ICMA COO Appointed Charlotte City Manager

Ron Carlee begins work as the city's top appointed executive on April 1.


On March 22, ICMA will bid farewell to Ron Carlee, who currently serves as the organization’s chief operating officer/executive in residence. Carlee will return to local government as the newly appointed city manager of Charlotte, North Carolina (population 751,000), on April 1.

During his ICMA tenure, Carlee worked with Executive Director Bob O’Neill to guide ICMA staff through the recession and help the organization rebound with two strong years of financial performance. He also worked with the ICMA teams responsible for launching the Knowledge Network, the revised Leadership Matters e-newsletter, the new ICMA Smartbrief, the Life, Well Run public awareness campaign, and the ICMA 100th Anniversary website. He helped position the organization for the future by working with ICMA staff to acquire a new core business technology, expand the use of technology and social media, and make ICMA employee benefits more competitive.

Carlee notes that he particularly enjoyed working with the library community, “especially the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, both of which are dedicated to expanding the impact of libraries to build communities consistent with the ICMA vision.  It was also a treat to partner with Toyo University in Tokyo and conduct workshops on the value of professional management.”

Overall, the best part of the job, according to Carlee, was working with ICMA members, either directly or through the ICMA team. He added that both ICMA’s members and staff are a committed group of individuals who are focused on the mission of improving the quality of life in communities worldwide. He concluded: “I am fortunate to be able to continue being part of the ICMA community.”

Prior to joining ICMA in November 2009, Carlee served more than 30 years in local government, holding a number of diverse, senior executive positions, including manager of Arlington County, Virginia (2001–2009).  Carlee is widely recognized within the local government management profession for his leadership in Arlington County’s response to the 9–11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon. He has spoken widely on the topic of emergency management and the importance of a networked approach to emergency response and recovery.

Carlee is originally from Birmingham, Alabama, where he began his career in local government as assistant to the mayor in 1975. He earned a doctorate in public administration from George Mason University in 1995; a master’s in urban studies from the University of Alabama in 1979; and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Montevallo, Alabama, in 1975. Carlee was inducted as a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration in 2006.

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