Reflections on Muskegon

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By Christian Wuerth

“Rock Paper Scissors” MME-style!

The Summer Workshop in Muskegon represented the second MME professional development event to fall under the jurisdiction of the Professional Development Committee. With each event, the committee is continuing to refine the planning process and explore options to continue to deliver high quality professional development opportunities to the membership. The goal of each of these events is for members to take new ideas and inspiration back to their own communities. Thank you to those who attended, sponsored, and presented at the event. It was a great week of learning and sharing stories. After a few days of reflection, here are some of my thoughts, in no particular order.

It was inspiring to see the great things going on in the Greater Muskegon area communities led by our members. Whether it’s the park and downtown development in Muskegon Heights or the incredibly inventive ways Muskegon is tackling housing, retail, and quality of life issues, we have some amazing colleagues around the state doing incredible work for our communities. It was good to see some of this work firsthand and celebrate the successes of colleagues. Several times, I remarked to City Manager Frank Peterson how incredible the momentum in Muskegon is and that the next time we come to town for a conference in few years, the progress will be amazing to see.

The opening session of the Summer Workshop, featuring the No Outlet Improv Troupe, offered a moment which I feel well-represented the importance of our association. As the hotly-contested rock-paper-scissors tournament drew to a close, we all stood cheering for our colleagues. While the moment was fun (and a bit silly) it represents for me the perfect metaphor for those moments when we need to act as cheerleaders and sources of support for our colleagues. It is important for us to reach out to colleagues when they need our cheering and support. We often do this when a colleague is in transition, but we must also pick up the phone when the local headlines indicate that someone’s stress levels may be high or when a difficult situation has been well handled.

These are just two of the takeaways for me. I’ve got new ideas on community engagement and talent recruitment that I hope to put to use in the near future, and it is always good to catch up with all of you and the work that you are doing in your communities. There are difficult days in this profession and it is good to be among friends who can offer some advice and perspective along with a few laughs. I always leave these events more energized and excited to take on the next project at home.

I want to again say thank you to all our event sponsors – bringing a high-quality event together while keeping registration costs low can be challenging. The support of our sponsors helps us to do just that and many have been partners alongside us for many years. I’d also like to thank the planning committee and Kelly Warren at the Michigan Municipal League for all your hard work in putting this event together.

If you attended the event, you should have received an email to provide feedback. Please take some time to complete this survey as the input is very helpful in planning future events. Please feel free to review the presentations from the 2017 MME Summer Workshop and enjoy the photos.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and see you all in Ann Arbor in January!

Christian Wuerth 
Village Manager, Milford

Christian Wuerth has served as the village manager of Milford since 2014. He began his career in local government as a management intern with the City of Birmingham, Michigan. Over the next 10 years, he moved up to other positions within the city, including management analyst and assistant to the city manager. You may reach him at 248-684-1515 or