The ICMA Range Rider program was established by the ICMA Executive Board in 1974 to make the counsel, experience, and support of respected, retired managers of the profession available to city and county managers and administrators. Range Riders are retired managers with extensive experience who volunteer their time to provide a unique source of outside counsel to their colleagues. There are currently 75 Range Riders in 22 states.
Range Riders are available to meet periodically with members in their states or areas to discuss the profession and concerns of managers. Discussion topics range from problems with mayors and councils, overall management questions, relations with ICMA, responses to local controversies such as referenda on the council-manager plan, to career development counseling.
All discussions are confidential. Range Riders are friends, colleagues, and counselors to the profession—not consultants. The Range Rider program is designed to help with personal and professional issues, not to provide technical assistance or solve substantive problems in a local government. Range Riders also help communities interested in adopting or retaining council-manager government. However, Range Riders may consult with local governments as individuals, on a part-time basis, as long as the consulting does not impair the effectiveness of the Range Rider. Range Rider guidelines contain advice for Range Riders who do part-time consulting.
One other distinction should be made. The term Range Rider is sometimes confused with circuit rider. Circuit riders or shared administrators are paid professionals who serve more than one community. They may not have the full responsibilities of a city manager but they provide technical assistance and often provide overall management services.
Range Riders are not compensated and the program is designed to expect from the Range Riders only the time they feel comfortable donating to the profession—usually a few days per month. Only expenses are reimbursed.
Range Riders are selected jointly by the ICMA Executive Director and the managers' state association. Expenses are shared by ICMA and the sponsoring state organization. The amount of expenses allocated depends on the size of the state, the number of Range Riders, and funds available from the sponsors.
In September 2012, California leadership undertook a thorough review of the Range Rider program and approved an update to the California Range Rider Program Guidelines.
Members with questions on the Range Rider program can contact Betsy Sherman, ICMA Member Services Director, at email@example.com, 202/962-3612, or Greg Bielawski, ICMA Senior Advisor/Range Rider Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org 630/462-1876.