December 2017: Laugh, Cry, and Think

ELGL co-founder Kent Wyatt is making you Laugh, Cry, and Think while dishing out the #BigLocalGovBaller designation. Here’s what you missed in October.

December 22

ELGL Twitter Chain goes back to the Mountains. ELGL Sconnie nabs second place. CAL ELGL takes the bronze.

December 19

There’s only one way to catch the Christmas spirit….

See Foo Fighters Turn ‘Everlong’ Into Christmas Medley on ‘SNL’

Foo Fighters transformed their hit “Everlong” into a Christmas medley on Saturday Night Live, where the band served as musical guest on the 2017 finale.


I would take the second approach….


Police departments are in the spotlight again. This time, police departments in Oregon are being scrutinized for their handling of police officers who are fired.

The Oregonian rarely produces anything worth reading but I have found an exception.

Fired but fit for duty

Police officers in Oregon can stay eligible to carry a gun and a badge even after being fired for chronically inept police work. Or worse.


Warning! This is my favorite topic – the intersection of the media and local government. (Spoiler: communication professionals will be the next leaders in local government.)

Fewer reporters, more government

Despite the advent of social media and government communications teams — such as Eudaly has — public officials still have an obligation to talk to the press, McBride adds.

“There is really very little excuse for a public official being unresponsive to other organizations just because they have their own news organization,” McBride says. “Open government is open government.”

She adds that government has an obligation to communicate with the public despite smaller newsrooms.

Many ELGL members have strong opinions on this topic. Join the conversation in the ELGL Facebook group.

Tiny is trendy. Ireland’s leader shrunk. Matt Damon is tiny in, “Downsizing.”  And, tiny homes have grown into small communities.

First tiny homes, now small communities

Offering a more rustic experience, White Hawk Village is a “homesteading village” with permaculture gardens and farm animals located just outside of Ithaca. Second Wind Village, in Newfield, is a non-profit, small cottage community developed as transitional housing for formerly homeless men.

In Brooktondale, the colorful Boiceville Cottages has grown into a thriving community of 140 colorful small rental houses, plus a meeting house and two dog parks. Also owned by Schickel, Boiceville Cottages’ design was inspired by a children’s book and attracts a wide demographic of tenants, from college students to young families to retirees.


The Hometown Summit was very, very good to us. Ben and I made numerous connections which benefited ELGL by appearing on the GovLove podcast, writing articles for our website, and encouraging their colleagues to join ELGL.

One of those connections is Matt Lawless, Boones Mill, VA town manager. We shared a few laughs and drinks with Matt and he showed us around Emancipation Park, formerly known as Lee Park, a park in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Matt earns our love today for the announcement that he’s moving onto a new opportunity.

Lawless to leave post as Boones Mill town manager

During his tenure, the town has continued its efforts to revitalize the property now known as the Village Park at Boones Mill, where it renovated a vacant building that now houses two businesses, with room for more. A produce auction located in another building on the property and a year-round farmers market is also in the works . The town also has welcomed new businesses and has significantly grown its budget.

You’ve done a good job when reporters like you.

December 14

Onward, upward… we’re moving closer to the weekend. The Wyatt Family is headed to Sunriver, Oregon, which means the swimsuit is coming out again.

On a more visual appealing note, the ELGL Board of Directors met yesterday and expressed continued support for the #GiftofELGL initiative. A number of ELGL members have gifted membership to their co-workers, mentors, and friends.

I spread ELGL joy by gifting memberships to:

  • Ben Brown, North Carolina League of Municipalities
  • Mike Cully, League of Oregon Cities
  • Julia Glanz, City of Gaithersburg, Maryland

I challenge you to gift at least one ELGL membership to someone who’s made a difference in your life. It’s so much fun that your heart will hurt.


What a week for Wisconsin! Aaron Rodgers returns and ELGL Sconnie takes the #ELGLTwitterChain. Congrats to ELGL Sconnie Twitter account administrators – Chad Doran, Josh Schoemann, Mitch Foster, and Zach Navin.

It was an incredible three week run for Mountain ELGL but it’s time to take off the chain. (Let’s hope the plastic links on the chain remain.)

Also, kudos are in order for CalELGL. Their Twitter account gained the most number of followers this week.


Teach me how to dougie
T-teach me how to dougie
Teach me how to dougie
T-teach me how to dougie…

This makes me laugh. The NBA in 80’s and 90’s was a beautiful thing.


The robots are here! The robots are here! San Francisco is drowning in robots. Is this a good thing? Are they taking jobs from people? Are the robots funny? So many unanswered questions.

I am more confused after reading a couple of articles this week.

San Francisco animal shelter hires robot to keep homeless people away

Rather than using physical force to remove homeless people and their belongings, the robot uses a system of lasers, cameras, a thermal sensor and GPS to alert the authorities. At five feet tall and weighing 500 pounds, the robot can read up to 300 license plates per minute and send alerts when it identifies people on a “blacklist.”

San Francisco sours on rampant delivery robots: ‘Not every innovation is great’

Lawmakers pass regulations to cut down on delivery robots as pedestrians tire of sharing sidewalks with ‘aggressively entrepreneurial wet dreams’.


When Ice Cube speaks, I listen. He was in one of my top five movies, Friday so I defer to him on all important matters including tax reform.

Government is always last to embrace the hottest trends. It took a while but we’ve finally embraced blaming the #Mwords for our staffing shortages.

Millennials Partly To Blame For Police Officer Shortage, Dallas Police Chief Says

“We have nights, weekends and holidays, and those are some of the things that are not necessarily attractive to millennials who want all days off and to be the chief in six months,” she told the city council. “We recognize that is a challenge.”


Before we dish out the #BigLocalGovBaller designation, we check-in with the original big baller. We assume things are calmed down, right?

Moving right along… tough to follow that dynamite trio of articles.

GovTech earned its big baller stripes. You might remember GovTech from their podcast episode featuring ELGL. Doesn’t sound familiar?!?! Check. It. Out.

This week GovTech returned with praise for the GovLove podcast.

Putting Government Podcasting on the Map

Beyond Dews’ list, we have been listening to a number of state and local podcasts. Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL), the people who brought you the #cityhallselfie, also produce GovLove, a podcast that introduces listeners to the people who do the work of local government.

December 11

We’re starting the week like….

After a failed attempt at making a gingerbread house with my kids, it’s time to head back to work. I repeated myself more than ever when my eight-year old continued to ask whether she could eat the candy from the gingerbread house kit. The answer is no. Unfortunately, I hope those candies are suitable for a dog because Michael Jordan cleaned the floor of gumdrops and sprinkles.

It wasn’t all gingerbread houses this week. Kirsten and I attended a dinner with ICMA board members who were in Portland for a meeting. We enjoyed connecting with David Johnstone, Lee Feldman, Heather Geyer and others. I also had a brief conversation with Craig Honeyman from the League of Oregon Cities. We agreed that, with a new LOC executive director starting, it’s an ideal time for LOC and ELGL to find common ground.


The mean streets of the North Pole?!?! Santa vs. Santa? There’s a war brewing in this country involving professional Santa’s. If senior management analysts can beef with other senior management analysts, I guess Santa’s are allowed to beef with each other.

Inside the Cutthroat World of Today’s Professional Santas

Not all Santas are created equal. A self-proclaimed “second-generation Santa,” Cook started dressing up as Saint Nick for a local fire department, as his dad had done. After realizing he could grow an impressively full beard, he worked fraternity events to make extra money in college. Now a veteran, he literally hands out bonuses to employees at lucrative holiday parties for businesses. But one surprising thing he refuses to do is sit.


Katy Tur is my new celebrity girlfriend. I read “Unbelievable” by Katy and I’m in love. How good was the book? I read it in two days which is a PR (personal record). Katy provides “inside baseball” information on covering the Trump campaign.

I love learning about the daily routine of professionals (in a non-creepy way) in other fields. Katy writes about finding time to sleep in-between on-air demands, eating a ton of bad food, and how to dress when you are on the road constantly. This may be old news, but she drops this interesting tidbit of the Australian journalist who wore the same outfit for a year.

Male TV presenter wears same suit for a year

I have strong feelings about public libraries. My feelings revolve around the large percentage of libraries which haven’t adjusted to the realities of technology and how people consume information. One of the libraries which I frequent has a large area devoted to compact discs and DVDs. Why? There are so many better uses for the space – community meeting rooms, computer docking stations, new releases, or classroom spaces.

When I read about public libraries renovating themselves, I get warm and fuzzy. The latest example is from the Illinois Valley.

‘JUST LIKE BORROWING A BOOK’ – Libraries offer Wi-Fi to be taken home

She said an estimated 10-15 percent of their regular patrons don’t have internet access at home, which she learned through word of mouth. She said this percentage spans all ages, and the reason for the lack of internet isn’t just because of economic reasons, such as a family choosing to bring their children up without lots of technology in their home.

“On a scale from 1 to 10, what much do you want this job?” That’s one of the most creative questions I’ve been asked in my job search. I’ll be asking this question next time I’m on an interview panel.

For the most creative interview questions, we must look toward the private sector. Time did the work for us. My favorites:

33 Questions That Were Asked at Apple Job Interviews

“Are you smart?”

“What’s more important, fixing the customer’s problem or creating a good customer experience?”

“What was your best day in the last 4 years? What was your worst?”


Take away my “man card” if you must. I read the “Cat Person” article and I was enthralled. It’s only been a few hours so I am unsure of my takeaways. I even unsure why I read an article that is outside the topics that I normally read about it. I couldn’t stop reading it once I started. (Spoiler: the article is super long.)

Cat Person

Flirting with her customers was a habit she’d picked up back when she worked as a barista, and it helped with tips. She didn’t earn tips at the movie theatre, but the job was boring otherwise, and she did think that Robert was cute. Not so cute that she would have, say, gone up to him at a party, but cute enough that she could have drummed up an imaginary crush on him if he’d sat across from her during a dull class—though she was pretty sure that he was out of college, in his mid-twenties at least. He was tall, which she liked, and she could see the edge of a tattoo peeking out from beneath the rolled-up sleeve of his shirt. But he was on the heavy side, his beard was a little too long, and his shoulders slumped forward slightly, as though he were protecting something.


It’s true. One of ELGL’s favorites is leaving city management. Matt Horn, city manager of Geneva, NY, has accepted a new position in Washington, DC. While in Geneva, Matt contributed numerous gems to the ELGL community including:

Never stop learning. Charles Hartgrove has taken this quote to heart. Charles graduated from the VCU Wilder School this weekend. He is currently the deputy city manager in Lynchburg, VA and previously served as the city manager of Ashland, VA.

Fun Fact: Charles interviewed me for a job while I lived in Richmond, VA. He did not hire me. No hard feelings about the job, but I have some hard feelings about his love of UVA.

December 8

We’re back…. live bloggin’ from the Willamette Coffee Shop (great pastries) using the McDonald’s WiFi. Another reason America is great. Rollin’ into the weekend like….

First of all, I must admit the ELGL website has been a train wreck this week. Not to point fingers but if you’re really angry about it, share your feelings with Members365. Spin zone: the benefit of website difficulties is that we realized people actually read our content. Hang in there… we’ll get it fixed. Consider it our holiday gift to you.

This was a horrible week for website difficulties. One of the most important articles in our site’s history was published. Alyssa Wolverton provided a wake up call to all boys and girls in local government.


I am sure that I’ve listened to Chance the Rapper. I am positive that I have follow him on Twitter. He’s a great follow. Today he dished out the local weather on WGN in Chicago.

I won’t judge his performance. I have a long held belief that the local weather should be brought to you by robots. That said, here we go…

When a major network fires hundreds of staff…. this happens


Full disclosure: I have not read any of the seven-part series. In fact, the first article won’t be publicly released until Sunday. I am recommending the articles before I read them because the Spotlight Team by the Boston Globe wrote them and there’s much buzz about the series.


Spotlight reporters analyzed data, launched surveys, and conducted hundreds of interviews. Reporters focused solely on the black community, the group that has the longest and most difficult history of racism in the city. That decision, by no means, is meant to minimize the discrimination faced by other minorities here.

The team examined the core of Boston’s identity: our renowned colleges and world-class medical institutions, the growth that keeps expanding our skyline, business and politics, and our championship sports teams. They even turned their gaze inward, and looked at how the Globe can do more to ensure more diversity in the news reporting process.

They also did something decidedly old-school: They visited a number of iconic Boston locations and simply counted the number of black people they saw.

In the end, what ​the Spotlight Team discovered wasn’t all pretty.

We invite you to be among the first to see this investigation by subscribing to a daily email newsletter that will deliver each report to your inbox. Sign up here to receive the first installment on Sunday, Dec. 10.


ELGL member Josh Dukelow hosted me during my visit to Wisconsin last year. I’m forever grateful for Josh’s hospitality which went above and beyond except for Josh’s inability to stop the Seahawks from losing to the Packers.

Josh been a contributing ELGL member for years. He’s appeared on the GovLove podcast. He’s been a guest columnist.

His full-time gig is serving as a radio personality in Appleton, Wisconsin. Today he made the decision to publicly discuss sexual misconduct in his past. I urge you to listen to the interview before making any judgement.

Coming Clean About Sexual Misconduct

As victims across the country continue to come froward with tales of mistreatment by powerful men, American society is reckoning with the legacy of toxic masculinity. Previously “untouchable” perpetrators are losing their jobs. Men in positions of power have abused those around them going back generations. It has been said, “that’s just how men are,” but that excuse is gone. No one, regardless of position or title, should be enabled to abuse anyone, regardless of status or industry.

However, it isn’t fair to expect that victims will always come forward with allegations of wrong-doing. Speaking out can be a painful and costly experience for male or female victims. Instead, the men who committed these predatory actions should examine their own past and admit to them. By taking the initiative, the burden is removed from victims and an honest reckoning can take place.

Never one to expect from others what I am not willing to do myself, in this special Takeaway I explain why it is so important for the guilty parties to speak up, and I admit to my own past misconduct. It wasn’t easy, but it was important to advance the progress of this cultural movement. Listen for yourself, and let me know what you think by emailing

I am a fan boy of Scott Lazenby, not Scott Lazenby the city manager, but Scott Lazenby the author. I became a fanboy while reading Playing with Fire for a city management class during my days at the UNC MPA program.

After a long hiatus, Scott returns with another fiction book about the life of a city manager. I provided comments on the first draft of “State of the City”, and now, the soft launch of the book is here. Kent, Kent, when is the official launch? You’ll be happy to know that Scott will be debuting the book at #ELGL18 in Golden, Colorado. He’ll be talking about the writing process, how he developed the story lines, and his expectations for the book.

#ELGL18 attendees will receive a FREE copy of the book in return for leaving a review about the book on Amazon.


Chris Haas, City of Nashville, TN and Alyssa Wolverton earned their baller status this week.

In case you hadn’t heard, one of the best and brightest mayors in the country Nashville Mayor Barry will record a GovLove episode in mid-January. Chris, who is an ELGL member, Traeger winner, and New Media Manager in the Mayor’s Office, was a huge asset in scheduling the interview. I am taking a wild guess but if I cold-called Mayor Barry is not picking up.

Alyssa (mentioned above) brought it this week by writing I Have to Ask You: Is Local Government Inviting to Young Professionals?

I don’t know if I am allowed to honestly answer the question “is local government inviting to young professionals?” It would help my odds at getting a job in local government if I wrote about the great times I had working in government and how local government can attract millennials. I mean, what do I have to gain from telling people about my real experience? The story where my boss cried to me because she told me I was too optimistic, or I’d be so bored at my desk sometimes I would cry? Is it worth explaining how it felt like my work didn’t matter or how didn’t get honest feedback?

How many people read the article? Great question, more than 600 people have viewed the article so far.

December 7

It’s a three-peat for Mountain ELGL!

Midwest – 0.09%
Southeast – 0.11%
Southwest – 0.18%
California – 0.34%
Northwest – 0.17%
Northeast – 0.69%
Ohio – 0.31%
Sconnie – 2.19%
Mountain – 7.32%

December 3

Boom goes the dynamite!

Pontiac Silverdome still standing after implosion fails, officials investigating

We’re rolling into December. Que the “this year should has flown by” comments. I am confident to report this year was similar in length to every other year (except leap years).


The Pacific Northwest is not the place to be this time of year. Gray clouds and drizzle are an everyday occurrence. Just how dark and miserable is it, you ask?

Scattered, smothered, and covered… I love the Waffle House. The Waffle House does not love Portland as they don’t have a single location. Similar to Great Clips, when you visit the Waffle House, you don’t know how you’ll look when you walk about.

A Waffle House location in South Carolina is trying a new angle. They are letting customers cook their own food. You’ll have to wait until the Waffle House staff is sleeping but once they are you have free reign of the place.

This Drunk Guy Making His Own Food At Waffle House While Employees Sleep Is All Of Us

Squirrels and cats are ruling the day in local government news. (Still waiting on a unicorn or dragon to intersect with our work.) I give the slight edge to the cat due to the library card.

The Star Tribune reports that the conundrum has caused a stir on Twitter and Reddit, where people have been posting Max-inspired artwork. Someone even made a library card for Max, who has been grounded by his owner over his naughty behavior.

Squirrels continue to show that they bring lil’ value to the table of life.  A squirrel destroyed a New Jersey town’s Christmas lights


Sorry Wisconsin, I am moving to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has answered the prayers of parents everywhere. You know the struggle…. Your child’s school has a random teacher workday on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving break, leaving you without childcare. If you live in Pittsburgh, you no longer have to curse your child’s school under your breath, make snide comments about another teacher workday, or comment how your job doesn’t provide work days away from the people that you serve.

You want innovation? How ‘bout providing childcare during city meetings. But what excuse would we have for no one attending our community meetings? As the job listings in local government grow, cities like Pittsburgh will win the battle of talent. I’ll take less money to work for an organization where childcare is no longer a concern.

You want gender diversity? Free childcare is your answer. Ask any parents. We’ll take free childcare over almost any perk including additional pay or benefits. Offering free childhood is a tangible benefit that employees will appreciate every time there is a school holiday. This beats the 1.0% COLA that we take for granted and complain that we spent it all buying a latte at Starbuck’s.

Pittsburgh is ballin’ with this latest announcement.

City Will Offer Free Child Care for Employees and During Public Community Meetings

“Data shows that family-friendly workplace policies reduce costly turnover and boost productivity. By offering at-work child care to our employees, the City is investing in its employees and ensuring that we continue to provide a high level of service to the residents of Pittsburgh,” said Councilman Dan Gilman. “As a city where the input of all residents is valued, we must ensure that family needs do not stand in the way of community involvement and enable more Pittsburghers to become active members of their neighborhoods. I thank Mayor Peduto and his administration for their work on this critical initiative.”

Bonus points: French fries are a staple on most sandwiches served in Pittsburgh.

ELGL members, let’s unite and move to Pittsburgh. I’ll get you started with the latest job openings from the City.

My Little Pony, Sing, Secret Life of Pets, Frozen, and the list goes on and on…. I’ve suffered through a myriad (my favorite word) of movies with my children. Parent tip: Go to the 3D showing of movies. The glasses make it easier to fall asleep without your kids noticing. The extra couple of dollars is worth it.)

For many reasons, I am thankful that I have children, with the latest being that I would have never seen “Coco.” The movie is incredible. While Hollywood tends to be very white, “Coco” provides insight into Mexican culture. Both of my daughters are in Spanish immersion so I’d heard about the Day of the Dead. I hadn’t a clue about its significance until watching Coco.

My criteria for judging a movie is whether I can guess what’s going to happen next. If I can, it’s not a very good movie. Coco is unpredictable with numerous storylines that come into together in the last 20 minutes. You’ll leave the movie theater pondering the meaning of life and how you can keep alive the legacy of your family and friends.

An early holiday gift — skip the Frozen short shown before “Coco.” It’s not interesting and lasts too long. Need I say more?


Rejoice! Tears of joy! Gender balance has been achieved on the Raleigh (NC) City Council. Humble brag: one of the new councilors is married to one of my UNC MPA classmates. I’ll keep you in suspense by making you guess which one.

The wave of women running for elected office is real. We know so because the New York Times tells us so. The New York Times also tells us about a “gay, gay government.”

And now deep thoughts…..

I am not a “motivation quote” guy. There isn’t a single quote that would kick me in the pants and get me to produce more and better work. This is partially due to the overuse of motivational quotes. There is a motivation quote for everything. It’s like having a birthday every day. You aren’t excited when your birthday rolls around for the 300th consecutive day.

If we’re forced into relying on motivational quotes, let’s make sure that they are as deep as this one….


While the original Big Baller fights with Trump, we take a positive spin by awarding the designation to Alexandria Kenyon, City of Redwood City, CA, Communications & Marketing Multimedia Analyst. Alexandria is a member of the newly formed membership committee. She is helping guide ELGL to new audiences and improved communications on the benefits from membership.

Show appreciation for Alexandria by giving the gift of ELGL membership.

November 29


Mountain ELGL retains the title. ELGL Sconnie wins the silver and ELGL Ohio takes the bronze.

Region/% Change

Midwest – 0.13%
Southeast – 0.06%
Southwest – 0.12%
California – 0.20%
Northwest – 0.25%
Northeast – 0.46%
Ohio – 0.79%
Sconnie – 2.70%
Mountain – 5.81%

Boaty McBoatFace, you’re on the hot seat! Gritsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Anti-Slip Machiney and David Plowie are coming for your title. The public has (again) proven incapable of behaving themselves during a naming rights opportunity.


Rigmarole. Here’s a word that needs to make a comeback. Many people found humor in this news clip of the “Black Friday” crowds. I found humor and delight in the “rigmarole” drop early in the clip. I challenge you to use rigmarole in your office today. Tweet me and the context in which you used and my lil’ elf might have swag for you.


How to exit gracefully… Dating back to parties at Elon University, I’ve employed the Irish Exit. The Urban Dictionary defines irish exist as the “departure from any event without telling any friends, associates or acquaintances that one is leaving.” Side note: Referencing the Urban Dictionary in a council presentation is on my bucket list.

If you’re thinking, Kent, is Irish Exit an offensive term? Google says no. They also tell me that using the Irish Exit is a mark of high moral character. Pat, pat, pat on my back…. I’ve always said that I’m a character guy.

I prefer walking out the door (usually the side door) and heading home. My lovely wife keeps me in check now and fights back against my urge to Irish Exit. At the same time, I battle her desire to linger and say goodbye to everyone in the room. No need for goodbyes or promises that won’t be kept.

I do not endorse the Irish Exit when departing from an employer. While your lame duck period might be awkward, resist the temptation in turn for the high road. Kent, Kent, what is the high road? I am a “specific examples” guy so I point to Laurie Hokkanen’s approach as the model.

(Note: I also endorse Laurie’s Twitter bio – Love my 3 boys, travel, technology, amazing parks, local government and food. Not always in that order!)


I am starting to doubt my faith in humanity. I woke up to this tweet….

And this headline…. Graphic, Disturbing Details of Matt Lauer’s Alleged Sexual Misconduct

These events transpired sometime during my eight hours of sleepy time. Really, a secret button in your office….

Matt Lauer and Garrison Keller added their names to naughty list. Others will sure follow. The list will ultimately grow to include local government leaders. The possibility was addressed in this article…Preparing Your Local Government for “the Reckoning”

If you witness a colleague or elected official behave in an inappropriate manner, do not sit quietly and let it happen.  This doesn’t necessarily mean activating the giant red alert, filing a claim or calling the media.  I get that these situations in the workplace are complex and a little touchy to handle with discretion.  This is true for anyone who witnesses this behavior, but especially true for those who directly experience it.

While the list grows, I have to think that many women remain hesitant to step forward. It might be “easier” to speak out now but it never really is easy. For those coming forward, they realize that it likely won’t help them professionally – it might not hurt but it won’t be a net positive. Kirsten and I discussed this reality when she was going through her discrimination lawsuit.

As always, ELGL is willing to post (anonymously or not) your thoughts, comments, and/or experiences on our website.


X gon give it to ya

He gon give it to ya

X gon give it to ya

He gon give it to ya…..

DMX is back and he’s here to spread Christmas cheer. Full disclosure: I blasted DMX in my Discman as I roamed the suburban streets of Wilson, NC. Speaking of Wilson, NC, ELGL member and lover of Wilson, NC Marc Nelson shared an article in the ELGL Facebook group about Wilson’s low-priced fiber optic service.

Wilson’s prepay program isn’t the only step Wilson has taken to reach more of its citizens with fiber. Though the city’s Greenlight fiber service is already connected to about 40 percent of the units in the town, it hasn’t—like the unregulated private fiber providers in the US—decided to deny fiber to some parts of the city. If you move to a place in Wilson that doesn’t have fiber, all you have to do is call and ask for service. Greenlight will install it for you for free.

Back to the subject at hand, DMX channels his inner Mariah Carey in this “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” cover.

November 28

An early New Year’s resolution – I am committing to writing at least 15 minutes a day. What will I write about? Well, I’d like to write a book but that seems unrealistic. Let’s find out was bouncing around in my weird, little head today. We’ll start with a laugh since we get a little serious later on.



Unfortunately, sometime in my early 20’s, I lost the belief that I was immortal. I had never thought about dying. I didn’t believe it could happen to me. I hadn’t been around death. My family and friends were (thankfully) in good health. Even the song “Immortality” by Pearl Jam didn’t lead to an internal conversation about death.

Dad’s final “love letter” to daughter on her 21st birthday goes viral

The story of Bailey’s dad is incredible. In the face of death, he left a lasting impact on his daughter.

I am 39-years old now. I recognize that death is inevitable. I don’t sit around worrying about it. I think about it the most when I read heart wrenching stories like the one shared by Bailey Sellers.

If you have a daughter (or son), friend, or loved one and you’ve never sent them flowers, make that a priority today.


I have mentioned in previous entries that I am looking for the next step in my career. Part of doing this involves applying and interviewing for jobs. The experience has been eye-opening. I’ve learned that responsiveness is not a strong suit of local government. Applying for a job in local government is not like ordering an item from Amazon or pizza from Amazon. You can’t follow your application from submitted to being reviewed to reviewed to finalists selected to interviews to background check to candidate selected. I shouldn’t say that you can’t do this. It’s that most local governments decide against checking the feature on Government Jobs that allows you to supply the information to job candidates. I have to admit the lack of responsiveness had me wondering whether I expected to much or wasn’t in the right profession.

My fears have been calmed by how a couple of local governments are handling an ongoing recruitment. I want to highlight one of them. I will not mention the organization or position.

Full disclosure: I share this correspondence in hope of shaming other organizations to improve their communication during the recruitment process.

Good afternoon.

First, apologies for the relative silence on the City side regarding this recruitment. Our process is not set up to be overly communicative, sadly.

Second, I wanted to let you know where things stand. We had a large number of applicants (~200) that was whittled down to ~100 that we felt were qualified for the position. From that, we narrowed the list down to a short list of 30 or so folks that we felt were the top candidates. You all are in that list of 30. We only had time and capacity to interview 12, so after some tough decisions, the list was narrowed down further to an initial set of interview candidates. Unfortunately, you did not make that list.

While I assume this is disappointing, it is not cause for despair. We had an exceptional group of people to choose from, yourselves included. Rarely in my many years of recruiting folks to the City have I had such a good pool, with such diverse backgrounds and ranges of expertise to choose from. A good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless… sincerely wish we could have interviewed many more.

That all said, there is a small chance that someone will withdraw in the next day or to, or that we will get through the first round and decide we want to interview additional candidates. It’s not extremely likely that you will hear from me in the next 24 hours, but it is possible. Otherwise, I will let you know when a final decision has been made.

I know applying for this type of position takes time and effort, which I appreciate. I also know that this job was a difficult one to apply for, as we are asking for a broad range of skills for a brand new (and somewhat fluid) position for the City. Thank you for throwing your hat in the mix.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to send them my way. Though I may wait until the final decisions are made before responding to avoid running afoul of HR rules.

Thanks again!

Friends, this is how you handle a recruitment. Honesty, details, and next steps.

I have an announcement to make…. Repeat… I have an announcement to make. I have added a new podcast to my rotation. “I’m Still Here” is a podcast focusing on what happens to communities after the reporters and cameras leave. An early episode features the city of New Orleans after Katrina. The episodes focuses on a wide range of issues (many of which impact cities everywhere) including the AirBnb’ing of a neighborhood, why cover charges matter, and jazz music.


I try not to self-promote ELGL articles in this column. However, I am breaking the rule today. As you might have read in the Morning Buzz, I am fascinated (not in a weird, creepy way) with Kylie’s bodybuilding hobby. I wanted to understand what drives someone to alter their eating habits and commit to hours at the gym. My hypothesis was there was some mysterious, cryptic reason for Kylie devoting time and energy in something that she’s not going into to win it. (Kylie, apologies for my off-base hypothesis. I learned a good lesson.)

Kent Wyatt has asked me about my fascination with amateur bodybuilding for a couple of years now but is reluctant to invite me to GovLove so here, in this Morning Buzz, I will tell you why amateur body building helps me keep my sanity and why it is important to have hobbies, goals, and projects outside of the office.

Kylie’s article cleared things up. Her commitment is similar to people who run 5K’s, learn gourmet cooking skills, or play golf. Where Kylie is different than most is she accomplishes the goals that she sets out to meet.

I witnessed her commitment firsthand in the Real World San Antonio house. While houseguests were eating takeout Mexican food, Kylie was eating eggs. While houseguests were taking advantage of the free drinks at events held throughout the conference, Kylie was stone-cold sober. While houseguests were sleeping, Kylie was working out.

I don’t compete to place. Don’t get me wrong, I would be amped to go home from a competition with a trophy; other athletes at my home gym have trophies lined up on a shelf in the gym lobby. I compete to give myself a goal outside of the office. I compete to work on something that has nothing to do with my family or friends. In fact, bodybuilding alienates me from family and friends and coworkers. I miss happy hours, I go to sleep at 8:30 pm, I don’t participate in office potlucks.

Kylie’s commitment was the most impressive feat that I witnessed in San Antonio. If I had hiring authority, I would hire Kylie in a heartbeat. If I was considering a job opportunity where she was working, I would apply in a heartbeat.

We talk and write incessantly (including ELGL) about work/life balance. I’ve consumed much of the conversation, and yet, I was still ignorant about what that balance really means.

When my strategic workforce diversity development plan was in round after round of edits I felt defeated. It felt like this work would constantly be in the planning stage and we’d never move forward as an organization. While I was feeling frustrated with the pace of my work other things were moving forward: the numbers on the scale, the number of 45 pound plates I could add to my squat, and the number of minutes I could go on the stepmill without stopping to catch my breath. That kept me going in other aspects of my life, including the workplace.

Kylie’s article is on the most important articles ever posted on the ELGL website. It’s one that I’ll direct people to in highlighting the uniqueness of ELGL members.

November 23

A new Thanksgiving tradition is born! The awarding of the #ELGLTwitterChain. We’re one week into the heated competition and we have a new title holder….

The ELGL account with the biggest increase of Twitter followers (by percentage) is…

Midwest          0.26%

Southeast        0.39%

Southwest        0.18%

California        0.27%

Northwest       0.67%

Northeast        0.58%

Ohio                0.32%

Sconnie            10.45%

Mountain       12.32%


The City of Durham, North Carolina — that’s right the entire city especially whoever came up with the idea to include a Citizens Financial Report in the local paper. Love the proactive communication showing the community how tax dollars are being managed.

The cherry on top is the campaign for citizens to send selfies reading the financial report. I’d love to participate if someone sends me a copy of the Durham Herald-Sun.

Learn more about the City of Durham in this GovLove interview with city manager Tom Bonfield.


Since visiting Wisconsin last year, I’ve been considering job opportunities in the region. Their love of rolls/biscuits might make me look a little bit harder.



If you land at the lil’ kids table, you might feel like crying. Unfortunately, local government created a lil’ kids table of their own which we’re constantly trying to break up. Here’s my take on the situation from a few years ago.

Are You Sitting at the Little Kids’ Table?

Challenge your professional association to offer similar practical experience. The “younger” generation has skills in web development, social media, and Prezi to name a few that would be valuable to a professional association. The status quo is no longer acceptable, and professional associations must be leaders in developing these opportunities that will attract and retain talented professionals to local government.


When ELGL lands funding from a major donor, this is how I’ll feel….


November 22

Alright, alright… things are getting crazy. It’s Thanksgiving Eve (also known as the PK80 Eve). The Wyatt Family will be spending Thanksgiving just like the Pilgrims and Indians. We’re attending the Phil Knight Invitational to watch UNC basketball at 11:30 a.m. in the Moda Center in Portland. And thanks to the beautiful ticket sellers on StubHub, we purchased $40 tickets in one of the Moda Center suites. My kids are thrilled. We sat in similar seats for Disney on Ice and they couldn’t believe that we had a private bathroom and multiple televisions. They were so excited about those amenities that the unlimited popcorn didn’t get a mention.


When Kirsten and I were engaged, I was surprised by the lack of unsolicited advice. I received a couple of books about marriage. (Spoiler: I didn’t read them.) If I were to write a book about the engagement period, my advice would be similar to this…..

Mike Leach shares unfiltered wedding advice with groom-to-be

I know what you’re thinking. I bet that Kent is unable to make it without another mention of the Turnover Chain. You’ll be happy to know that I have a new fascination – clips of MARTA making an opportune appearances. (Fun Fact: I learned the word “opportune” in my fifth grade Word of the Week contest)

The Weather Channel was ready to rock for the explosion of the Georgia Dome. Although I fail to see the relationship between implosions and weather. The Weather Channel disagreed and here’s what happened.

Weather Channel tried to film Georgia Dome implosion. But along came a bus.

A public bus glided in front of the camera, while a symphony of explosions filled the air.

“No bus, get out of the way,” Rudge shouted in an exasperated tone. “Bus!”

The bus did not acquiesce. Instead, it stopped right in front of the camera, blocking most of the view.

Rudge’s cries, now laden with expletives, grew louder.

“Get of the way, bus,” he angrily implored. “Are you …”

The bus did still not move. The dome crumbled to an enormous pile of ash. Rudge screamed in what sounded like anguish.

Then, as quickly as it arrived, the bus glided off the moment the spectacle ended.

Showing a sense of humor, the Weather Channel posted the video to YouTube — with the profanity bleeped out — and titled it “Bus Photobombs The Weather Channel’s Stream of Georgia Dome Implosion.”


Hand up…. I am guilty of laughter-crying during the Lavar Ball interview on CNN. If that makes me a bad person, that’s okay. Lavar is completely off his rocker but seemingly met his match in Donald Trump.

LaVar Ball responds to Trump, wishes him a ‘great Thanksgiving’


I am not a big bike guy. I owned a bike when we moved to our current house. I gave away that bike after suffering the ultimate embarrassment on multiple occasions – walking a bike uphill. My scarring experience occurred around ten years ago, since then, I haven’t seen one person suffer my same fate of being too weak to peddle uphill. I am pretty sure that people of my limited strength self-select themselves away from riding a bike.

I’ve faced my fear a few times since my incident. This occurred when I visited cities with bike share. I do love bike share and so does Bill Walton.

Bike share is evolving as we speak. Dockless bike share is offered in a number of cities throughout the nation. One of those cities is Seattle, Washington. An unexpected outcome of dockless bike share has been this….

Look at some of the weird places people put shared bikes in Seattle


Speaking of Lavar Ball, we’re excited to bestow the #BigLocalGovBaller designation to Lauren Stott and Libby Seguin. The dynamic duo appeared on a Governing podcast to discuss the Diversity Dashboard. They also perfectly articulated the ELGL elevator speech.

Mattie Quinn, host of the 23% podcast, also earns this designation for allowing Lauren and Libby to explain the Diversity Dashboard and for giving her “stamp of approval” to the ELGL50 Twitter account. Tweet! Tweet! Follow Mattie on Twitter.

The Women Leading the First Study of Diversity in State and Local Government [Episode 15]

“Most local governments are run by white men, so there hasn’t needed to be a conversation about what diversity looks like.”

November 20


#CityBrandTurkey returns!

What better to do Thanksgiving week than drop turkeys into your city logo.


We warned you! The Silver Tsunami has arrived.

Maine municipal officials worry, prepare for loss of experienced staff amid new worker shortage

A ‘silver tsunami’ of retirements is expected to leave many jobs in local government vacant unless Maine municipalities plan ahead.

Rewind! We partnered with Cartegraph for an add-on to the Rocky Mountain High-Performance Government event. As an exclusive for our award-winning members, we present videos from each of the sessions.

Watch: Rocky Mountain High-Performance Government

  • Achieving Clarity: The Best-Kept Secret of High-Performance Government, Nick Kittle | Government Performance and Innovation Coach, Cartegraph
  • Driving Change: Your Local Gov Roadmap, Allen Peterson | Road and Bridge Division Manager, Arapahoe County, CO Public Works and Development
  • Pumping Up Employee Engagement Efforts to Produce High-Octane Teams, Heather Younger | Founder, Customer Fanatix
  • Empowering Data-Driven Innovation in Government, Scotty Martin | Founder & Chief Architect, Denver Peak Academy | Senior Government Innovation Consultant
  • From Vision to Results: How to Build an Innovative Team, Melissa Wiley | Manager, Denver Peak Academy
  • Paving the Road Less Traveled, Brandi Rank | Business Solutions Manager, Adams County, CO
  • High-Performance Government in an Uncertain World, Dan Weinheimer | Deputy County Manager, Routt County and Nick Kittle | Government Performance and Innovation Coach, Cartegraph
  • Measuring the Success of Your Strategic Plan, Lawrence Pollack | Budget Director, City of Fort Collins, CO
  • The Point of Engagement: Lessons from Our Citizens, Jacob Anderson | Citizen Engagement Specialist, City of Colorado Springs, CO

November 19

#SundayFunday! While my wife drinks these in an undisclosed location (no, the location is not undisclosed to me)…



I’ve been partying with my two daughters – painting pottery, visiting the library, and eating Blue Star doughnuts. H/T to Full House re-runs for babysitting while I provide you with this very important update. Back-to-back nights of jumbo sleepover has me feeling like this poor referee.



In my previous entry, you learned about the Turnover Chain and Turnover Plank. Like all good things, someone tries to copy it and the World Wide Web mocks them for the ruining the joke.

Twitter has a field day with the Oregon Ducks’ second-rate Turnover Chain

Similar to Miami’s, Oregon’s turnover chain features its team’s logo. Unlike Miami’s, it looks cheap. And few people are falling in love with it.

Once known for cool uniforms and innovative offense, Oregon is quickly becoming like another former world wide leader ESPN. Both used to be making the jokes and now are becoming the joke.

If I had one superpower….


Full disclosure: I was naive. I thought the proposed federal tax legislation wouldn’t have an impact on local government. I was wrong. My favorite doctor, Dr. Z (Eric Zeemering) highlighted the issue when he tweeted this Washington Post article.

In towns and cities nationwide, fears of trickle-down effects of federal tax legislation

But now, in small towns and thriving cities, in Republican- and Democratic-leaning states, local leaders are warning that the $1.5 trillion tax legislation moving through Congress threatens to undermine their ability to raise money for government services, including police and schools. The Republican measures would eliminate or severely curtail taxpayers’ ability to lower their federal tax bill by deducting the cost of their state and local taxes. Without that offset, local leaders say, taxpayers will begin to seek relief closer to home, potentially making it more difficult to provide basic services.

Shed tears of joy for the Charlotte protester who landed a seat on the city council.

Man in a viral protest photo successfully runs for City Council in Charlotte

As he became more involved, “it became clear that I could play or needed to play some type of leadership or change agent role in the city,” he said. So in June, Winston, whose father was a Marine and whose mother was a school teacher, decided to run for the council.

Rapid fire question…. what’s the best way to make a difference? Lead a non-profit? Work in the public sector? Volunteer at a homeless shelter? Donate your life-savings to ELGL? None of these are the correct. The correct answer is…. becoming an attorney.

After Trump’s election, more students consider law school, hoping to make a difference

Legal educators theorize that one of the major motivators for the recent spike in LSAT takers is Trump’s controversial executive order, issued shortly after his inauguration in January, halting refugee admissions and temporary travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries. Blocked by the courts, Trump issued two subsequent travel bans. This month a California appellate court ruled that parts of the third travel ban could take effect.


“Fire, oh smoke stack lightning, smoke stack lightning….” Now that I got The Cult’s classic song out of my head, let’s focus on the the important issue of fire engines.


Teensy firefighting vehicles are nothing new. In Europe’s medieval streets, smaller vehicles have long been used to fight fires—check out the two-headed 1952 Citroën 2CV used in the southeastern French town of Coglin, or Sweden’s current rapid response vehicles. In Singapore, first responders use the petite Red Rhino, an Isuzu D-Max pickup truck. But those vehicles wouldn’t work in San Francisco. “It’s like wearing ski boots to a dance competition. You’re not going to make it,” says San Francisco Fire Department Assistant Deputy Chief Anthony Rivera. They’re too puny: Each firefighting vehicle must carry 500 gallons of water—better to fight house fires in this wood-frame dominated city—and regularly ascend 22 percent grade hills. They need all the horsepower they can get.

Not-so breaking news! Oregon’s property tax system is broken. California is in a similar position.

The house that sold for nearly $800,000 over asking price speaks to the inequity of California

“Every day, people are on the road for an hour, two hours, each way. We’re wasting so much talent and skill and the disparity in income is just ridiculous,” said Clark. “The government’s job is defense, and building roads and schools. But another part of the government’s job is income distribution and too much of it has gone to the super-wealthy.”


Celebrate good times…. ELGL member & GovLove guest Will Doerfer is the new town manager of Liberty, North Carolina. I met Will at a UNC MPA Conference several years ago and I was immediately impressed by his commitment to making a difference in local government. You might know Will through his appearance on GovLove with Darrin Tangeman where they discussed attracting veterans to local government.

Will earned his new position. He started as an ICMA Fellow working and living in remote Hyde County, NC. For the last couple of years, Will worked for Martin-McGill supporting the grant administration and application efforts for local government units.

Celebrate some more…. ELGL is headed to the ASPA National Conference. Nick Smith, Hannah Lebovits, and others will lead a discussion on collaboration.

November 16

Allow me to be the first one to introduce you to our new social media team.

  • California: Joey Garcia & Libby Bretthauer
  • Mountain: Carly Lorentz & Noor Shaikh
  • Midwest: Sarah Martin-Anderson & Bridget Kozlowski
  • Northeast: Tom Guerino & Nick Smith
  • Northwest: Madison Thesing & Nic Westendorf
  • O-HI-O: Hannah Lebovits & Jennifer Teal
  • Sconnie: Zach Navin
  • Southeast: Chris Floore & Ana Colls
  • Southwest: Matt Yager

Each new tweeter promised to bring the snark and nothing but the snark. This change is a big one for ELGL. Instead of having two or three people manage our Twitter accounts, we’re employing a larger group with unique knowledge about the issues and topics relevant to a specific region.

I love ELGL and I love the Turnover Chain. Thanks to a suggestion from Josh Edwards we’re combining the two into the race for the ELGL Twitter Chain which will be awarded to the account that gains the most followers each week. (The main ELGL account is not eligible to participate.)

Midwest ELGL wears the Twitter Chain for the first week. Next Thursday, we’ll calculate the account that gained the most followers in the last seven days and bestow them the Twitter Chain. Let the games begin….

  • Midwest – 2,265
  • Southeast – 1,799
  • Southwest – 1,706
  • California – 1,467
  • Northwest – 1,199
  • Northeast – 860
  • Ohio – 628
  • Sconnie – 201
  • Mountain – 138

Here’s a sneak peek of the Twitter Chain presentation.


We mentioned the Turnover Chain so we have to mention the Turnover Plank. Kennesaw State is apparently less into jewelry and more into dressing up a piece of wood.

Advantage: Turnover Chain.

The ‘King of Bling’ behind the viral Miami Hurricanes Turnover Chain


Okay, let me see a show of hand of those who listen to the GovLove podcast. Not bad. Now, let me see a show of hands of those who listen to GovLove on 3x speed. This listening strategy to podcasts (not necessarily GovLove) is a “thing” in the podcast world.

Meet the People Who Listen to Podcasts at Super-Fast Speeds

“I have often, when finding out about a new podcast with a large back catalog, made myself a 100-hour-plus playlist to catch up.”

Alright, it’s time for a true confession…. I get my hair cut at Great Clips. Yes my hair looks different every time that the barber is finished. I am paying $15. I wouldn’t expect anything different. In Roanoke, Virginia (probably not at Great Clips), the city is asking barbers and stylists, to play a role in helping northwest Roanoke.

Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea hopes to tap into that propensity for conversations to happen in barbershops and salons that don’t happen other places and use it to address community problems in the city’s northwest neighborhoods.

Monday, Lea called together barbers, stylists and shop owners to talk about the role they can play in reducing problems like gun violence and domestic violence.

“I know that community is better than that,” Lea said. But, “we’re not going to police ourselves out of it.”

Embrace Debate – what is your favorite reality show? Never mind, you don’t have to respond. I already have the answer and it comes in the form of this handy-dandy map.


For some reason the story of Rae Carruth stuck with me from my childhood. Maybe because he was a football player. Maybe because it was a few years before the OJ trial. Whatever the reason, the story was forgotten by most until the Charlotte Observer wrote about the child brought into this world after his father killed his mother.

Rae Carruth’s prison release nears as son he wanted dead turns 18

On Nov. 16, 1999, the son of former Carolina Panther Rae Carruth was supposed to die.

Instead, Chancellor Lee Adams is about to turn 18 years old.

Chancellor Lee will reach this landmark as a gentle young man. He has lived his entire life in Charlotte protected and emboldened by a loving grandmother, Saundra Adams, who has raised him from birth.

I would challenge you to read the article and continue to believe that each of us is born with an equal chance to succeed.


Route Fifty made the decision for us. We follow their lead by honoring ELGL members named to the Navigator List. Pour out a lil’ wine, beer, or mixed drink to our winners.

STACY SCHWEIKHART – show love to Stacy by tweeting her pictures of UNC winning the national championship, Community Relations Director, Kettering, Ohio

REBECCA WOODBURY, Senior Management Analyst, San Rafael, CA

DARRIN TANGEMAN, Chief Adminsitrative Officer, Pueblo West Metropolitan District

KATHY NYLAND, Director, Department of Neighborhoods, Seattle, Washington

An honorary #BigLocalGovBaller awards goes to upcoming GovLove guest, ATLAS MARKETPLACE, San Diego, California.

And I am not done. It was a baller week. Joey Garcia showed the passion that we need in local government.

November 8

What’s better than watching Project Runway? Well, just about anything including straight bloggin’. The new Wyatt family tradition (minus MJ and me) is watching Project Runway. The show is horrible and it’s longer than most movies. So, tonight you are my distraction from this budding family activity.


Let’s get motivated by eating “w’s.” That’s right we are going to down a buffet full of the letter “w.” This apparently is where the #mword generation finds motivation. Next staff meeting replicate this inspiring speech to motivate your employees about local government.

Honestly, I am not sure if I’m hungry or motivated after watching the bizarre rant.


Kent, Kent, tell us how you get to work? Great question. Here’s footage of my arrival to Tigard City Hall.


We’re sad for Hannah but we’re hopeful that she’s motivated others to make a difference by running for elected office or considering local government as a career.

Preach on! We’re hopeful by the uptick in these type of articles.

We need female leaders in government, too

Government and, thus, its C-suite, is uniquely important in every person’s life, unlike any corporation or its C-suite, rendering the executives in government C-suites (and their mentors), particularly important to every business operations, every person who would lead a business, and every business’s clients and customers. The different perspective and life experience women bring to the corporate C-suite, their sisters would bring to the government C-suite.


ELGL members love jobs. You know how I know this? Job postings are always the most clicked links on the ELGL website. You love job postings, job advice, and anything with job in the title. To wet your appetite, we’ve added another venue for learning about job openings. The WhatsApp Job Channel is live. You can join the conversation here.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I am looking for opportunities to advance my career. This experience has been an eye-opener on customer service. Local governments vary greatly in their approach to the hiring process and you (the job seeker) can learn a lot about the hiring organization. My simple, easy advice for any organization is to be thoughtful about your process. It starts with the job announcement. Cities, like the city of Hillsboro, use the job posting as an opportunity to show that they’ve given thought to the position and the responsibilities. They use words like humor, creative, and outside-the-box thinker and avoid bureaucratic jargon.

With increasing competition for employees, a hiring agency should contact candidates shortly after the application deadline to notify them of the selection process. An organization should wait no longer than two weeks to notify applicants on whether they’ve advanced to the interview process. Waiting any longer gives the impression that maybe hiring for this position is not a top priority. Candidates will understand a longer wait time as long as it’s clearly communicated.

In my case, I learned a lot by the lack of effort put into the actual interview — three panels with each asking similar questions and the lack of one-on-one time with the hiring manager. Candidate should leave the interview with a clear understanding of next steps. Yes, this doesn’t always happen. I’ve experienced it firsthand.)

Post-interview, Human Resources should be timely (less than 24 hours) when candidates send an email or call about the status of the process. A timely response, regardless of whether the person sending the email will be offered the position, shows that you respect the candidate’s time.

No one enjoys delivering bad news. I’ve had delivered to me in multiple ways. The worst being a generic letter, closely followed by a two-sentence email. On behalf of job seekers everyone especially those in local government, when someone has interviewed for a position with your organization, notify them with a phone call. I’ll always be appreciative to Scott Lazenby. When we first moved to Oregon, I interviewed for a management-level position with the city of Sandy. I wasn’t selected for the position and Scott notified me of the decision with a phone call. In the phone conversation, I learned the why and how I can position myself for future job opportunities. I would have applied for another position in a heartbeat. I cannot say the same for organization that I mentioned above.


Loyal readers to this column know that I have been skeptical of the value that the League of Oregon Cities (LOC) offers to local governments in the state. Yes, I admit that my view is steeped in the previous LOC Executive Director refusing to let staff join ELGL or attend ELGL events, along with the Executive Director freely badmouthing ELGL in public meetings.

Enough of the negative, I am all-in with hope. I am placing my optimism in Mike Cully, the newly appoint LOC Executive Director. Oregon cities deserve more than they have been getting from the LOC. State associations in Florida, Georgia, Washington, Wisconsin, and elsewhere are strong advocates for local government. These organizations are a strong lobbying force and understand the training needs of local government. We need more from our state association in Oregon. The state lacks a strong School of Government like North Carolina and Georgia. The state lacks a wealthy of MPA programs. The state lacks a reputable organization that provides quality training to elected officials.

It’s my hope that Mike becomes part of the #BigLocalGovBaller family by invigorating the League of Oregon Cities. Show support for Mike by following him on Twitter.

November 5

Wake up, wake up… as part of your membership, you receive an extra hour of ELGL today. My oldest daughter and I awoke at 5:00 a.m this morning. I feel like we’ve been up all day and the clock hasn’t struck 8:00 a.m yet.


#JetsDanceToAnything… let me say it again #JetsDanceToAnything… it’s the best hashtag on Twitter right now and it’s a rabbit hole that you need to head down.

‘Jets Dance to Anything’ is the meme to watch, Charlie Brown

That video is a compilation of songs set to New York Jet players dancing during Thursday’s night game. Here are a couple of the best tweets.


I can’t see you, I can’t see you….


You’ve read in this column before about the troubled racial history of Portland. Vanport is one example. The polluted water of the Willamette River is another. Oregon Humanities magazine spared no detail in describing the environmental injustice surrounding the polluting and subsequent clean up of the river.

A City’s Lifeblood

Many in Portland’s Black community say the cleanup offers a way to reclaim a connection to the Willamette River. That connection began with World War II shipyards and continued over decades spent living along the water and fishing. But the bond suffered as pollution made the fish unsafe and economic changes pushed many African Americans out of neighborhoods near the river. Many say the connection has been lost.

“It all kind of just blends together with all the displacement, the gentrification,” says Alcock, a PHCC member with deep ties to the river. “All of it is just one big old ball.”

There’s a chance that you’ve heard about the “Iowa Wave” in the last few months. Regardless, each new story about the “Iowa Wave” is tear-jerking. It is unfathomable to think about the young children and their families dealing with these life-threatening situations.

The Iowa Wave through a child’s eyes

Will is 6. This is his 295th day at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital – his 44th with a new heart. He’d been up here once before to see the fans at Kinnick Stadium wave in unison to him and the other young patients watching from the windows of the new hospital wing. This time, Will’s wave back to the crowd is bigger, more confident.


The sweet smell of cinnamon…. For decades, the smell permaned suburban shopping malls across the country. Cinnabon stores were enticed you to stop there in between your shopping to purchase one of the fattiest treats in all of fast food. Full disclosure: I would eat cinnamon rolls three times a day if not for the extra lbs. it would add to my Dad Bod.

I am guessing your high school history class did not teach you the origins of Cinnabon. For not, Seattle Magazine has prepared an extensive lecture on our sweet, sticky friend.

Scents from a Mall: The Sticky, Untold Story of Cinnabon

Three decades after its creation in Seattle, the cinnamon roll purveyor maintains a novel sway over our appetites and, thanks to a certain flamboyant, corrupt attorney, some unexpected TV fame.

Today, Cinnabon is headquartered in Atlanta, its Seattle origins now melted into the crevices of its history. But this singular product of 1980s mall culture sprang to life in a test kitchen across the street from Gas Works Park. Its unrepentant decadence remains lodged in our psyche; its relevancy has outlasted arguably less crave-inducing (if equally nutritionally dubious) food court contemporaries like Sbarro or Panda Express or TCBY.


The time is here! Election Day for ELGL member Hannah Lebovits is Tuesday. Hannah is running for University Heights, Ohio City Council. You know Hannah from her GovLove appearance. You can learn more about Hannah from these articles.

Props to Hannah for stepping up to make a difference. We’ll hear some valuables takeaways from Hannah’s campaign in the coming weeks. Just know that she is truly a #BigLocalGovBaller.

Not to be outdone, ELGL has another connection to Election Day. GovLove guest Greg Clay is on the ballot a position on the Atlanta City Council. Greg’s platfrom is spelled out in this article – Candidate Q&A – Greg Clay, Atlanta City Council, District 3