The Senior Advisor Program is a joint activity of ICMA and ACMA. Senior Advisors are available to any ACMA member to counsel, share
experience and support.
ACMA would like to thank Lloyd Harrell and Mike Hutchinson for their years of service as ACMA/ICMA Senior Advisors (previously Range
Riders) and the support they provided the ACMA board and members of the organization.
Get to know a little bit about your new ACMA Senior Advisors - Mike Letcher and Pat McDermott:
Please tell us a little about your background (where you're from/where you went to school/what positions you previously held):
Mike Letcher: I was city manager and deputy city manager for the City of Tucson, Arizona for a total of eleven
years. Before Tucson, I was city manager of Sedona, Arizona. Sedona is world-renowned as a premier vacation destination. Prior to
Sedona I was city manager of Winooski, Vermont, which is a city next to Burlington, Vermont. Before Winooski I was an assistant
town manager in Amherst, Massachusetts, and assistant to the city manager in Charlottesville, Virginia. I started as a city
management intern in Kansas City, Missouri. I have worked in municipal governments for 34 years, with cities ranging in size from
6,000 to 500,000 in population. I have a master's degree in public administration from the University of Kansas.
Pat McDermott: I am from Denver, Colorado and grew up there. I went to college at Colorado State University and
graduate school at University of Colorado, Denver. First municipal position was as a community development specialist and then
assistant city manager for Chickasha, Oklahoma. Then I was city manager for Las Vegas, New Mexico and Brighton, Colorado. My last
position was as assistant city manager for Chandler, Arizona. These very fun work experiences were over a 38-year period.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in local government?
ML: City management found me. Initially I wanted, but decided my senior year of college to not pursue a law
degree. I applied to the MPA program at the University of Kansas and to my surprise was accepted. When I entered the program I
wanted to go into hospital administration. Why hospital administration? They paid very well. The MPA program had a HUD Scholarship
for city management. HUD was trying to encourage more minorities and women to pursue city management. I took the scholarship and
have not regretted my decision.
I become totally committed to profession after the director of our program was killed at KU. He had a lot of faith in me when I
really did not believe that city management was the right career for me. Scott Brooks was the reason I grew to love this
profession then and now.
PM: I really did not know what I was doing in life. I just got out of the Army, had a degree in sociology and
the job market was terrible, so of course, I went back to school. I happened to take an intro to public administration class
and it just felt like, "this is it." As simple as it sounds, that one class provided me complete focus toward a career choice
that I never once regretted.
Please tell us about your history and involvement with ACMA.
ML: I have been involved in ACMA as a board member and speaker at conferences since 2001.
PM: I serve on the Committee on Professional Conduct for ACMA. I also chaired an ad hoc committee to review the
ACMA ethics program.
As a local government professional, what accomplishments are you most proud of?
ML: My greatest accomplishments are the friends that I made during my career, always giving 100% to every job, and
caring about the communities and employees I worked with over the years.
PM: When I took the job in Las Vegas at least 30% of the city's residential streets were not paved. By the time I
left all were paved. While paved streets are not glamorous and are taken for granted in many communities, I had a real sense of
satisfaction in bringing a much higher standard of city service to those residents.
In Chandler I am most proud of having worked with and supported, over 24 years, so many councils and managers in Chandler in evolving
the city organization into a very efficient public service operation that effectively supports a significant business economy with
state-wide importance and benefit.
What do you hope to accomplish in your role as an ACMA Senior Advisor?
ML: To build on the great job that Lloyd and Mike did for the members. Pat and I are committed to finding more ways
to be accessible and help members.
PM: I would like to provide advice, consultation, and support to members that they may not be able to get
elsewhere. Additionally, with Mike's help, be that second, third, or fourth opinion that the member can use to make better
decisions that will make their jobs easier and their career paths clearer.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
ML: When you are really mad and about to go over the edge on something at work, give it a rest for 24 hours. You have
been under siege by the press, some members of council and even city staff. Even if you have been prudent and ethical in your actions,
it is always a better approach to reflect and pray first before taking action. I followed this advice and have advised others my whole
life on this simple principle. Unfortunately, I did not follow it at the end of my career.
The second bit of advice is to take care of yourself do not let the profession define who you are as a person. Someday the title, invites,
challenges, accomplishments, etc. all come to an end. In the end, I was just Mike and I worked very hard during my career at staying true
to who I am.
PM: Always put yourself in the other person's shoes. You will serve them much better.