Are you looking for a challenging, varied career that will enable you to change the world?

I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I’m easily bored – the variety drew me in. The ability to work at the system level to affect positive change is what has kept me, and it feels like a good fit. I can’t think of more important work than building strong communities.

Mary Sassi Furtado—Assistant Manager, Catawba County, NC

Do you want work that will give you the ability to make hundreds or thousands of people’s lives better?

Being able to pick up the phone to help one resident or help an entire community breakthrough major issues is a great feeling. It gives life and your career meaning.

Erik Palm—Village Administrator, Village of River Forest, IL

Do you want to see concrete results from your work every day?

I’ve worked as an aid to city council, for a US Senator, and now as an assistant city manager. Working in each of my capacities, I feel like I really thrive, and I am at my best when I am closest to where the action is. When you work in local government you live and work in your community, and you see the people you’re working for on a daily basis. As a manager, you get the opportunity to address their issues and concerns firsthand.

Kimiko Black Gilmore—Assistant City Manager, Kansas City, MO

If You Can Answer Yes, Then You Might Want to Consider Becoming a Local Government Manager

The Decade of Local Government

Local governments are in the midst of a major reinvention. Increasingly, local governments are expected to “go it alone,” with little help from Washington or their state governments.

At the same time as the federal and state governments have passed down to them increased responsibility for a range of functions and programs, they’ve been faced with reduced revenues caused by the economic crisis of 2008-2009 and the loss of federal and state aid.

Consequently, local governments are looking for a new brand of leadership.

Cross-sector strategies will be the norm. Leaders in the “new normal” must look beyond the traditional and political boundaries of local government. Today’s leaders must be able to reach across traditional boundaries for the resources to innovate and make meaningful change.

The next few decades will be one of incredible creativity for local government, a time in which local government will lead the way in developing creative solutions to extraordinary problems.

The spotlight is on professional managers who understand that the old rules no longer apply.

Today’s managers must be able to innovate and make choices once politically unthinkable to maintain a balance between fiscal challenges and meeting residents’ expectations for services.

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