The State of MME … Thankfulness

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

Someone asked me recently how the year went being President of MME. Great question!  I think I gave an adequate response: “Busier than expected, thankful for the support and work of members, honored to serve.”  But the question resonated with me just in time to pen my thoughts for a final blog.  So here is my take on the state of MME, punctuated with thanks to many who serve the association and the profession so well.

Looking Back … A Busy and Productive Year
Leadership in prior years had the foresight to rebrand our profession, and to organize our work around member committees.

  • Advocacy – This group ran with our new brand, and hopefully members are using as the place to stay updated. I especially appreciate the municipal executive and community profiles (no correlation with Ottawa County being the current highlighted community).
  • Ethics – What a year and what amazing work!  Completed a full review and update of the Rules and Procedures for Enforcement of the ICMA Code of Ethics, along with educational sessions and a new process to screen new applicants for membership.
  • Experience – In addition to nominating members for leadership, this group is finishing an updated Managers in Transition Guide and is increasing the visibility of our Senior Advisor Program. Thanks to Maurice Evans, who has retired from this role, but a reminder to connect with Mark Wollenweber and Larry Nielsen as our active Senior Advisors. I was also honored to be able to recognize Daryl Delabbio as our 2017 Patriarche Distinguished Service Award recipient.
  • Next Gen – We have a revamped and successful Fellowship Program ongoing, with placements in the cities of  Muskegon and Harper Woods. They also continue to facilitate networking with dinners at our Winter Institute/Summer Workshop, and have great professional development at MML’s Lansing offices.
  • Professional Development – A huge amount of great work as we change the format and process for our Winter Institute and Summer Workshop, including how we gather support from a wonderful group of sponsors/vendors. The Winter Institute in Kalamazoo and Summer Workshop in Muskegon were excellent places to learn and mingle. Also, check out all the support and materials we can get in the coaching program.

Looking Ahead
I admit to being a Spartan fan, so ending the MME year in Ann Arbor does come with significant apprehension. But having an inside scoop on the planning for the Winter Institute (Jan. 30 – Feb. 2) means I can guarantee a great experience. Changes in our dues and conference fees (with regular increases) have also been made to balance our budget, both now and into the future. Professional members should have also received information and the ability to vote on some membership changes to our Constitution.

The state of our association is strong, and I know it will stay that way as I am able to recognize below the people that have and will continue to work to keep it that way.

The group of people that work, I know often on nights and weekends to do these “on top of our normal job” duties, to make the association go are incredible.  PLEASE, send a note and/or make sure to thank these people in Ann Arbor for what they do.

  • MML Support – Summer Minnick and Emily Kieliszewski, along with countless others behind the scenes supporting our conferences, updating our IT, and handling our finances
  • Advocacy – Adam Smith took over as a first-year chair, with Victor Cardenas as his vice chair.
  • Ethics – Oliver Turner completes his service as chair and has done a phenomenal job with some huge projects.  We will miss him being as involved, but he is now serving on the MML Board. Thanks also to Christine Burns who served as vice chair.
  • Experience – Curtis Holt has served in this role and handled a busy year. Al Vanderberg served as vice chair and will be stepping up into the chair role next year.
  • NextGen – Thanks to Aaron Desentz for serving as chair and James Krizan as vice chair.
  • Professional Development – Christian Wuerth, who has done a huge amount of work transitioning us to a new process for our Winter Institute and Summer Workshop. He is finishing his role as chair, and vice chair Rebecca Fleury will continue doing a great job.
  • Board Members – Just a great group of supportive and dedicated professionals. Special thanks to those who will be completing their service: Jim Ritsema, John Shay, Robert Belleman, and Tim Klunder.  Also, good luck and thanks to incoming President Pat Sullivan and Vice President Lynn Markland. We worked through some issues and they did great work on the interim manager listing and suggesting changes to our dues and conference fees.

It has been my great honor to serve this association, and I will be forever humbled by your trust.  Please accept my best wishes for you and your communities, and plan to be part of 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