ICMA's Award for Skill in Intergovernmental Relations is awarded to a member who has demonstrated significant success in representing his or her local government's policies at the state and/or federal level in such a way that regulatory or mandate relief is granted or legislative change effected that enables the local jurisdiction to better serve its citizens. This year ICMA presents the award to Bill Podraza, city manager of Lexington, Nebraska.
Recognizing that local concerns inevitably affect other levels of government, Lexington City Manager Bill Podraza unfailingly championed local causes and issues and fostered strong intergovernmental relations among the city, the state of Nebraska, and the federal government.
As a five-year member of the customers committee of Nebraska Public Power Wholesale, Mr. Podraza played a critical role in securing reduced winter/summer electricity rates for citizens in many Nebraska communities. He also was instrumental in establishing a statewide coalition of cities and private parties that addressed the issue of tire disposal and secured a grant for a study to determine the safest way to dispose of waste tires. The study led to the development of state legislation providing for the collection, delivery, and final disposal of over two million waste tires stored throughout the state.
Mr. Podraza also was appointed by Governor Nelson of Nebraska to serve on a committee charged with developing draft legislation for a statewide solid waste management plan. The passing of this legislation not only gained "approved state" status for Nebraska (giving the state authority over the level of federal mandate requirements affecting its communities) but also prompted the development of the Lexington Area Solid Waste Agency, a coalition of local governments that operates a single landfill serving 28 communities. …