MME President Update

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Hello Fellow Michigan Municipal Executives,

I have been asked to prepare this blog post for our new and improved association website. My first response was “I have never read a blog let alone wrote one!” So when this blog gets posted, I will have killed two birds with one stone.

This has been a very busy year for our association, with activity starting before the 2016 Winter Institute ended. I thought it would be good to give the membership a snapshot of some of the activities that I, as president, have engaged in so I will touch on a few items in this blog. I asked some basic questions right away, like how long has our association been around?  Summer Minnick, our secretary/treasurer, was able to find a list of past presidents the goes back to 1930!  That research also indicated that we were incorporated and became an affiliate of the ICMA in the early 1990’s.

As president, I have had some great opportunities to represent the association at special events and in special circumstances. On several occasions, I was notified of a manager retiring after many years of service. Often they were friends from years past and it was a pleasure to send a proclamation on behalf of our association congratulating them and wishing them a long, happy retirement. As a result of what I saw as a growing epidemic (lots of old managers), I asked the Experience Committee to develop a thoughtful process to acknowledge these individuals. That process, along with a special quality proclamation, will be adopted at the next board meeting.  Our association also sent letters of congratulations to retiring ICMA Director Bob O’Neal and the new ICMA Director Mark Ott, who was once a city manager in Michigan. One other exciting request I was happy to respond to was to write in support of the Council-Manager form of government for a community that created a charter revision commission and was considering changing their form of government.

Our association is an affiliate of the International City/County Management Association so we were asked to provide input on the updating of the ICMA Code of Ethics Tenet 3.  I sent that out to the membership and you responded with several comments.  ICMA took those comments and resubmitted the revised Code of Ethics Tenet 3 along with the Personal Relationship Guideline for Tenet 12.  That updated policy was sent to the Ethics Committee for final review and comment.

Since February, our Professional Development Committee has developed a Conference Strategic Plan to that lays out the process for planning conferences with continuity and forethought. This will help out conference committees be more aware of previous topics, venues, and sponsors as they plan for the next event.  The process quickly led to the formalization of our annual sponsorships with an annual plan to help both the sponsors and the conference committees.

Believe it or not, our association did not have a process in place to ensure ethics standards were being met when becoming a member of our fine organization!  The Ethics Committee has developed a short check list to follow for any new member applications.  They have also done extensive revisions to the Rules and Procedures for the Enforcement of the ICMA Code of Ethics.  These revisions were reviewed by our association’s legal counsel and ultimately approved by the board in October.  Also this year, the Professional Development Committee developed and the Board approved a new Mentoring/Coaching program.  Please take a look at our updated website for the details.

Finally, I believe our largest association undertaking in more than a decade is taking shape.  Of course I am talking about the association’s rebranding initiative. As you all know, the MLGMA board started an effort to rebrand our association in 2015.  That effort was intitially rolled out at the Winter Institute in February, with a lot of discussion resulting from the proposed name change. On the heels of the Winter Institute, a membership vote was taken to formally approve the association name change from Michigan Local Government Management Association (MLGMA) to Michigan Municipal Executives (MME).  This new name was a point around which the association could build its rebranding initiative.

After acquiring the MME.org domain name, the association, with the help of the Michigan Municipal League, began the transformation to the new brand. There are dozens of details being addressed—everything from updating reports with the new logo to changing the bank records to filing our new name with the State and the Internal Revenue Service.  As you may recall, the Phire Group is the company helping craft the new image of MME. They are working with MML staff and the Advocacy Committee to complete things like the redesign of the MME website.  Phire is preparing what are called brand panels that our association will use to represent itself and tell the municipal manager story.  These panels offer ideas of how to use the photos collected earlier this year from the membership. Look for a colleague or yourself in an action panel during the rebranding roll-out at the Winter Institute.

As I mentioned above, we have been working hand-in-glove with members of the Michigan Municipal League. Without their help and guidance, we could not have achieved the successes we have this year.  I especially want to thank Summer Minnick, who took over for Colleen Layton when she retired from the MML in May. Summer has done a great job uncovering answers on-the-go during our very busy year.  I also have to thank Rob Ferrari, MML’s director of IT and communications, for all of his technology assistance. Rob has been invaluable in the rebranding effort and with the domain name acquisition effort.  MME and the MML are truly as close as a one letter difference in many efforts.

I look forward to seeing you all in Kalamazoo in January.  Happy Holidays!

Dale Kerbyson, Lapeer City Manager and
President, Michigan Municipal Executives

Dale Kerbyson was selected as Lapeer city manager in 2004. He has over 19 years of experience in city management, and previously worked as city manager in Marlette. Dale is actively involved in a number of organizations, including board member of Karegnondi Water Authority and Greater Lapeer County Utility Authority, chairman of the Next Michigan Development Corporation/I-69 International Trade Corridor, and member of Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council. He has served the Michigan Municipal Executives as vice president and now as president.