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For The Media

A brief summary of ICMA's background and history.

ICMA is the premier local government leadership and management organization. Its mission is to create excellence in local governance by developing and advocating professional management of local government worldwide. ICMA provides member support; publications, data, and information; peer and results-oriented assistance; and training and professional development to more than 8,200 city, town, and county experts and other individuals throughout the world.


ICMA was founded in 1914 as the City Managers’ Association, a professional organization for appointed city managers and administrators. Its purpose was to bring reform and accountability to local governments and to be an advocate for professional management in local government. In 1924, ICMA members expressed their commitment to high standards of conduct by adopting a code of ethics.

ICMA’s origins lie in the development of the council-manager form of local government, which combines the strong professional experience of an appointed local government manager or administrator with the strong political leadership of elected officials in the form of a council, board of selectmen, or other governing body.

The organization changed its name in 1989 to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) to reflect the diversity of its expanding membership. In 2005, as part of its brand revitalization, the organization agreed to go by its four-character abbreviation, ICMA.  

Today ICMA represents 8,000 local government executives and urban experts worldwide. Our members include appointed managers/administrators and assistant managers/administrators serving cities, towns, and counties; directors of state associations of local governments and other local government employees; students and instructors; and other individuals who share the goal of improving local government.

These members have a deep sense of responsibility to the community and to furthering the ICMA mission to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering local government management worldwide.

In addition to our headquarters in Washington, D.C., ICMA has established ICMA México-Latinoamérica in Guadalajara and the ICMA China Center in Beijing in partnership with the China University of Political Science and Law and maintains a long-term presence in South Asia through its relationship with the Urban Management Centre in Ahmedabad, India. The organization also maintains donor-funded field offices for specific projects around the world.

The organization is on its way to becoming the leading authority on leadership and management in the public sector with its publishing and professional development services ICMA Press and ICMA University.  It offers technical assistance and other services to local governments world wide through ICMA International and ICMA Results Networks.

International city/County Management Association

  • 777 North Capitol Street, NE Suite 500
  • Washington, DC 20002-4201
  • 800-745-8780/202-962-3680
  • Fax: 202-962-3500
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