16 attendee survey yielded 54 new volunteers who want to get involved with ELGL management, planning and writing. We’re excited to welcome these new faces to the ELGL team. I’m planning on reaching out to them this week, and getting them signed up for the various blogs and programming that makes ELGL work. You can expect to see some fresh faces working on the Buzz, Weekly Reader, webinars and more.

Oregon Local Government Fellowship

ELGL posted its first recruitment this week! We’re managing the application and interview process for the Oregon Local Government Fellowship, a unique program that places graduate school fellows into multiple local governments in the Portland metro area so they can learn from several managers over the course of one year. We’re excited to try our hand at recruiting, and this is a great first program to assist with, as it involves six separate local government organizations. Thanks in advance for sharing the recruitment with your graduate program job placement office!

#ELGL17 Pop Ups

The ELGL Management Group had a happy hour (via Google Hangouts) on Thursday and finalized our plan to host our annual conference in May 2017 in Detroit, MI and then to host four pop-up conferences in September 2017 in Portland, OR; Dallas, TX; Kansas City, MO; and Charlotte, NC. In 2017, we’ll truly be building out learning opportunities to meet everyone’s budgets and travel schedules.

Bobbi Nance

Kent and I had the chance to celebrate Bobbi Nance’s birthday with her before she flew home after a whirlwind week in the Pacific Northwest. Bobbi is one of those local government employees you need to connect with on Twitter and LinkedIn. She’s driven, smart and creative. She geeks out about parks and rec data. She works full time, and consults in her free time so more organizations can get better at data driven decision making. Simply put: Bobbi is a superstar and I hope all of you can meet her, virtually or in person.

Pestering Pays Off

I’m interviewing one of Sim City’s original designers on Wednesday! Thanks to ELGL member Ed Vandehey from city of Pacifica, California, I was able to connect with one of the game designers and he’ll be a GovLove guest in the coming weeks.

No word back from NLC, yet. But I’m convinced more than ever that being persistent pays off.

Guidance for Elected Officials

Received a headline from one of my local gov friends about an administrator’s firing only a few months after moving across the country for a job. This prompted an email exchange about what role, if any, ELGL should play in providing guidance and training for elected officials about the most effective ways for them to work with their appointed employees. Organizations like ICMA are (understandably) not in the business of telling elected officials what to do. But should ELGL? Should we develop a blog series for elected officials about the best (and worst) ways to attract, recruit and retain appointed staff? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

What I’m Reading

Chaos Monkeys, by Antonio Garcia Martinez.


What I’m Listening To

Hamilton Mixtape, Various Artists


What I’m Watching

Just binged watched “The Crown” on Netflix. Queen Elizabeth is the OG nasty woman. I’m not a monarchist, but I did take pleasure in learning more about how she grew into her powerful role.


GIF of the Week

To close, here’s my favorite GIF this week: