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ICMA Milwaukee
The ICMA 2011 Conference in Milwaukee is right around the corner, and this year it's more important than ever to attend. Running September 18-21, this year's conference will be a great event for Arizona managers in more way than one. Aside from delivering the information rich sessions, and multitudes of networking opportunities we've come to expect from ICMA conferences, Arizona managers will have the opportunity to promote the great state of Arizona in anticipation of next year's ICMA 2012 Conference in Phoenix. Getting the word out is the first step to hosting a great event and we encourage all ACMA members that can, to attend this year's Conference and help promote all that Arizona has to offer. ICMA has offered some additional reasons to attend below:

Consider these reasons to attend the Annual Conference.

You are being asked to do more with less, decrease expenses, increase efficiencies, and better utilize the resources available in your community. And with continued budget cuts, and out-of-state travel restrictions your local government has imposed may be so severe that attending the ICMA Annual Conference in Milwaukee, September 18-21, seems unlikely. Before you decide to forego the conference, however, consider the following:

Participants at past ICMA conferences have said that they've saved their communities thousands of dollars from just one idea that they picked up during an educational session or other conference program.

"The value of the ICMA conference to me? In a nutshell, it's networking and new ideas. With a relatively small investment of time and money, the ICMA conference has returned dividends to my community and to my professional growth worth significantly more than the initial cost. You can't buy this kind of professional development anywhere else."

Lee Szymborski, City Administrator, Mequon, WI (pop 21,823), 2011 ConferenceHost Committee Co-Chair

  • You need professional development now more than ever. It's important to lead by example and for that reason alone, it may make sense for you to refrain from travelling, particularly if your organization has placed restrictions on such expenses, however, it's also critical for leaders to be fully armed with the insight and information they need to guide their organizations through tough times. And, this year's ICMA Annual Conference program is packed with outstanding keynotes on overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges, plus dozens of relevant workshops, sessions, field demonstrations, and educational exhibits-just the kind of information you need most right now.

Visit icma.org/conference2011 for more information on the 2011 educational program and keynote speakers.

  • You can use your conference attendance as a family vacation. A few of you have told us that in this economic climate, even using personal funds to attend the conference could stir up controversy. But the ICMA Annual Conference can help you renew and recharge so that you're energized to take on the toughest challenges. The conference also can be a great way to reconnect with your partner and kids after you spend the day learning about ways to improve your local operations.

Attendance at the ICMA Annual Conference can be a time of personal renewal and reflection and an opportunity to rekindle one's passion and love of the profession.

"For me, the conference is a time to recharge my batteries and reconnect with my peers. It is an opportunity to learn new concepts and reinforce the basics, to make my community more sustainable as we move forward towards an uncertain future. It is a reminder when talking through issues and solutions with my colleagues from around the country and around the world, that we are not alone in our struggles to build and maintain better communities for our residents. I feel reinvigorated when I get back to the office, and I try to share that feeling with staff and my boards, so that we can meet the challenges of budgets and staffing and infrastructure with a renewed sense of purpose."

Mark J. Purple, assistant town manager/finance director, Ashland, MA (pop 15,807)

  • You can get out in front of any "bad press" before it surfaces. If you secure the support of your elected officials to attend the conference, explain to constituents how much the conference will cost your city, town, or county; where the money will come from; whether you are using personal funds to subsidize your attendance; and why this type of expenditure is cost effective to your community.
  • You can use your ICMA e-debit card toward your conference registration. Full and affiliate members in service to a U.S. local government recently received an e-debit card to help them underwrite the cost of professional development... Use those funds toward your conference registration and explain to your constituents that those funds were made possible through your professional membership in ICMA. E-debit card has been extended to August 31.
  • You can "bunk" with a colleague to save even more. Sure, you haven't shared a room at the conference since you were a management intern, but cutting your hotel bill in half could make conference attendance a reality! And carpooling with other members can mean a substantial savings, or one to two nights' stay in one of the conference hotels. Connect with members at the conference group in the Knowledge Network.
  • You can e-mail, blog, or Twitter while attending the conference to tell constituents what you've learned as you're learning it. Letting the folks back home know you're taking your conference attendance seriously by sending them a summary of what you've learned each day goes a long way toward helping them understand the true value of this outstanding event.
  • You should spread the word about what you learned and its relevance to your community. Whether it's issuing a press release upon your return or implementing the ideas you pick up, connecting the dots between what you learn and your conference attendance is important. Keep a journal while at the conference. Then use this information to develop an article for publication on your Web site, your local government newsletter, and your local paper that describes the specific workshops and sessions you attended and what you learned during each. Be sure to give a full report to your elected officials, including any cost-saving ideas you may have picked up along the way. You may, for example, want to highlight ICMA's Annual Award recipients by noting how their innovations may be applied in your community or apply the information you learned come back with three ideas you can apply immediately and make a commitment to apply one idea when you return.

Don't miss the opportunity to demonstrate the value of your ICMA membership to your elected officials, residents, and local media. For information on ICMA's 97th Annual Conference in Milwaukee, review your preliminary conference program in the June issue of PM magazine, or visit icma.org/conference2011.

Article reprinted with permission from: http://icma.org/en/Article/101245/To_Go_or_Not_to_Go_Positioning_the_ICMA_Annual_Conference
Arizona City/County Management Association
1820 W. Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007   •   Phone: (602) 258-5786   •   Fax: (602) 253-3874   •   www.azmanagement.org