Why Voting "Yes" Matters

Insights shared by ICMA Executive Board members on the 2020 ICMA constitutional amendments covering diversity and inclusion


Given the changing demographics of our world and a desire to include new voices in our profession, ICMA continues to focus on improving diversity and inclusion of membership across the association particularly in terms of race, ethnicity, gender and age. A primary focus of our organization is to serve the needs of those who are local government leaders and aspire to leadership roles in local government. We want to welcome, encourage and develop the future generation of leaders.

ICMA Executive Board

"The emerging and mid-career leaders in our organizations are committed professionals eager to make a difference for our communities. Increasing opportunities for these local government leaders to impact our profession - through service on regional nominating committees, voting on key issues and executive board service - will position ICMA as an organization that recognizes and welcomes those who will be charged with solving the wicked problems of our age for the next generation."

—Jane S. Brautigam, ICMA-CM, ICMA, President, City Manager, Boulder, Colorado

"Diversity and inclusion: it's not a goal. It's not a strategy. It's a value. That means it permeates what we do."

—Karen Pinkos, ICMA Past President City Manager, El Cerrito, California

"These ballot measures are important as diversifying our profession and organization is not only important that we reflect our membership across the spectrum, but that by encouraging and providing greater opportunity for involvement in the profession it is the essence of inclusion and will bring about more creative ideas that reflect the perspectives of a more diverse organization, which or great for the members and organization."

—Jim Malloy, ICMA President-Elect,Town Manager, Lexington, Massachusetts

Regional Vice Presidents

Northeast Region

"I am very excited about the proposed changes regarding board diversity. I spent 23 of my 31 years in local government as a department head for a medium size community, and I believe the changes will engage and give a voice to more members like me as they progress in their careers."

—Teresa Tieman, ICMA-CM, Town Manager, Fenwick Island, Delaware

"To its credit the ICMA has made necessary changes to the association with advancements, changes to local government and the changing of times. ICMA is not an association that sits idle while the world and/or the profession of local government is changing. The diversity ballot measure is the next step for ICMA to evolve as an associations and to be a leader and positive example to others by taking necessary action not just with words but with action to become a more diverse and inclusive organization. Support of this ballot initiative will also show to all of our membership that each member irrespective of title is a valued member of this great organization."

—Christopher Coleman, Assistant Town Manager/Director of Operations, Needham, Massachusetts

"I fully support the proposed ballot measures to provide affiliate members with five years’ service to local government and ICMA with the opportunity to serve on the ICMA Board of Directors and to participate in the key decisions facing our association. ICMA has long promoted diversity and inclusion, and these values are key components of Envision ICMA, our strategic plan. Looking at ICMA’s membership overall, our affiliate members are much more diverse than in decades past. This is a wonderful development as our emerging leaders and young professionals represent the future of our profession. The proposed constitutional amendments will help us to better serve our members across the career spectrum and to remain relevant as the premier local government association in the world."

—Matt Hart, ICMA-CM, Town Manager, Town of West Hartford, Connecticut

Midwest Region

"Voting YES on the proposed ballot measure to expand and diversify the organization’s membership and board composition is key to transforming ICMA and the profession to more accurately reflect the communities we serve. The Board’s scrupulous deliberation of this issue and a comprehensive outreach initiative resulted in the proposed constitutional amendments which will generate more members with voting status and board eligibility while maintaining an allegiance to experience in service to local government. The passage of these amendments is a critical step on our interminable path towards achieving more diversity and inclusion and recruiting new leaders to local government service and ICMA."

—Molly Mehner, AICP, ICMA-CM, Deputy City Manager, Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Mountain Plains Region

"Our communities and those we serve are diverse and becoming even more so. The Association the Board serves has great depth in its diversity when taken in total. The current Board selection and service structure allowing only full members to serve on the Board prevents the Board from tapping into the full strength and capabilities of its complete and comprehensive membership. Diversity of thought has no limits and benefits the whole. Supporting the expansion of the opportunity for service and thought can only benefit our membership and as a result, the communities, the people we serve."

—Michael Land, City Manager, Coppell, Texas

"During my Board service, there has been a disconnect between our strategic vision and priorities as an association and our governance structure. Supporting the Board's constitutional initiatives allows for alignment with our strategic mission, vision and values. Lifting structural barriers rooted in tradition, that are no longer helpful, will provide opportunity for a higher-level of engagement between the Board and membership. Who do I want ICMA to be? Member-driven. Plain and simple, that's the heart of the value of an ICMA membership."

—Heather Geyer, City Manager, Northglenn, Colorado

West Coast Region

"The recommended ballot measures strike an important balance: enabling future leaders to feel welcomed and empowered to participate with ICMA, while also ensuring that ICMA remains focused on services that reflect the priorities and experience of current members. ICMA’s leadership role, including sustaining and enforcing the Code of Ethics, depends on our ability to keep our successors engaged in ways supported by these actions. This also sets the stage for needed discussions of dues and governance structures."

—Ed Shikada, City Manager, Palo Alto, California

"The future began yesterday, and the ICMA board has grappled with the question of how to continue to best serve local government leaders and aspiring leaders in a rapidly evolving environment. The upcoming ballot measures, approved by the board in October, are forward-looking, designed to enable ICMA to better serve its members, and to enhance ICMA’s stature as the preeminent association for all local government professionals."

—Peter Troedsson, ICMA-CM, City Manager, Albany, Oregon