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ICMA Credentialing
by Mary Jacobs, Assistant City Manager, City of Sierra Vista

As members of ACMA, I think it is fair to say that we are all committed to local government and to serving with professionalism and pride. Keeping up with trends and "sharpening the saw" is part of how we continue to add value to our organization. The ICMA voluntary credentialing program provides a simple way for executive level managers to demonstrate adherence to high standards of integrity, and a commitment to lifelong learning and professional development.

The credentialing program has been in place for more than ten years now, and ICMA has over 1,300 members who have attained that status, including 42 here in Arizona. In 2012, the organization conducted a review of the program to see if changes or improvements needed to be made. With input through focus group discussions, surveys and one-on-one conversation, it's clear that overall the membership found value in the ICMA credential, even those who had not yet achieved it. There were still some who wanted a more structured program, with an exam to pass similar to a Certified Economic Developer (CEd) or AICP Certified Planner. Also, there were some concerns expressed regarding the ability for those early in their careers to qualify for the credential.

As a result of this input, the ICMA Board adopted some minor changes to the program last year to help keep it fresh, and hopefully encourage more members to take advantage of it. Members who participate in the ICMA Leadership Program, Emerging Leaders Program, or attend one of the major leadership institutes such as the Harvard Senior Executive Program are now provided with an additional six months to one year of credit toward the credential.

I'm often asked what value the ICMA-CM provides to me personally. First, it's a reminder to me that I have made a commitment to professional development and it's up to me to seek it out in order to continue to grow and add value to my organization. The annual report I submit allows me to annually assess whether I am truly learning and applying the training I receive. Two years ago, it was time for my 360 degree assessment. I used one of the ICMA recommended tools, and found the anonymous input from senior leaders, my boss, and Council Members to be very constructive and useful, thereby assisting me with targeting future training opportunities.

If you have been considering exploring the ICMA Voluntary Credentialing Program, I encourage you to take that final step and conduct the assessment and submit an application. The process is not at all daunting, and I am confident you will find the assessment useful in selecting future conference sessions, books, and other training opportunities in the future. Please feel free to reach out to me or any other ICMA Credentialed Manager in Arizona to learn more about our experience with the program.

Mary Jacobs,
Arizona City/County Management Association
1820 W. Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007   •   Phone: (602) 258-5786   •   Fax: (602) 253-3874   •