ICMA / Career Network / Students & Teachers / Why Local Government?

Why Consider a Career in Local Government?

As a whole generation of Baby-Boomers begins to retire, we in local government are searching for energetic learning-oriented younger workers and talented second- or third-career older workers.  Public service is a wonderfully fulfilling career for a number of reasons:

1. Meaningful, challenging work

Local government service is inherently meaningful because our work is related to building and improving communities.  Police officers, fire fighters, paramedics and building inspectors keep us safe.  Engineers and public works staff build and re-build the physical infrastructure.  City and county planners help envision and shape future City growth.  Recreation, arts & culture and library professionals enhance community life.  City and county management takes the aspirations of residents and the policy goals of the elected governing board and puts those aspirations and goals into action.

Public service at the local level is also fulfilling because employees see the fruits of their labors.  On a daily basis, local government employees see street and other infrastructure improvements, new buildings coming out of the ground, safety improvements, and happier and more fulfilled children, families and senior citizens.

Public service at the local level is also challenging work.  The efforts of local government workers happens in the context of local government where everyone gets to participate; everyone has a say.

Every day presents new challenges, new problems, and lots of stimuli. 

2. Financial Benefits

Local government service offers salaries that are now competitive with the private sector and benefits that are often better.  Public agencies need employees with all kinds of talents, skills and occupational interests.  Below are samples of positions (and the current salary) offered by an average small- to mid-sized City or County:

 Position  Salary
 Account Specialist $53,196
 Manager, IT $106,787
 City Planner $80,811
 Recreation Supervisor $101,379
 Police Officer $74,534
 Engineer $89,895
 Fire Fighter $73,195
 Building Inspector  $74,727
 Administrative Assistant $60,112
 Utility Lineperson/Cable splicer $84,886
 Sr. Water Systems Operator $78,733
 Librarian $57,695

As you can see, local government offers employment in many, many disciplines.

3. Steady Demand for Services

Another reason to consider local government is that the public needs, wants and demands services.  No one asks local government to reduce libraries, police or fire services, public works, utilities, recreation or other programs.

While local government may have to cut programs from time-to-time because tax or other revenues decline, the demand for services is quite steady.

4. Learning Abounds

Local governments operate in a very dynamic environment.  Changing citizen demands, new federal and state laws and regulations, technology advances, demographic changes, new value trends, and other societal forces soon make technical skills obsolete.  Consequently, local governments need agile learners who are eager to pick up new ways of doing business or delivering services.  Simply put, we are looking for young people and second- and third-career people who provide "learn-how" as well as "know-how" to our public organizations.

5. Plenty of Opportunities

Again, longtime Baby-Boomer employees (born 1946-1964) are now retiring.  Local government needs a new generation of younger workers as well as those considering second or third careers.  Consider local government if:

  • You want meaningful and challenging work
  • You want to make a difference and build and improve communities
  • You want a competitive salary and good benefits
  • You are interested in learning.

Come join us in making a difference in your own backyard!