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President's Message
Kari Kent
ACMA President
Deputy City Manager, City of Mesa

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Arizona City/County Management Association (ACMA) Board and League staff for participating in the annual retreat that was held April 3 and 4, and to Arizona State University for hosting us in the Downtown Phoenix Mercado. The Board consists of knowledgeable and enthusiastic individuals committed to improving the expertise and status of the local government profession in our Arizona cities, towns and counties.

The board is focusing on six key result areas for the 2014/15 fiscal year which align with ACMA's vision, mission and values. The following is a sample of some of the initiatives this year:

In an effort to promote the importance of the council-manager form of government, I will be moderating a session on August 21 at the Annual League Conference, whereby Lake Havasu City Mayor Nexsen, Glendale Vice Mayor Knaack and Flagstaff City Manager Kevin Burke will discuss how elected officials best utilize the city manager's expertise to create meaningful public policy to support their community's needs.

Several ad-hoc ACMA committees have formed, or are in the process of being created, on two very critical issues facing Arizona local governments; ensuring ethical behavior in our jurisdictions and combating the rising costs of our Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) pension plans. Pat McDermott, retired assistant city manager from Chandler, is leading a group of ACMA members to collaborate with ICMA to develop strategies to enhance the awareness of ethical behavior in the managerial profession and produce educational materials for distribution among ACMA organizations to strengthen the ethical culture in our communities.

The PSPRS Committee is in the formation stage and ACMA will be partnering with the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, and the Government Finance Officers Association of Arizona (GFOAz), to develop recommendations for the improvement of the long-term sustainability of PSPRS, while hopefully lessening the budgetary impact to participating agencies.

The board also wants to strengthen professional development opportunities for our ACMA members. This includes the implementation of the ACMA Mentoring Program; partnering with Grand Canyon University to offer a tuition discount on such online degrees as their Masters of Public Administration; partnering with ICMA to offer scholarships to attend ICMA's 100th Anniversary Conference in Charlotte; providing semi-annual training opportunities at Arizona conferences; partnering with the Alliance for Innovation to offer no-cost or low-cost webinars; and offering non-conference evening networking opportunities.

ACMA will continue to partner with Arizona universities to develop our "next generation" in an effort to sustain the profession. This includes supporting ACMA, ASU and the Alliance for Innovation's Marvin Andrews Fellowship Program; offering financial scholarships and internships to MPA graduate students; serving as adjunct faculty or providing guest lectures in undergraduate and graduate MPA programs; attending student skill-building sessions and college career fairs; and collaborating with ICMA student chapters.

Lastly, we will be focusing on ACMA's financial stability. Through the efforts of our Range Rider, Mike Hutchinson, we hope to be cultivating new corporate sponsors and retaining existing ones by gaining expertise from the Phoenix Philanthropy Group, and increasing revenue opportunities for our scholarship programs by partnering with the Arizona Community Foundation.

It has already been an extremely busy year! Thank you all for your membership and involvement in ACMA. I look forward to seeing you July 23-25 at our new summer conference location at the Dove Mountain Resort in Marana. Registration is open, so register soon. The Summer Conference Committee, chaired by Peoria Deputy Director of Finance and Budget Katie Gregory, has done and amazing job and has planned some very interesting sessions for us.
Arizona City/County Management Association
1820 W. Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007   •   Phone: (602) 258-5786   •   Fax: (602) 253-3874   •