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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What is ICMA?

The ICMA is "the premier organization of professional local government leaders building sustainable communities to improve lives worldwide," according to their website. It's a professional organization engaged in providing support, overview, recommendations and resources to local city government.

It's not unlike hundreds of other professional organizations to which professional people belong. Over the years, I have paid for membership to the NCTE -- National Council of Teachers of English. As soon as my check cleared, I was considered a MEMBER of that organization. That meant I could tap into resources to aid in the betterment of my teaching. I could communicate with other professionals engaged in the same work I do. I could read about other successful programs and learn from them.

What it didn't give me was the ability to have NCTE claim I was a wonderful teacher simply because I was a member.

The ICMA is no different. City leaders can join at various financial levels based on their salary in order to receive the following benefits:
  • Access to the latest information, trends, and innovative solutions
  • Connection with colleagues committed to the same mission you are
  • Support and professional development matched to each stage of one's career
  • Recognition of individual and community contributions
That's essentially it.

Nowhere in the information I've found on the ICMA website does it say that being a member means that when your city HIRES the ICMA to do an independent review of your policies and practices they will give you what you want to hear.

Nowhere does it guarantee that being a member means you are paying them to tell you that you are doing a good job.

Being a member of the ICMA means nothing more than a doctor belonging to the AMA, an English teacher belonging to the NCTE, or a sorority sister/frat brother belonging to his/her local Greek society.

It's resume's resource material to aid in one's performance.

Anyone who claims that Johs Szerlag's membership in ICMA makes the report invalid is, quite frankly, IGNORANT, MISINFORMED, AND DANGEROUS.


  1. Here's a sample of what some ignorant residents are thinking:

    "One must wonder how objective such a report could be. Szerlag is a member and the City paid for the report so one could assume that the ICMA will not bite the hand that feeds them.
    The fact that they compared salary and benefits with other public entities rather than the real world of the private sector gives real pause to how valuable this report may be."

    Uh...let's see...if I paid an entity who specializes in providing comparisons to other like organizations, and who provides guidance for improving such organizations, then I'm pretty sure there's NO NEED to pause at the results.

    As for the "biting the hand that feeds them" statement, I'll say again: IGNORANT, UNINFORMED, AND DANGEROUS.

  2. DID compare the city to "real world" private sector businesses/employees.

    Did the above referenced person even READ it??


  3. When I worked in private industry, consultants were often hired to evaluate operations and make recommendations for improvement. I don't recall any of them working for free nor were their suggestions suspect simply because they were paid.

  4. There's a conspiracy around ever corner, don'cha know?