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Cal-ICMA / Programs / Preparing the Next Generation

Preparing the Next Generation

Next Generation


1. A Call to Action
Frank Benest
2. Sharing Personal Journeys
Nadine P. Levin and Ed Everett
3. What Aspiring Managers and Chief Executives Say: Themes from Focus Groups and E-Mail Surveys
Tim O'Donnell, Jennifer Phillips, and Bill Garrett
4. The Ultimate Community Service
Elizabeth K. Kellar
5. The Top Job. . .Who Needs It?
Jan Perkins
6. Getting Past the Paper Cut: What Executive Recruiters Say about Landing That First City Manager (or Assistant City Manager) Job
Catherine Standiford
7. We’re in This Together: Managers and Assistants in Powerful Partnerships
Audrey Seymour
8. Help Wanted: What Can Elected Officials Do to Attract Young People to Public Service?
Frank Benest
9. Self-Development Strategies for Aspiring Managers
Audrey Seymour
10. 39 Best Practices for Preparing the Next Generation
Frank Benest
Appendices: Case Studies of Local Government Programs and Resources

A Guide for Current and Future Local Government Managers

Local government management is in the midst of a quiet crisis. Today’s managers are nearing retirement, and fewer young professionals are in line and prepared to fill their shoes. Attracting and retaining qualified young and midcareer professionals is further complicated by today’s political culture, which teaches young people that government service is bureaucratic, second-rate work. As a result, many potential candidates overlook the deep satisfaction that comes from leading a local government through times of innovation and change. At the same time, few public managers consider that they are also responsible for the critical job of developing young and mid-career talent.

Preparing the Next Generation—A Guide for Current and Future Local Government Managers was developed to inspire young and mid-career professionals and to help the senior public manager prepare, develop, and motivate the next generation. The guide compiles information and data obtained from interviews, survey research, and best practices identified by a working group from the City Managers Department of the League of California Cities and others through a partnership with the California City Management Foundation and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

This invaluable resource highlights the personal views and experiences of a select group of city and county administrators who believe it is their responsibility to mentor and support aspiring managers. The guide conveys

  • The exciting essence of public service—what it means to work in local government
  • The rewards of performing the top job in a local government organization
  • The role of elected officials in attracting new talent to local government
  • Perspectives of executive recruiters who evaluate up-and-comers
  • Strategies for assistants who want to develop powerful partnerships with their managers
  • Self-development strategies for aspiring managers
  • Best practices for senior managers in preparing the next generation.

Preparing the Next Generation provides the language—in the form of firsthand accounts from seasoned professionals—that managers can use to attract and retain gifted and talented young adults and qualified individuals from other fields to careers in local government management.


The Diversity Subcommittee of the Preparing the Next Generation Committee of Cal-ICMA has built two useful tools to help link employers and job seekers.  Browse the many resources and connect with colleagues at these two sites:



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