PM Audiocast: Conversation with Valerie Lemmie

This series includes observations and commentary from local government leaders, along with resources for addressing the needs of your community and ways to take action.

In this episode, we’re joined by Valerie Lemmie, who is the director of exploratory research, Kettering Foundation, and a former city manager of Cincinnati, Ohio. She wrote an article in the supplement, Fostering Economic Inclusion, Social Equity, and Justice for People of Color—Advice for City Managers, about her experience as city manager of Cincinnati during a time of significant civil unrest. This was following the death of Timothy Thomas, who was shot and killed by police on April 7, 2001, which caused the city to erupt in protests and confrontations with police. At the time, it was the largest urban disturbance since the 1993 riots in Los Angeles. Our conversation gave us more insight into her experience as city manager during that time, and what she envisions for the future.


Audiocast Participant Bio

Valerie Lemmie

Director of Exploratory Research

The Kettering Foundation

Dayton, Ohio

ICMA Member Since 1987

Valerie Lemmie was welcomed back to the Kettering Foundation in May 2014 as the director of exploratory research. In 2005, Lemmie was a scholar-in-residence at the foundation and wrote about the value of public administrators working collaboratively with citizens in naming, framing, and acting on wicked community problems. An adept strategic thinker with more than 35 years of experience in solving complex problems and controversial issues, Lemmie joins the foundation after a distinguished career in public service.

She served as city manager for the cities of Petersburg, Virginia and Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio; commissioner on the Public Utility Commission of Ohio; and district director and acting chief of staff for Congressman Turner (Ohio’s 10th District). Most recently, Lemmie directed the Eastern Interconnection States’ Planning Council, an initiative designed to evaluate transmission grid development options throughout the Interconnection.

Lemmie has also served as adjunct professor at Howard University and the University of Dayton and as a fellow at the Center for Municipal Management at George Washington University. Lemmie has served on numerous boards, including Dayton History, Initiatives of Change, National Academy of Public Administration (where she is an elected fellow), House of Representatives Committee on Urban Redevelopment, and President Clinton’s Greenhouse Gas Advisory Committee.

A published author and speaker on public policy and utility regulatory issues nationally and internationally, Lemmie received her BA in political science and urban sociology from the University of Missouri and an MA in urban affairs/public policy planning from Washington University.

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