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ICMA Credentialing
By Jim Thompson, City Manager, City of Casa Grande

The ICMA Credentialed Manager Program was created to promote the excellence of our profession and assure that managers continuously enhance their unique skill set to better serve their communities. I was one of the first managers to receive accreditation, and while our numbers have grown, the quality of the credentialed managers has not decreased. It can often be difficult for local governments and elected officials to verify the skill set of applicants for executive job openings; while all serious applicants will have degrees, a degree alone does not necessarily mean that the candidates have demonstrable commitments to continued education, ethics, accountability, and professional excellence. The credentialed manager program allows elected officials, local governments, and practicing professionals, to know who has demonstrated a commitment to the profession to go the extra mile.

Credentialing is available to administrators that have at least a baccalaureate degree and executive experience. Executive experience includes: staff management, financial management, policy facilitation and implementation and service delivery. A minimum of seven years executive experience is needed to become a credentialed manager. This requirement ensures that credentialed managers have sufficient experience and education to demonstrate their skill set. For those who are not as far along in their careers, ICMA allows applicants to be credentialed manager candidates, who can become credentialed managers once they cross the experience threshold and comply with the requirements for the Applied Knowledge Assessment, which ensures that managers are able to apply best practices and principles to management situations. After successful completion of these requirements, the ICMA Credential Advisory Board (CAB) may receive feedback from the management community regarding the professional integrity of the candidate, and approve or deny the application depending on feedback.

Maintenance of the ICMA Credentialed Manager designation is as essential as initially obtaining the distinction. To retain the credentialed manager title, an annual report describing at least 40 hours of continuing education completed in the year, and what was learned from that experience, must be submitted to ICMA. It is easy for a manager to say that they are continuing their education, but much harder for them to describe their learning experience. To ensure those who have been credentialed for five years or longer are being served properly by the credentialed manager program, a Performance-Based and Professional Development Planning assessment is administered. These assessments provide the manager with suggestions for future development, and assist the credentialed manager in structuring experiences and practices in a way that allows them to address these areas of potential professional growth.

Jim Thompson
City Manager
City of Casa Grande, Arizona
Arizona City/County Management Association
1820 W. Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007   •   Phone: (602) 258-5786   •   Fax: (602) 253-3874   •   www.azmanagement.org