An annual report should:
- Specifically address the professional development needs identified through assessments or other feedback (unless plans had to change)
- Report on at least 40 hours of professional development, even if some of that deviated from your original plan or practice areas
- Fully explain how you engaged in each professional development activity
- Reflect on one specific example of something you learned from each activity (this is the most important part of the annual report)
An annual report should not:
- Provide a résumé listing
- Address work activities (from local government, consulting, or other work)
- Address professional development that cannot be related to local government management
Note: Generally, professional development consists of structured learning, such as reading or workshops. The structured learning itself is the professional development activity and counts towards the 40-hour professional development requirement. For example, doing a strategic plan is not professional development. Attending a workshop or reading a book to improve your strategic planning skills is a professional development activity.
Examples are shown below; they are not exhaustive, and they vary considerably as to how many continuing education hours each would represent.
Sample Annual Report
Professional Development Activity #1
Activity Name: ICMA Annual Conference
Description: At the ICMA Annual Conference, I participated in a facilitator workshop conducted by Study Circles Resource Center; participated in an ICMA University Workshop "Essential Management Skills;" participated in an ICMA University Forum "Ethics and the Public Trust;" and served as a facilitator for the ICMA University Forum .
What I Learned: From the facilitator workshop I learned a facilitator must be impartial, is responsible for creating a safe environment, manages expectations, models desired behaviors and keeps the discussion on purpose. From Essential Management Skills I learned the importance of being proactive in engaging residents in assisting the elective governing body to develop the policy agenda for the community. As managers, we need to develop mechanisms to assure we put public in public policy. We need to develop and provide resources for automatically finding and engaging vested parties in the decision making process. From Ethics & the Public Trust I learned that a free lunch is rarely as innocent as we think. It is best to always pay for your own. The public expects your compensation is sufficient to cover your lunches. If it is a legitimate business expense, claim it on your taxes or seek reimbursement from your employer according to their policies or your contract. Addressed policy facilitation and implementation and personal and professional integrity practices.
Professional Development Activity #2
Activity Name: Media Relations for Local Governments
Description: I read ICMA's Media Relations for Local Governments and discussed my findings with the city's PIO.
What I Learned: I learned more effective ways to improve my working relationships with the media, specifically to be proactive, after assuring my policy body is informed, about providing the media with breaking news; to not play favorites among the media; and to encourage elected officials to provide quotes. Addressed communication and information sharing practice.
Professional Development Activity #3
Activity Name: International Study Tour
Description: I visited several local governments and spent several weeks meeting with my counterparts in a foreign country to learn the key to their communities’ long-term success; how they plan for their future; how they sustain themselves economically through redevelopment, etc.
What I Learned: I learned a new way to look at the process for building a new community. I began to search for what made these foreign cities successful for centuries. What makes them desirable places to live a thousand years after they started? Will my city be around 100 years from now? A thousand years from now? Are there things that I can do now to influence creation of this new city to make it more likely that it will be around 100 years from now? Also, I was very much encouraged and heartened by the astonishing redevelopment going on in Eastern Europe. One old industrial city, for example, is being turned into an exciting city ripe for new technology and the innovative young. I also spent some time learning about minority and immigration issues. Like a number of other European countries, the birth rate is less than what is necessary to sustain population. Therefore, they must have immigration to continue to succeed economically. However, the largest minority group is not assimilating as would be ideal. I also got to watch the Parliament of the EU in action. It is impressive the way the 25 countries have chosen to work together and consolidate. Addressed strategic planning practice.