Photo of Phillip Smith-Hanes

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Phillip Smith-Hanes, ICMA-CM

County Administrator

Saline County, Kansas

ICMA Member since 1996

Co-founder, CivicPRIDE

 

“Part of My Own Identity Is Not Wanting to Be Like Everyone Else.”

One of the great traits of this career path is that you’re unique in your community. I always say that every day in this profession is something new and different. I never know what my day will end up looking like because it’s usually radically different from what’s on my schedule.

A Memorable Experience

One of the most memorable experiences that I’ve had along the way was trying to engage with a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters as they were marching around the conference table chanting at me. It was one of a series of meetings that I held in an attempt to engage with the protestors. Economic inequality is an important issue, but the other folks in the room decided that it was not going to be a dialogue, it was going to be a protest, and you just sort of deal with that. It was interesting because it was a public meeting and I ended up addressing the press as this chant was going on around us, and I think I got a lot of public support as a result.

A Whole New Arena

Something I never envisioned for my career is managing all the federal money that’s been flowing to local governments through the CARES Act and ARPA. We’re really able to create some structural change in our communities through strategically deploying those resources. I feel like most of my career I’ve been the guy with the budget cuts, so this is a whole new arena for me.

The Value of Participating in ICMA’s Equity Cohort

Participating in the ICMA Equity Cohort really gave me a new appreciation for the struggles of other professionals within our organizations and chief equity officers in particular. Oftentimes they are members of historically oppressed communities and the work is not just something that they got a degree in; it’s something that they came to through a very personal route. It was really moving to hear about their experiences trying to move equity forward in their organizations while simultaneously not falling apart because of personal experiences they were having and the ways they were being attacked.

Stay tuned for the video interview with Phillip—coming soon!

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