For a number of years dating back to the 1970s, ICMA’s leadership has been wrestling with ways of improving the diversity and inclusivity of our association, particularly in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and age. This ongoing focus is reflective of changing demographics and the desire to serve the needs of those who are local government leaders and those who aspire to leadership roles in local government. The September issue of PM includes a supplement that, among other topics, covered the many programs developed by ICMA over the past five decades in support of this objective.
Strategic Plan Prioritizes Diversity
The ICMA Strategic Plan—developed by a committee of members and approved by the ICMA Executive Board in 2017—challenged the association to expand and diversify the membership. To achieve these goals across our membership and within the leadership of the association, the board asked our membership over the past year to provide feedback on several ideas that have led to the development of several amendments to the ICMA Constitution.
Member feedback was gathered through an online focus group in February, at the ICMA Regional Conferences in the spring, and at 23 state association meetings. More than 1,000 members provided input through formal channels and many more spoke directly to board vice presidents informally. Members made it clear that while they overwhelmingly supported diversity and inclusion, experience in service to local government and ICMA are important criteria in considering changes to the constitution.
Amendments Focus on Three Areas
From this feedback, the board has developed and endorsed four amendments to the ICMA Constitution. Members eligible to vote can do so beginning January 10 with the ballot closing February 10. The amendments focus on three key areas: voting eligibility, service on the board, and appointment to the regional nominating committees. (See the complete amendments and background information).
“This is the opportunity that voting members (Full Members) have to propel the organization forward. The pool of colleagues eligible to become voting members and eligible to serve on the board will be more diverse, which will better reflect our communities and nation,” said ICMA President Jane Brautigam, city manager of Boulder, Colorado. She added that while this is a great starting point, the focus needs to remain on recruiting new leaders to both local government and to ICMA membership.
See additional comments from ICMA Executive Board Members.
Get the full picture on the proposed amendments, including FAQs and more.