Magazine article Public Management

How Do You Stay Involved with and Helpful (but Not Annoying!) to Elected Officials?

Magazine article Public Management

How Do You Stay Involved with and Helpful (but Not Annoying!) to Elected Officials?

Article excerpt

BRENDA GUNN, ICMA-CM

City Administrator

La Vista, Nebraska

bgunn@cityofiavista.org

I am fortunate to work in a community with a great group of elected officials who place considerable trust in me and the La Vista staff. Our elected officials are not at city hall full time, so it is essential that our communication be effective and efficient.

I meet with the mayor weekly and have regular phone conversations with him. We also do our best to ensure that all council-members receive the same information at the same time.

I advocate face-to-face meetings, and at least two formal meetings are scheduled annually with each council-member. 1 always make myself available to the elected officials whenever necessary and provide them with written monthly briefings.

I also encourage them to interact regularly with key staff members, so someone is always available to help them.

OLIVER CHI

City Manager

Monrovia, California

ochi@ci.monrovia.ca.us

Here are two strategies I have found to be universally effective when it comes to interacting with elected officials.

First, it has been most helpful when I tailor my interfaces in a manner that best fits with each individual's unique style. To that end, I spend more time listening to their opinions than I do sharing mine, and I work to implement distinct communication strategies in a customized manner based on specific preferences.

In that manner, rather than have a standardized interaction pattern that best fits my needs, I work to implement separate communication systems that best align with individual partialities.

The other universal strategy I have found to be effective is really quite simple and that is to always keep your word. Do what you say you are going to do and follow through all the time.

JEANEEN CLAUSS WITT

Town Manager

Ponce Inlet, Florida

jwitt@ponce-inlet. …

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