Ron Ruthven, an ICMA member since 2009 and a graduate of the Leadership ICMA class of 2012, has been with the city of Colleyville, Texas, since 2007, where he is currently director of community development. He served as the interim public works director in Colleyville, 2007–08, and prior to that, he served as a planner in both the cities of Irving, Texas, 1997–2007, and New Braunfels, Texas, 1995–97. Ruthven has a bachelor’s of arts degree in geography from Texas State University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Ruthven has been busy as the director of community development updating the city of Colleyville’s master plan by creating a new comprehensive plan. “From a management perspective, the plan will refresh the city’s long-term goals and create a new system of accountability to the plan’s goals and objectives. Plan implementation will be tracked through the city’s existing strategic plan and five-year capital improvements plan with all future budget priorities mapped to a specific plan goal or objective. As this process will be new to the organization and community, it will reinforce long-term community and organizational sustainability, and will serve as a major milestone in organizational process improvements implemented in 2009.”
When asked what ICMA and public service meant to him, Ruthven chose the following quote by Margaret Chase Smith: “My creed is that public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation with full recognition that every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration, that constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought, that smears are not only to be expected but fought, that honor is to be earned, not bought.”
“The above quote to me sums up what public service is all about and how important an organization like ICMA is to those of us who have decided to dedicate our lives to this calling,” according to Ruthven. The quote is especially relevant in today’s world of local government, where, “Doing more with less has never been more important. Although the national economy has improved of late, local governments are faced with long-term budget challenges that include more unfunded mandates; little to no appetite for tax increases; shrinking revenue options; and technological, demographic, and social changes that will have profound impacts on the ability of local governments to effectively deliver public services. Therefore, it is imperative that local government administrators do whatever is necessary to help our communities to be able to adapt on the fly, deliver a more sustainable government model, and to think outside the box.”
He also views these challenges as opportunities “to break the status quo, think differently, and evaluate new and better ways to serve our communities. Within this landscape, we need ICMA more than ever. ICMA provides administrators with a valuable reservoir of resources, a clearinghouse of great ideas, and a powerful, close-knit network of professionals. Having been a practicing urban planner for 18 years, I have found that the relationships forged, ideas gathered, and the global perspective that ICMA provides to be priceless in my growth, both as a leader and as a public servant.”