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Maxwell supports local government at ICMA conference

October 27, 2021

ICMA Portland 2021Student, faculty and alumni participation at the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) conference in early October highlights the Maxwell School's continued and strengthened focus on training for and collaborating with state and local governments. 

"There's no better proof of Maxwell's commitment to local government than the public service impact Maxwell grads we met at the ICMA conference are having in serving communities all around the nation," said Dean David M. Van Slyke. Van Slyke presented research done at the Maxwell School on drone research in local governments with Tina Nabatchi, professor of public administration and international affairs, and Jamie Winders, professor of geography and director of Syracuse University's Autonomous Systems Policy Institute, at the conference. 

ICMA's mission—training people to serve in key management and leadership positions in local governments—aligns with Maxwell's longstanding commitment to enhance public service delivery, strengthen communities and improve citizens' lives. That support is sustained through research, collaboration, outreach and executive education through several of Maxwell's leading institutes and centers. 

Interest in local and state government training at Maxwell is on the rise. Up to 20 percent of Maxwell's Master of Public Administration cohort over the past 12 years have enrolled in the three primary courses focusing on state and local government. Roughly the same percentage of Online EMPA students are currently employed by state and local governments or express interest in working in the state and local government sector. 

“M.P.A. students have run an ICMA student chapter since 2012. Several members of the student chapter attended the conference, and two recent graduates presented their M.P.A. capstone project this year, said Daniel Nelson, who is directing Maxwell’s State and Local Initiative.   

"Sending students to the ICMA conference is another way Maxwell encourages and prepares students for careers in local government," said Minch Lewis, instructor of metropolitan governance and Maxwell ICMA student chapter adviser. "Financial support, internships, and mentoring from Maxwell alums provides the scholarships and support to make it possible for students to benefit from the ICMA conference." 

Wally Bobkiewicz '89 M.P.A., city administrator of Issaquah, Washington, and a longtime Maxwell supporter, demonstrates the significant contribution alums make to support each other and the next generation of local government leaders. Jeff Towery '85 M.P.A., city manager of McMinnville, Oregon, attended all the Maxwell gatherings and will serve as ICMA president 2022-23. Towery was city manager in Auburn, New York, in the 1990s. 

Lewis, who served three terms as Syracuse's auditor, appreciated the professional camaraderie of the conference. "Over 2,000 professionals could share common experiences," he said. "Even with the Maxwell network, we are part of a much larger society serving communities across the county and around the world. The ICMA conference was inspirational." 

Maxwell expects to expand engagement with ICMA at the organization's 2022 conference, scheduled for Sept. 18-21 in Columbus, Ohio. 

"That next year's ICMA president is a Maxwell grad is just another indication of Maxwell's impact and commitment to public service education and providing the tools to strengthen leadership in local government," Van Slyke said.


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