Service to the Profession – Awards & Nominations

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By Keith Van Beek

A few recent “duties” as MME president have provided me with some good topics to write about in this blog. Hopefully you will find this educational, but also helpful to “demystify” the difficult nominations process to serve both on the MME and ICMA Boards.

MML Convention and the Patriarche Award

A highlight of my year so far was being able to represent MME at the annual MML Convention in Holland.  The MME sponsors a colloquium in order to highlight the profession, and we also use the forum to recognize a colleague with our highest professional award.  Daryl Delabbio, recent retiree from Kent County, was our very deserving 2017 Patriarche Award recipient, joining a distinguished list of municipal executives that can be found here. The Experience Committee makes a call for nominations in the spring and then names the recipient (if any) to be honored at the MML Convention. I hope to begin a new tradition this year, inviting and recognizing the Patriarche recipient at our MME Winter Institute.

ICMA Vice Presidents

ICMA has an involved (some would say complicated) process to select regional vice-presidents to serve on the ICMA Board. The Midwest region is comprised of Group A (Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana) and Group B (Michigan, Illinois and Ohio).  A rotation system has been established among the states, the details of which can be found here. Nominations for candidacy can be made through self-nomination, nomination by state association, or through an affiliate association (International Hispanic Network, National Forum for Black Public Administrators or the National Association of County Administrators).

ICMA nomination materials are due for 2018 by December 1, with some guidelines for process and qualifications of candidates available here. The rotation system, however, makes it highly unlikely that a Michigan candidate is eligible as State Group A has priority for 2018.Daryl Delabbio will be concluding his term representing Michigan and Group B this year. In 2019, we could be eligible for a “Non-CEO Position,” which is not included in the aforementioned rotation system (application end of next year).  State Group B is next eligible for a position in 2020. The MME president participates in interviews of eligible candidates along with other Midwest state presidents, recommending a preferred candidate for approval by the ICMA Board.

MME Board and Officers

The Experience Committee, along with the immediate past president and incoming president, annually undertake the difficult process of nominating a slate of directors and officers for service on the MME Board. The nominees are not presented to the Board of Directors, but are rather presented at the annual business meeting at the Winter Institute for election by the membership.

The MME Constitution states that “several factors should be considered when making nominations.  Included among these considerations should be representation of all geographic areas, type of local government unit, and the size of communities represented.  In addition, consideration should be given to women, minorities, and assistants”.  The current representation on the MME Board is considered when evaluating potential nominees, considering the seven MML regions, government type and size, as well as a diversity of gender, race and age.

Needless to say, with the many criteria in play this job can be difficult. While not called for in the MME Constitution, officers (who serve as vice president, then president elect, president and immediate past president) have previously served on the Board. Seeing the complexity of this process, I am thankful for and express my appreciation to this group.

Please accept my best wishes for you and your communities, and plan to be at our gathering in Ann Arbor for the Winter Institute!

Best, Keith

Keith Van Beek
President, Michigan Municipal Executives; Deputy County Administrator, Ottawa County

Keith Van Beek has been the Ottawa County deputy county administrator since 2009, and was previously deputy city administrator for the city of Kentwood. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Cornerstone University. You may reach him at 616-738-4642 or