Iowa Local Government Professionals

Iowa City / County Management Association

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The University of Iowa’s Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) is pleased to announce the release of its Request for Proposals for community partners. The RFP seeks responses from municipal, county or regional governments, non-profit groups, or a collection of communities with similar characteristics, such as watersheds, economic or cultural districts, or a transportation corridor to partner with IISC during the 2018 – 2019 academic year to complete projects that promote and enhance the quality of life in Iowa communities.

IISC is a campus-wide engaged learning program at the University of Iowa that partners with communities and groups across Iowa to develop projects that university students and faculty can complete through their academic and research activities. Since IISC’s development in 2009, there have been 16 community partnerships across the state, and more than 140 projects that have contributed significantly to the advancement of partnering communities’ economic, social, and environmental sustainability. More information about the IISC and the benefits of partnering with IISC can be found at,

IISC encourages anyone interested in learning more to reach out to learn more about applying to be an IISC community partner for the 2018 – 2019 academic year. The RFP contains detailed information about the application process. Responses are due by February 1, 2018.

Travis Kraus 
Assistant Director, Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities
OFFICE OF THE PROVOST | Office of Outreach & Engagement
The University of Iowa | 787 Van Allen Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242
319.335.2798 | |

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Chelsea Huisman receives ICMA’s credential manager candidate recognition

Chelsea Huisman, City Administrator for the City of Center Point, recently received the Credentialed Manager candidate designation from ICMA, the International City/County Management Association. Ms. Huisman is one of over 1,400 local government management professionals currently credentialed through the ICMA Voluntary Credentialing Program.

As the City Administrator for the City of Center Point for four years after serving in the City of Griswold for two years, Chelsea has completed both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Public Administration and is actively involved in the Iowa City / County Manager’s Association.

Highlights of Chelsea’s almost seven years of local government executive experience and ICMA membership include: IaCMA’s 2014 emerging leader of the year recipient and her continued service to the profession on the IaCMA awards committee (since March 2017), and the Institute of Public Affairs advisory board (since January 2016).

Chelsea is passionate about getting more young people involved in local government, and says there just aren’t enough professionals coming through the pipeline. “I feel that we are obligated to teach people, both new and seasoned about the credentialing program, as I believe the program can make us all better local government managers”, added Huisman.

ICMA’s mission is to create excellence in local governance by promoting professional management worldwide and increasing the proficiency of appointed chief administrative officers, assistant administrators, and other employees who serve local governments and regional entities around the world. The organization’s nearly 10,000 members in 27 countries also include educators, students, and other local government employees.

To receive the prestigious ICMA credential, a member must have significant experience as a senior management executive in local government; have earned a degree, preferably in public administration or a related field; and demonstrated a commitment to high standards of integrity and to lifelong learning and professional development.

For more information regarding the ICMA Voluntary Credentialing Program, contact Jenese Jackson at ICMA, 777 North Capitol Street, N.E., #500, Washington, D.C. 20002-4201;; 202-962-3556.

Please congratulate Chelsea Husiman on her work and recognition as an ICMA Credentialed Manager Candidate


News for newly elected officials

Following this month’s elections many new people will join the ranks of city officials. A few quick notes to help get ready for these new city officials:

  • Register for the Municipal Leadership Academy. This important training for both new and experienced city officials covers city budgets, effective city councils and meetings and an overview of city operations and legal issues. MLA Part One will be presented at the following locations: Fairfield (November 16), Emmetsburg (November 18), Carroll (November 29), Corning (November 30), Cedar Rapids (December 2), Waverly (December 7) and Altoona (December 9). Use the link above to register. Late fees for the first two locations have been waived.
  • An elected official who does not want to be covered by the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS) must complete an Election for Termination of IPERS Coverage form and submit it to IPERS within 60 days of taking office. If IPERS does not receive a properly completed form within 60 days, the elected official must be IPERS-covered. For IPERS’ purposes, “elected officials” are people elected by the public and those who are appointed for an interim period to fill vacant positions that normally are elected.
  • Iowa Code 21.10 requires information about open meetings and open records to be provided to governmental bodies. The League has numerous resources at our Web site’s Publication Section that can help inform elected officials about these laws including a straightforward Open Meetings Desk Reference (requires League Login).
  • Other items on the League Web sites of particular interest to new city officials:

Oath of Office and Public Official Bonding (requires League Login)

Advice for Newly Elected Officials (requires League Login)

As always, feel free to contact the League should you have any questions.

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IaCMA Newsletter Information October 2017

Aaron Burnett receives IaCMA’s Manager of the Year Award

Excepted from award nomination

This year’s recipient is Aaron Burnett of Keokuk and he was nominated for this honor by a city council member; she stated on the nomination form that “his can-do attitude and enthusiasm are contagious…with a positive effect on our council and the city of Keokuk in general.”

Aaron hit the ground running when he accepted his position in the fall of 2015. He spearheaded a large effort to demolish vacant and dilapidated buildings while securing new infill development projects; he has also assisted in securing more than $2 million in grants and Aaron Burnettrefinanced existing debt saving more than $1 million.

With his help, the city is starting to turn the tide of out-migration and disinvestment in the community. Young people, business and families are moving back or coming to the city for the first time and finding it to be a good fit for them. His attitude has inspired greater community-wide efforts to promote growth and investment.

Congratulations to Aaron Burnett for his work as a City Administrator and for receiving the Iowa City/County Management Association’s Manager of the Year Award!

Please congratulate Aaron on his work and recognition as the 2017 IaCMA Manager of the Year.

The Iowa City/County Management Association’s Annual Manager of the Year Award honors chief administrators whose accomplishments and superior work performance represent the best possible application of management principles and whose creative contributions to professional local government management increases public awareness of the value of professional management to the quality of life in our communities.
 To be considered for the Manager of the Year Award, the chief administrator must be a full (voting) IaCMA member.  Candidates must be employed as the chief appointed administrative officer in a municipality.  Candidates must have overall management responsibility and be appointed or confirmed by the legislative body, the elected chief executive and/or the chief appointed administrative officer.

The Association’s past award recipients include:
2007       Mike Van Milligen- Dubuque
2008       Jim Prosser- Cedar Rapids
2009       Carol Ann Diekema- Monroe
2010       Jeff Mark- Altoona
2011       Bill Daily- Belle Plaine
2012       Tom Brownlow- Charles City
2013       Jim Ferneau- Burlington
2014       Elizabeth Hansen – Nevada
2015       Jessica Kinser – Clinton
2016       Jeff Pomeranz – Cedar Rapids

A message from Jeff Schott and the Institute of Public Affairs

IMMI to be held in 2018

At the Iowa League of Cities conference last week, a number of city managers/administrators (aware of my impending retirement) expressed their concern to me whether the Iowa Municipal Management Institute (IMMI) would be held next year.

Rest assured – IMMI will be held March 14 – 16, 2018, in Iowa City. In fact, the program for the conference is already almost completely set.  Conference registration and hotel information will be sent out  shortly after the first of the year.

In a related matter, I had originally planned to retire in January 2018 but I have decided to delay my retirement until May after IMMI and after the third round of the Municipal Leadership Academy sessions.  This means that the Institute of Public Affairs (and I) are still available through April to provide services and programs for cities and local governments:  council goal setting, strategic planning, organizational effectiveness, board and commission training, citizen surveys, local government management training and other related programs.  Please contact me or our Program Coordinator Julie Collins If you are interested in scheduling a session or if you have any questions.

I look forward to seeing you all at IMMI next March.


Jeff Schott
Director, Institute of Public Affairs
The University of Iowa
124 Grand Avenue Court
Iowa City, IA 52240
Office:  319-335-7586
Cell:  319-329-6207

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City managers in the news.

The North Iowa regional group held a lunch in Clear Lake on Friday, August 25. There were several managers in attendance, one even rode his motorcycle (Curt). Senior Advisor Dick Hierstein provided a brief update on news from around the region and each member in attendance noted something going on in their city.

There was good conversation about supporting one another and sharing uplifting bits from our collective experiences. Brent Trout noted he was leaving Mason City for Topeka, KS by the end of October. Congratulations and best wishes Brent.

Update on IaCMA memberships:

  • Year-to-date 2017 membership is 174
  • 205 Members in 2016
  • 23 members have joined in 2017 that were not members in 2016
Memberships keep our association strong
           There are several direct benefits that your membership helps provide; Two annual meetings which help educate those in attendance on timely topics such as economic development, ethics and diversity in the workplace. Another benefit is the personal aid and development assistance provided to members in transition and those dealing with personal problems and crisis. Membership also includes access to the IaCMA Grapevine. A listserve that enables members to contact peers about issues of mutual interest and concern.
           A less tangible benefit, yet equally important, is the opportunity to meet and associate with your peers throughout the state. A regional support network has been established to guarantee membership provided assistance starts in your own backyard and continues from border to border. Chances are that your problems have already been experienced elsewhere and, therefore, solutions are just a phone call away. As a member, you will get to know your colleagues on both a personal and professional basis.

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Iowa League of Cities annual conference and exhibit – September 27-29, Davenport

Please consider joining us for the Iowa League of Cities Annual Conference & Exhibit. This year’s conference will take place September 27-29 in Davenport. The wide variety of educational workshops and networking events geared toward elected and appointed city officials draw hundreds each year. There is still time for you and your elected officials to register for this exciting training event. More than 40 workshops are scheduled for the conference. Here’s just a few that will be of particular interest to city managers and city administrators, many of which will be presented by IaCMA members:

Economic Development is a Team Effort
Intentional Transformation of Your City
Using Urban Renewal Tools to Promote Growth
What City Officials Need to Know About the ADA
Intergovernmental Collaboration Success Stories
Working Together and Using Legal Strategies to Address Difficult Citizens, Employees and Properties
Additional Information and Registration

Also during the League Conference, IaCMA will have a reception to announce the Manager of the Year Award winner (nomination forms are due August 15). This reception will occur at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 28, 2017; the event will be held at Me & Billy- Kitchen and Bar (200 West 3rd Street, Davenport).

See you in Davenport!

Mark Tomb
Director of Membership Services
Iowa League of Cities

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IaCMA Newsletter Information July 2017

2017 Emerging Leader Award – Angie Charipar

Excerpted from award nomination

The IaCMA’s Emerging Leader Award is presented to a local government and the chief administrator or assistant chief administrator in recognition of his/her innovate and successful programs.

Angie-Charipar_CaptionedThe 2017 award recipient has been with the city of Cedar Rapids since 2009 and promoted to Assistant to the City Manager in March 2013.

Angie’s responsibilities include serving as the City’s legislative representative, monitoring progress of legislation and regulations, working with state and federal legislators to secure funding and policy initiatives favorable to the City of Cedar Rapids and developing legislative agenda for the Mayor and Council.

In addition to her legislative work, Angie provides management support for projects and programs for the City Manager, coordinates special projects and programs, City-wide activities involving multiple departments and / or outside organizations, and researches and brings to resolution administrative and municipal issues, and manages requests requiring interdepartmental coordination.

In her role as the Assistant to the City Manager, Angie has had the opportunity to make significant contributions to the City of Cedar Rapids and the Cedar Rapids community. Internally, Angie is leading an organization health initiative, a major professional employee development opportunity following teachings of author Patrick Lencioni. She has managed a nearly two-year effort to train city directors and managers in the principles of organizational health, meeting management, and teambuilding.

For the community, Angie has worked diligently to secure flood protection funding, both from Congress at the federal level working closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, our congressional offices, the Office of Management and Budget, and the White House, and also with the Iowa State Legislature, resulting in a $270 million grant award to Cedar Rapids.

Angie also serves as the city staff representative on the board of the convention and visitor’s bureau, GoCR!. In this role, she has successfully led a search for a new executive director, restructuring of staff, diversification of funding sources, and for GoCR to take on a new and exciting role of leading the production of large local events to build vibrancy and excitement within Cedar Rapids.

In Angie’s short tenure as Assistant to the City Manager, she has made an extraordinary impact on Cedar Rapids, serving citizens in their neighborhoods, building a greater community for at-rick populations, and making downtown an even more beautiful place. Her work has made a mark on the community.

Angie is a graduate from the University of Iowa with a BA in Political Science. She spent ten years in Congressman Jim Leach’s office and then worked for AEGON as their political action committee grassroots manager.

Please join in recognizing our 2017 Emerging Leader Award winner, Angie Charipar.

Congratulations Angie!

City of Des Moines and City Manager Scott Sanders recognized for IaCMA’s Program of the Year Award.


Excerpted from award nomination

“Speak Up DSM” named Program of the Year

The Problem

The City of Des Moines’ Council recently adopted a strategic plan with a new organizational mission:

“To be a financially strong city with exceptional municipal services, in a customer friendly manner with an involved community – residents and businesses”

For the last decade, the City of Des Moines has held a number of in-person meetings regarding the budget, but the same handful of residents were always the only individuals in the audience and staff always outnumbered participants. The process wasn’t effective and staff knew they needed to find a way to meet residents where they were, in order to successfully own the new mission.

The Solution

SpeakUpDSM is a new ongoing commitment to empower Des Moines residents by distributing information on various planning or budget issues, sharing limitations and asking for input to help solve the issues.

In 2016-2017, the City of Des Moines hosted six public meetings regarding the City’s $600M budget, broadcasted live on Facebook, Twitter and their local government cable channel. There was live mobile polling available for online viewers as well as in person attendees and surveys developed for those who couldn’t attend but wanted to participate. After each public meeting and survey time had lapsed, findings were posted on the City’s webpage and attendees were emailed a synopsis of the feedback received.

What was found, is that given information and opportunity, residents were more than willing to help and desired to stay connected to their local government.  City Departments are looking forward to finding more effective uses of staff time in public meetings to ensure that critical feedback is collected from residents even if they aren’t willing or able to attend a physical public meeting.


There were costs involved in this process, but the return on investment was significant.

Poll Everywhere Software $499.00
Two-hour LIVE broadcast meeting $955.00
–          Facebook LIVE
–          Local Channel LIVE
–          Twitter LIVE
Facility use Free
Refreshments $100.00
Total $1,554.00

 The Results

SpeakUp DSM has been so successful that it is being expanded to other planning efforts within the City of Des Moines in the coming months.

Public engagement increased 400%

Social media audiences grew 23%

Website traffic increased 79% from 1,959 visits during the 2016 budget season to 3,515 visits in 2017 season.

More than 10,000 residents were reached with 2,458 unique viewers and 300 engagements.

Feedback from the community has been positive. One resident recently posted via Facebook that the City of Des Moines should evaluate Facebook Live streaming more public meetings.

This effort enabled a passionate segment of the community to come together and demonstrate the importance of cycling in Des Moines. More than 130 people attended one of the Town Hall meetings to voice their support of a new position being considered to oversee bicycle facilities and planning. The outpouring of support for this position via SpeakUp DSM was so resounding that the Des Moines City Council included it in their approved FY17-18 budget. Not only does this show the effectiveness of community engagement, it also demonstrates the follow-through of the City Council using public input to make difficult budgetary decisions.

Lessons Learned

This technology is quickly becoming the new standard for community engagement in the work done at the City of Des Moines. Staff learned that their community is ready to engage given the opportunity and that it is paramount to remove every possible barrier for this process to be most effective. Not all of the residents are technologically inclined, but that was okay as long as an alternative means for input was provided.

Equipping local organizations with a concise focus to advocate for events can have rippling effects without maximizing staff time. Leverage your community relationships and encourage them to work with you to get the word out.

Always note the return on investment– track all metrics (viewers/ clicks/web hits/ attendees/etc).

Follow UpResidents/Attendees always want to know what staff is going to do with the information collected or what the cumulative response was to the surveys. Share the information and continue to find ways to keep them engaged.

Congratulations City of Des Moines for an outstanding new program!

To be considered for the Program of the Year Award, the local government’s chief administrator must be a full (voting) IaCMA member.  Each program nomination must be independent and cannot be a component of another program.  Eligible programs must be:
  • Administered under the authority of one or more governmental entities, with only limited outside assistance from experts/consultants
  • Currently be in operation and have been fully implemented within the last 3 years.
  • Must demonstrate tangible results

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IaCMA Summer Conference – 2017

IaCMA Summer Conference-Registration and Hotel Information
The Summer Conference will occur at the Honey Creek Resort State Park on Rathbun Lake- July 12-14, 2017. Additional conference information, including a conference agenda, can be found on the IaCMA website. There you will also find an online registration option that accepts credit card payments. To use this option, you will need to login using your League website account information. There is also a paper registration option at the link included above. Full conference registration is $155 for IaCMA members and $175 for non-members. Below you will find information regarding hotel reservations, please note that the room block expires early this year (June 13).

Hotel Reservations
Honey Creek Resort State Park on Rathbun Lake
12633 Resort Dr, Moravia, IA 52571
Special rates have been negotiated for the Iowa City/County Management Association Summer Conference. Reservations can be made by calling 641-724-9100; referencing ICMA. Room rates under the block start at $109. Room block expires June 13.

The Iowa City/County Management Association will provide three complimentary registrations for the 2017 IaCMA Summer Conference. If you are interested in being considered for a stipend, please send a very brief request with your name, title, city and whether you have attended a previous IaCMA Summer Conference. Priority will be given to those members attending their first conference but all members are encouraged to apply including those that have already registered. Please send information to by Noon on Monday, June  5. Decisions will be made within a week of the deadline.