This is the third in my series of updates on ICMA activities. As I am sure is true with your own communities, we on staff have been busy these past few weeks with budget preparations and other initiatives.
FY 2019 Budget
ICMA staff have been busy working on the FY 2019 budget for final approval at the May 31-June 3 ICMA Executive Board meeting in Montreal.
Given our commitment to building a “best-in-class” organization of excellence from the inside out, we approached the budgeting process differently this year. Rather than viewing the budget as a numbers exercise, we began by envisioning what “best in class” means for ICMA as an organization and for each of our business teams. This established an aspirational tone for the budgeting process. We first identified FY2019 revenues, and each business team determined how those resources could be allocated effectively, while being mindful of our Envision ICMA priorities, to move closer to the vision of "best in class."
The energy during this process was palpable as each business team made their budget presentations built on this new approach. It is an example of the kind of changes we are making from within the organization to impact the quality of our products and services to members.
New Learning Management System
On May 1, we switched from a webinar technology platform to a new, state-of-the-art learning management system for webinars, online certificate programs, and e-courses. We launched this new system with a complimentary member webinar focused on our recent CAO Salary Survey results, which attracted roughly 200 registrants and featured a tutorial on the new system. On May 2, we launched the “Effective Supervisory Practices” webinar series on the new platform, and new modules of the “Local Government 101” online certificate program will go live in June.
To pursue new opportunities that enhance our value to members, as well as provide new revenue sources for ICMA, we will launch “The ICMA Marketplace” this summer. The ICMA Marketplace is a local government product and service directory developed in partnership with GovBliss.com. This online platform will be a part of ICMA.org and will offer users a searchable database of initially more than 1,600 products in 10 categories from a wide range of vendors. Product listings will include information on cooperative purchasing agreements, references, geographic location, minority- and women-owned business enterprises, pricing, contacts, product descriptions, and ICMA Strategic Partners. As an added benefit, members will be able to request information “incognito” to avoid direct contact with vendors, if desired.
A group of ICMA members, including ICMA President David Johnstone and ICMA Past President Lee Feldman, and ICMA staff (David Grossman, Ellen Foreman, and Daniet Moges), flew to China in April to attend the annual conference of the State Administration for Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA). SAFEA is the administrative agency of the State Council of the People's Republic of China that is responsible for certifying foreign experts to provide expertise in mainland China. While in China, the ICMA group visited our local partners in Beijing, Qingdao, and Xi’an. The ICMA brand is well established in China, and there is much interest in pursuing various opportunities there.
Public Infrastructure Financing Partnership
Approaches to public infrastructure financing at the local level is an issue that faces many of our global members since funding from the national level for key infrastructure projects is often limited. There are opportunities—including several identified during the trip to China—for ICMA to engage as a thought leader in this global space by providing training to our members, sharing best practices, and working directly with the local governments to identify and secure funding for infrastructure projects. Staff will continue to explore opportunities in the infrastructure finance area that will position ICMA as a leader in this field.
I hope you found this update useful. As always, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments or questions.
Executive Director, ICMA