'Collaboration will make us successful’
Monday, August 12, 2019
By Rodney Dickerson, NCCCMA President
For those who were not able to attend, we had a fantastic conference in Wilmington a few weeks ago. Officers for the new year were sworn in. Thank you, Grant, for his tremendous year of leadership and service to the Association. I am honored to be selected as your 2019-2020 NCCCMA President.
I want to thank the Town of Garner and the elected officials for the opportunities it has given me over the last 18 years. I want to thank my co-workers for all they do. I also want to thank my family for their patience and understanding.
It seems like it was just yesterday that I was sitting about midway back in the Winter Conference soaking in as much information as I could. I remember conversing with others who were fairly new to the profession and who were eager to get involved where we could. In my journey I have been inspired by so many other managers and assistants. This Association has embraced me from the start. I also learned so much from my time as Vice Chair and later in my time as Chair of the Program Committee.
I got my interest in local government while working as a building inspector in Cary for eight years and interacting with department heads and the managers on various Town committees. I want to thank Mary Lou Rand (now Todd) who took a chance at hiring me literally the day I completed comps in the NC State MPA program. Some people still ask me today, “how did you go from being a building inspector to a Town Manager?” Everybody’s journey is different and there are many pathways---the important thing is that I made it. I also want to thank Hardin Watkins for his guidance and allowing me the opportunities to stay involved and to become active and engaged in professional development. I learned a lot from watching his passion for local government and the lessons he shared from his mentors. This shows a Duke and a Carolina grad can work productively together. So Mike, Carl and Kim: you have nothing to worry about.
The ICMA Code of Ethics has been my playbook and all of you have been my coaches. And speaking of ethics, there has been too much mention of corruption in our State. I am tired of it and I hope you are too. That is not who we are and definitely not a reflection on what we do. We all need to do whatever we can to uplift our profession and re-affirm to those that we serve and those that wish to follow us that we are a noble profession that works hard every day to make our communities better.
Many of you have been asking what my platform will be. In many ways the game plan has been set.
This is an important year ahead for the Association. We just signed on to a major change that will carry us forward for years to come. Our partnership with the UNC-School of Government is at the forefront of my agenda. The documents have been signed, now it’s time to put the plan into action. The great staff and I are committed to making this a great relationship. The playbook for this partnership will be the Strategic Plan. Over the next year I want to emphasize our Strategic Plan as a guiding document for all that we do. I want it to be more prevalent and visible and will work with the SOG to make this happen.
We look forward to what this partnership can do for our Association to sustain and market the career of professional local government management.
At the same time, we are appreciative of our journey with the NCLM and where we are today. I expect that relationship will strengthen and be an asset for all involved. We will also continue to build on our relationship with the NCACC. Professional management is multi-faceted and ever-changing, so it will take collaboration with both organizations for us to be successful.
We are also in a state of transformation when it comes to our membership. We have committed to mentoring and guiding young students to our profession through our support of MPA scholarships, coaching, and our commitment to see Lead for NC succeed. Now it is time to look at our procedures and programs to see if there are any gaps to fill that will attract the brightest emerging leaders to our profession. This is not an attempt to change the Association but to respond to our changing society. We manage complex situations in cities and counties every day. Surely, we can figure out a way to strengthen the pipeline to sustain our profession with educated and experienced local government professionals that desire to fill our shoes someday. I think we can have meaningful dialogue.
There is a lot of work to do. And as you can see, there are several slots open on the committees for you to fill in. I can’t do it alone. I encourage you to submit the Committee Volunteer interest form on the Association.
At the end of the day no matter who we partner with or what changes we propose, it is Your Association, it is My Association, it is OUR Association. We must all work together to propel it forward. Thank you.