ICMA Membership Positions
From time to time, the ICMA membership votes on a policy position. Matters taken to the membership for a vote are first considered and approved by the ICMA Executive Board.
ICMA Executive Board
The ICMA Executive Board may vote on specific policy matters as issues arise that are important to the profession, define key principles, address strategic issues, or involve matters on which the National League of Cities (NLC) or National Association of Counties (NACo) may not have taken a position. Once positions are approved, the ICMA Executive Director or designee relies on those positions as a guide to approving policy letters that may be sent to Congress or the Administration. The ICMA Executive Board has established a standing committee of members to stay abreast of current and emerging policy issues.
The Governmental Affairs and Policy Committee (GAPC) is integral to the fulfillment of one of the leadership strategies in ICMA's Strategic Plan: "Become more engaged in contributing to the public policy arena as it relates to local government."
ICMA's GAPC meets twice yearly, once at the annual conference and once in March, in conjunction with NLC's and NACO's annual conferences. Staff also supports the committee through e-mail updates, blogs, and phone calls. The term for ICMA members is three-years by presidential appointment. The GAPC leadership (chair and vice chair) will comprise a state director and an ICMA board member.
The GAPC regularly communicates information and issues back to the ICMA membership to alert members of timely issues. Committee volunteers agree to participate in at least 80 percent of committee meetings and conference calls, or withdraw from the committee.
Positions taken by the GAPC do not require board approval as long as they adhere to the following operational parameters or limitations approved by the board in September 1999 and revised in September 2000:
- GAPC positions will not violate the ICMA Code of Ethics;
- GAPC positions will be consistent with positions of NLC and NACo, unless positions are approved by the ICMA Board of Directors;
- GAPC positions are to be consistent with ICMA's strategic plan;
- GAPC will not take positions on specific state or regional issues.
ICMA invites state municipal league and county association directors that are also ICMA members to participate in GAPC as the steering arm of the committee. These directors hold permanent seats on GAPC until they leave membership, leave their league positions, or voluntarily resign. This has the following benefits for the GAPC:
- Adds consistency of mission and task to the committee;
- Strengthens ties with NLC and NACo. State directors are involved in those organizations and as such will be in tune with their legislative agendas. In addition, league and association directors are well respected within NACo and NLC and can astutely communicate the perspective that ICMA brings to discussions;
- Strengthens GAPC as an early-alert mechanism in communicating critical legislative and policy issues back to ICMA membership through the GAPC.
NLC has approved ICMA members sitting on their policy steering committees. ICMA has representatives who serve on NLC's 7 policy steering committees.
The ICMA Executive Director and the committee, under the direction of the chair, vice-chair and state directors, annually select up to four key policy topics where ICMA can bring an important perspective to bring to the issue. The white papers are distributed to the ICMA membership, the media, state leagues and associations, and the Big 7 organizations of state and local governments.
The most useful papers for the state and local organizations are ones in which they do not currently have research papers or other materials to assist them in framing policy issues. Other white papers should significantly position ICMA as a leader and innovator in local government leadership and management.
White papers have recently been published on emergency management, telecommunications, economic stimulus and metrics, and immigration.