Like many cities across the United States during the recent economic downturn, the city of Hampton, VA, faced a huge budget shortfall of about $19 million. City Manager Mary Bunting knew it would take outside-the-box thinking to find a solution.
William Fraser, city manager of Montpelier, Vermont, has played guitar since he was ten years old. He's the front man for Rusty Romance, a roots rock band that plays throughout Montpelier, everything from downtown concerts to barn dances. They've played more than 60 gigs since the band started, but his fellow band members understand they can never play at a political fundraiser because their leader's day job requires complete neutrality.
In the last 20 years, West Point has grown from a farming hamlet to a full-service suburb north of Salt Lake City with approximately 8,000 residents. Still, the mostly residential community did not have the sales tax revenue to fund its own ambulance and fire services, which were provided by adjacent cities. But as the city grew, and hundreds of new homes were being built each year, there was a pressing need for their own fire department.
Fort Bend County may be the best prepared community in Texas. Two hurricanes in 2005–Katrina and Rita–were a wake-up call, affecting thousands of people in the county, and led to many changes in the way the city prepares for emergencies.
Professional local government management takes politics out of the day-to-day operations of city government in El Paso, and it has given the mayor and city council more time to focus on the legislative policies they would like to see addressed.
Homelessness remains a persistent problem in Austin. Without question, it is a complex issue that requires the involvement of multiple organizations outside of local government. So what is a professional local government manager to do when asked to come up with a plan for addressing it?
Successfully leading a rapidly growing city requires vision, patience, and expertise. It takes the steady leadership of a professional manager to ensure that citizens, elected leaders, and city staff navigate the challenges and opportunities of boom times.