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Catherine Smith
202.962.3632

New ICMA Campaign Focuses on Value of Professional Managers in Local Government

Life, Well Run, a National Campaign, Seeks to Raise Awareness of Role of Professional Local Government Managers, Who Typically Are Unknown to Public

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Most people who live in our communities have little or no understanding of the important role that professional city, town, and county managers make in the quality of their lives. To address this issue, Life, Well Run, a national campaign to raise awareness of and appreciation for the role professional local government managers play in leading effective, efficient, and ethical local governments and the value they bring to building great communities has been launched by ICMA, the International City/County Management Association.

More than 73 percent of cities, towns, and counties across the United States with populations of 2,500 or more have established the nonpartisan position of professional manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of their local government. Yet, few individuals understand this position, which carries out the policy vision and goals established by elected officials.  Only one-third of the individuals who responded to a Harris poll knew that city, town, and county managers oversee the day-to-day operations of their community, and only five percent could describe what a manager does or the important role he or she plays in shaping a community.

A New National Awareness Campaign

ICMA’s Life, Well Run campaign seeks to bridge this awareness gap among three target audiences: elected officials, business and civic leaders, and students. So far, the campaign has raised more than $1.3 million from private donations, which has been used to purchase advertising in print and digital media, and produce fourteen public service videos that feature elected officials, business owners, and civic leaders explaining the role and value of professional local government managers.

The advertising for the campaign features three analogies that encourage audiences to think about the relationship between themselves and a professional local government manager: “Every Coach Needs a Quarterback,” “Every Symphony Needs a Conductor,” and “Every Explorer Needs a Navigator.” Digital advertising began in July and print advertising will appear this fall in national and state publications that influence the target groups.

Why Life, Well Run?

The current generation of managers, inspired to enter public service by John F. Kennedy’s 1961 Inaugural Address, is nearing retirement, creating a potential leadership vacuum in local government. Without an awareness of the importance of professional local government management, the next generation of individuals needed to replace the current generation of managers are unlikely to choose careers in this field.

Also, the work of local government has never been more important. As political gridlock on the federal and state levels increases and funding from those sources decreases, local governments are being asked to do more with less. It’s imperative that local governments have a large pool of educated, experienced, nonpartisan, and talented managers to meet the challenges of the coming decades.

Life, Well Run seeks to attract this next generation, primarily college and graduate students.

In addition to the videos and advertisements, the Life, Well Run campaign has developed a number of resources for individuals and communities interested in voluntarily bringing the campaign to their state, community, or school.

For more information about how local governments work and the role that professional managers play, visit the official Life, Well Run website at www.lifewellrun.org.

For more information about Life, Well Run or how to obtain a packet of campaign resources, contact Catherine Smith, Campaign Manager, at 202-962-3632 or csmith@icma.org.

About ICMA
ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, advances professional local government worldwide. The organization’s mission is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional management to build sustainable communities that improve people’s lives.

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