One of the first lessons I learned during my internship with a city manager was to build a network of support. The manager told me “It’s all been done before; you just have to find the person that has done it.” What an important lesson to learn!
When I took my first city administrator job in Minnesota, one of the first things I did was make sure I joined the Minnesota City/County Management Association. That group of managers was always willing to help and provide their insights on any topic. Sending an email out on the list serv to ask a question usually generated a handful of responses or offers to help. As a young manager, this was an amazing resource.
A few years later when I took a city manager position in Maine, it was very similar. Joining the Maine Town/City/County Management Association was a great way to get plugged in. It helped me have the resources I needed to successfully transition from one state to another, and if you’ve ever worked in New England, you know it is very different from other states.
When I came to Texas a year ago, I was excited to get plugged in with TCMA. One of the first things I did was to arrange a meeting with Mike Goodrum, who was on our TMCA Region 6 Board. We discussed TCMA membership including the TCMA Code of Ethics. Mike was a good resource those first few weeks. Mike also mentioned the TCMA list serv, TCMA Idea Share.
The TCMA Idea Share is a great place to ask questions, seek advice, or find out how other managers have handled similar issues. It provides a medium for new managers to ask questions, allow experienced managers share some of their wisdom, and a chance for TCMA members to share policies, procedures, and best practices.
If you are asking yourself “What is this Idea Share?” you are probably not alone. If you haven’t registered, I encourage you to do so. You can sign up at TCMA Idea Share.
Some of the recent topics posted include ethics ordinances, wellness plans, and performance evaluations processes. The information provides a treasure trove that managers can refer back for several years, but it takes participation to truly be effective.
I hope you’ll take time and check out the Idea Share forum. If you are a new manager, I’m sure you’ll find it a great place to ask questions. If you are like me and new to Texas, it’s a good chance to get up to speed on some of the differences between Texas and other states. Help grow the profession by sharing your knowledge with those coming up the ranks and those facing similar challenges in communities across Texas.
(Article submitted by Austin Bleess, city manager, City of Jersey Village. If you have interesting news or helpful topics to share, please submit them to Kim Pendergraft at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep the information to fewer than 750 words.)