The ICMA Senior Advisor program (formerly Range Rider Program *) is a joint activity of ICMA and state sponsors established by the ICMA Executive Board in 1974 to make the counsel, experience, and support of respected, retired managers of the profession available to members. Currently 81 Senior Advisors in 21 states provide a highly valued service by volunteering their time to offer confidential professional and personal support and advice.
Senior Advisors are retired managers with extensive experience who volunteer their time to provide a unique source of outside advice to their colleagues. They are selected jointly by the state sponsor and the ICMA Executive Director. Although they are expected to be visible, accessible and responsive to members and association needs, Senior Advisors are unpaid volunteers who pursue other activities while in retirement and thus are not “full time.” Expenses incurred are reimbursed and shared by ICMA and the sponsoring state organization. The expenses allocated depend on the size of the state, the number of Senior Advisors and funds available from the sponsors.
Senior Advisors are available to meet periodically with members in their states or areas to discuss the profession and their concerns as members. Discussion topics range from relations with elected officials, overall management questions, relations with ICMA, responses to local controversies such as referenda on the council-manager plan, to career development.
All discussions are on a confidential basis. Senior Advisors are friends, colleagues, and advisors to the profession—not consultants. The Senior Advisor program is designed to help with personal and professional issues, not to provide technical assistance or solve substantive problems in a local government. However, Senior Advisors may consult with local governments as individuals, on a part-time basis, as long as the consulting does not impair the effectiveness of the Senior Advisors. Senior Advisor guidelines contain advice for Senior Advisors who do part-time consulting.
Senior Advisors may also help communities interested in creating a professional local government management position, including adoption of council-manager government.
Members with questions on the Senior Advisor program can contact Senior Advisor Program Coordinator Greg Bielawski at 630/462-1876 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
*2013-2014 Program Review
In April 2013, ICMA Executive Director Bob O'Neill appointed a 2014 Advisory Committee to celebrate 40 years of the Range Rider Program and to enhance its value to ICMA members and to state associations in the second century of ICMA.
The Advisory Committee was composed of key stakeholders: Senior Advisors (formerly Range Riders), state secretariats and state leaders from the states with programs, and other members served by the program, such as former MITs and first time administrators in those states. The Committee engaged Senior Advisors and state sponsors in the development of the recommendations. The Committee’s recommendations to “refresh” the program for the future were approved by the ICMA Executive Board in February 2014.
A number of the recommendations reinforced current guidelines. Recommendations for change or greater clarity included encouraging terms and periodic reviews for Senior Advisors in order to ensure continued vibrancy and effectiveness, making non-CAOs eligible for appointment as Senior Advisors, modifying the conflict of interest guidelines to allow more members engaged in part-time consulting to serve in the program, a statement of policy to clarify any Senior Advisor involvement in manager placement work, and steps to foster performance and accountability for all three parties to the program, Senior Advisors, state sponsors and ICMA. The recommendations also included a change in the name from Range Riders to Senior Advisors to better describe the role and its primary emphasis on providing members with advice and support. Those members who were serving ICMA under the title of Senior Advisors have become ICMA Liaisons to better describe their role serving as ICMA representatives to state associations and other groups. This change in titles became effective at the 2014 ICMA Annual Conference.
Senior Advisor program materials have been revised to incorporate these recommendations and Senior Advisors and state sponsors are being contacted about next steps.