Every local government wants the perfect volunteer position — one that serves the organization and the community, as well as benefits the volunteer. To achieve that vision, local governments need a successful volunteer program: one that is transformative, elevated, and prioritized as critical to meeting the overall mission and vision of the organization. These programs also need to appeal to the multiple generations that exist in our communities today, for example:

  • In a recent article co-written by Marc Ott, executive director of ICMA, and Myung J. Lee, executive director of Cities of Service, both emphasize that in order to revitalize…

E-health, e-tax, i-voting, and the list goes on. This isn’t just a collection of far-fetched technological advances. These are just a few of the digitized services available to the 1.3 million residents of Estonia and what could be available to local governments around the world in 2019.

Independent from Russia since 1991, the Republic of Estonia has worked hard to create what it calls a “most advanced digital society in the world.” Beginning in 1997, Estonia began its digitization process with “e-governance,” a strategic choice to increase the well-being of its citizens, while implementing “hassle free governance.”

Estonia is in…


At a time when digital technologies and connectivity are advancing at an exponential rate, it can be quite challenging for communities to keep up with the change. As communities start to pursue smart city concepts, it is important for local governments to position their organizations, their priorities, and their goals to maximize the use of technology to improve the lives of residents.

During her presentation at the 2018 ICMA Annual Conference, Ashley Hand, co-founder of CityFi and former chief innovation officer for the city of Kansas City, Missouri, shared key insights that can be used by all local governments, regardless…


In a time of growing global migration, the number of immigrants around the world has increased. According to the Pew Research Center, more than 1 million immigrants have arrived in the United States each year since 2001. They have spread out across the country, settling in cities and counties where they can find social and economic opportunities.

A growing number of cities and counties have decided to take an active role in supporting immigrant populations. Although the way that communities decide to take action may vary, at the core of their mission is creating a more equitable and inclusive community


As we come to the end of October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it is important to reflect on an issue that communities can face when combatting domestic violence: housing for survivors. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children. More shockingly, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, more than half (51.5 percent) of domestic violence victims who identified a need for housing services did not receive them. …


October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is encouraging citizens and local governments to increase their resiliency by having the resources to prepare and respond to online cyberattacks. We know that cyberattacks on local governments and their service delivery systems can be disastrous for communities and put residents at risk.

As a leader in helping local governments prepare for disasters and emergencies, ICMA conducted a survey in 2016, in partnership with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, to better understand cybersecurity practices of jurisdictions. …


The Smart Cities movement has garnered tremendous attention from local government leaders over the past five years, but what do we mean by a “smart city” or a “smart community”? For some communities, becoming a smart city is all about technology and integrating it into the daily operations of local government departments. It’s having access to real-time data for work crews in the field. For others, it’s about automating systems, enabling residents to make service requests from their smartphone or on the government’s website. …


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A new nuisance near the top of many residents’ lists is a somewhat unexpected one. Gone are the days of complaints regarding loud parties or backfiring cars; this is the era of recreational drones. Complaints regarding privacy, trespassing, and general nuisance concerns are not uncommon for local governments to deal with in 2017, and the problem is expected to get much worse with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimating that nearly 21 million recreational drones could be flying in American airspace by 2021.

Despite the rapid deployment and sale of these recreational drones, our local governments are struggling to keep…


Adobe Stock

Engaging residents and other stakeholders in the community-building process is essential to a jurisdiction’s success. Such engagement can increase understanding, result in better and more sustainable decisions, and build trust. It can also foster more cohesive communities and increase resident satisfaction. The biggest challenge for local government managers is to understand which strategies and tools to use to create a sense of belonging within their communities, regardless of size. The content below provides insight into the manager’s role in the engagement process, as well as a combination of strategies and tools that produce meaningful engagement.

Football Pads for Community Engagement, Bad Idea?

Our choice is in our…


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Discussions about drone technology have been all the buzz for local government over the past few years. With that buzz came grandiose ideas and brainstorming sessions of how to use drones to better serve constituents — some of which are just now coming to fruition. Many show the immense benefits government can obtain for disaster recovery, resiliency, and resource planning.

Drone technology, equipped with high-resolution video and photography capabilities, provides a brand-new opportunity for many government agencies. Images alone, however, can only accomplish so much.

Although the video and photo resolution far surpasses what has been available in the past…

International City/County Management Association

Creating and supporting thriving communities.

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