News from the Institute for Local Government
May 2021
A Message From ILG's CEO & Executive Director
Greetings from ILG,

And what a difference a year makes! The past 12 months have been a whirlwind for all of us. Looking back, I feel immense pride when I think of the commitment and the resolve of California’s local government leaders during these trying times. 

In this month’s ILG newsletter, we celebrate and recognize California’s thousands of public servants as part of Public Service Recognition month. We acknowledge the significant progress local government leaders have made, as well as the sacrifices, the difficult decisions, the crucial conversations and the sleepless nights. We thank you. We also invite local agencies to share some of their outreach and recruitment materials as we explore the most effective ways to attract the next generation of local government staff and public servants.

We were saddened to say farewell to longtime ILG board member, Hal Conklin, this month. Hal leaves behind a proud legacy of public service and volunteerism, which is noted below. Hal will be sorely missed at ILG and the countless other organizations he supported with his time and talents. 

In this issue, you’ll also find a robust lineup of training and education for elected officials and staff at cities, counties and special districts, with topics ranging from wildfires to housing to financial recovery. The ILG sessions are free of charge and designed to help local leaders navigate complexity, build capacity and increase trust in their communities.

As we embark on a long holiday weekend, we also want to give thanks to those in our US military who paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our many freedoms. To the families and friends of those fallen soldiers, we salute you. 

With respect and solidarity, 

Erica L. Manuel
CEO & Executive Director
Remembering Hal Conklin -
Dedicated Public Servant

ILG is saddened by the recent passing of beloved board member Hal Conklin. As a longtime mayor and council member in Santa Barbara, Hal dedicated his life to public service and volunteerism. He was a tireless advocate for local government, community and the environment. His quick wit and sound guidance will truly be missed. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family, friends and colleagues.
ILG Pillar Spotlight: Workforce and Civics Education
By Randi Kay Stephens, Senior Program Manager

Public service is a calling. Those that work in our cities, towns, counties, special districts, regional governments and agencies work tirelessly to fulfill a duty and be of service to their communities. The team at ILG commends you for that service.

ILG’s Workforce & Civics Education Pillar helps agencies prepare a skilled and diverse workforce of the future by educating the public about the role of local government, and by sharing best practices and providing technical assistance to local governments on workforce pipeline strategies. 

Local government leaders have the power to inspire people of all ages, backgrounds and skillsets to work within local government, starting with educating them about the roles and responsibilities of local government. By partnering with educational institutions, vocational programs and other partners, local agencies can develop training, recruitment and engagement programs that attract diverse and promising talent, helping their agencies better reflect the community. 
In May, we celebrate California’s public servants and applaud local government staff and elected officials for their commitment to building exceptional communities. 
Examining your agency’s workforce demographics and skills gaps can illustrate where your recruitment, hiring, onboarding and training practices can be refined. In 2021, ILG’s Workforce & Civics Education Pillar will highlight some of the local initiatives public sector agencies are taking to connect the next generation to public service. We will unveil a digital toolkit for connecting new and younger audiences to local government and host numerous webinars and conference sessions on filling the workforce pipeline with both equity and innovation in mind. We’re excited to support our cities, counties and special districts by sharing what works and providing resources that address contemporary challenges. 
Share Your Recruiting Materials
Send your materials to ILG and be included in our Next Generation Workforce Report

ILG has received funding from The California Endowment to develop a toolkit for local policymakers and staff that includes resources on how to engage with young people about careers in public service. If your agency is actively recruiting and communicating with younger generations regarding any of the below topics, please share your materials with us! 

Interested in learning more? Have a resource to share? Want to work with ILG on your youth engagement programs? Reach out to Randi Kay Stephens at
Housing Webinar: Effective Leadership in Housing and Development
Session 3 of “Tackling California's Housing Crisis” Webinar Series
Thursday, June 3, 2021
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
More than half of renters and a third of homeowners in California are cost burdened – or spend more than a third of their income on housing. This webinar will provide an overview of California’s housing crisis, the development process, barriers to more housing development and the basics of the regional housing needs assessment (RHNA) allocations and help local elected officials navigate their role in addressing the housing crisis.

Registration is free.

  • Carolyn Coleman, Executive Director, League of California Cities
  • Graham Knaus, Executive Director, California State Association of Counties
  • John Hidahl, Supervisor, El Dorado County 
  • Ma’Ayn Johnson, Housing Program Manager, Southern California Association of Governments & former Planning Commissioner, City of Fullerton
  • Cindy Silva, Councilmember, City of Walnut Creek

Moderated by Melissa Kuehne, Senior Program Manager, Institute for Local Government
About the Tackling California’s Housing Crisis Series
California’s housing crisis is growing. To help city and county leaders better navigate complex housing issues in their communities, ILG is hosting a webinar series featuring subject matter experts on land use and housing, legal regulations and parameters and community engagement. This series will provide information and best practices, facilitate strategic discussions and answer questions to help local governments better address housing issues in our communities.

Sessions take place the first Thursday of every month at 2:00 pm, April through October 2021.

Upcoming Sessions:
  • Equity and Housing: Meeting and Exceeding California’s Fair Housing Requirements: July 1
  • Strategies to Engage Your Community on Housing Issues: August 5
  • Climate-Resilient Land Use & Housing Policies: September 2
  • Housing Strategies to Tackle Homelessness: October 7

This webinar series is hosted by ILG in partnership with:
 Recovery or Relapse? Tools to Help Local Governments Navigate the Financial Realities of COVID
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
2:00 pm
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged many local government revenues and budgets. As California begins to reopen, local agencies are assessing their options to be able to continue to provide essential services and programming. Join ILG, HdL Companies and other experts to hear an update on the state of local government finances and learn about creative options available to local governments to bolster revenues. This webinar will discuss tax measures, EIFDs and other available tools to help local governments continue to navigate into the future.

  • Bobby Young, Principal, HdL Companies 
  • Tim Seufert, Managing Director, NBS
  • Pat West, Former City Manager, City of Long Beach

Moderated by Melissa Kuehne, Senior Program Manager, Institute for Local Government
This webinar is hosted by ILG in partnership with:
Wildfire Risk & Resilience
Thursday, June 10, 2021
10:00 am - 11:30 am
Wildfires have become more expensive and damaging in recent decades, costing billions of dollars every year. Since 2005, more than 89,000 structures have been destroyed by wildfire. In the last 20 years, wildfires threatened nearly 2,000 U.S. communities. Unfortunately, the long-term impacts of wildfire disasters are felt most acutely at the local level with more than 45% of recovery and restoration costs borne by cities, counties, small businesses and property owners.

Until recently, many communities had no way of quantifying their wildfire risk. A new tool, Wildfire Risk to Communities, is designed to help community leaders such as elected officials, community planners and fire managers understand how risk varies across a state, region or county and prioritize mitigation activities to reduce risk.

Join this webinar to learn how to use the tool and to hear from leaders across the country that are building wildfire resilience through grant opportunities, by using data to mitigate risk for the most vulnerable populations and responding to and adapting to population migration from neighboring communities given wildfire risk and disasters.

  • Carolyn Coleman, Executive Director of the League of California Cities
  • Chris Chambers, Ashland, Oregon, Wildfire Division Chief
  • Justice Jones, Austin, Texas Wildfire Mitigation Program Manager

Moderated by Erica L. Manuel, CEO and Executive Director, Institute for Local Government
This webinar series is hosted by ILG in partnership with:
Beacon Award Application Open!
Beacon Award Application Period Open Through July 31, 2021
Now is the perfect time to join over 160 California cities and counties that are committed to advancing sustainability in their communities and promoting safer and healthier places to live, work and play.  ILG’s Beacon Program provides recognition and support for California local agencies that are working to build more vibrant, climate-conscious and sustainable communities. We’re now accepting new members and new award applications. New for 2021, special districts are also eligible to join the program. Learn more.

This year, we’re excited to unveil some changes to the Beacon Awards program that will expand opportunities for local governments to be recognized. 

Beacon Vanguard & Spotlight Awards: Apply for award consideration for the silver, gold and platinum levels. New this year is the opportunity to apply for a lithium-level Spotlight Award in greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Learn more and apply.

New! Leadership & Innovation Awards: Whether your agency is a Beacon participant or not, ILG invites cities, counties, special districts and Beacon Champions to apply for our brand-new competitive award categories. Learn more about eligibility and apply.
Check out this video to learn more about what’s new in 2021. Beacon Award applications will be accepted through July 31.
Western City Magazine
BOOSTing Economic Development and Equity in California Communities
By Karalee Browne, Assistant Executive Director
Just prior to the pandemic, ILG partnered with the California Strategic Growth Council to launch a pilot program called BOOST. The program was designed to help under-resourced communities build capacity to advance their climate, equity and economic development goals. Through this program, ILG worked with 10 cities and two regions to develop projects and programs that promote more equitable, just and economically-thriving communities.

The BOOST communities included the cities of Arcata, Arvin, Bakersfield, East Palo Alto, El Centro, Mammoth Lakes, Paramount, Salinas, San Diego and Ventura, and regions in the San Joaquin Valley and the Coachella Valley. The lessons learned from BOOST will help refine future state programs for local governments. Find out how. 
ILG is the non-profit training and education affiliate of Cal Cities, the California State Association of Counties and the California Special Districts Association.
CSDA General Manager Leadership Summit
The Resort at Squaw Valley

The General Manager Leadership Summit provides the best networking and professional development opportunities for special district general managers and other management staff from districts of all types and sizes throughout California. 

Come together with others facing the same challenges and opportunities, learn from expert instructors and return to your district refreshed and re-energized. Consider sending an emerging leader from your district to this conference – it could be the first step in preparing our next generation of special district general managers.

ILG's CEO & Executive Director Erica L. Manuel will be speaking during the Summit at a session titled, “Authentic Public Engagement: Strategies & Tools for Managers” Monday, June 28 from 11:00 am -12:15 pm. 
CSAC Challenge Awards

The 2021 Call for Entries will go out in July. Please stay tuned for more information. To ensure you receive information, send your name and email to David Liebler at

CSAC Institute Classes Are Open For Registration

The CSAC Institute for Excellence in County Government classes focus on county government leadership. Browse the course catalog here.

Featured Class: Initiating, Navigating and Negotiating the Dynamics of Change in County Government - July 15, 2021
This course focuses on changing policy and administrative approaches in county government. The course discussion explores a six-part framework developed from change processes in children’s services, health services, homelessness and other issues for underserved or vulnerable communities challenging county governments in California. Learn more.
Cal Cities 2021 Annual Conference & Expo
September 22-24, 2021
An In-Person Event!

Join Cal Cities and fellow city officials from throughout the state for their in-person annual conference in Sacramento. Learn, collaborate and celebrate with unparalleled educational and networking forums, including dynamic panel discussions, keynotes, breakout sessions and opportunities to connect directly with your peers. ILG will be hosting several educational sessions throughout the conference. Stay tuned for more details! 
News From Our Partners
Article: Lighting the Path for Future Leaders in STEM

Computer screens across California were brimming with hope as Edison International celebrated the accomplishments of 30 high school seniors who were selected as this year’s class of Edison Scholars.

“This world really needs science and technology and engineering and math, and it needs smart people, it needs leaders and it needs people with good hearts to change the world,” said Pedro J. Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International. “I’m glad we have 30 of you here who are going to have a huge impact, and I’m proud that our company will play a little part in your future success.” Read more.
Article: Capture Your Wins

If someone asked you to explain what your city has accomplished this year, what would you tell them? More importantly, what would you show them?

Imagery is one of your best tools (aside from metrics) to demonstrate the progress your city and staff have made, especially on long term initiatives. Images tell a quick story in the flash of a second and–in an era when everyone has a camera built into their phone–society has been trained to expect a photo to “prove” claims that are made. Plus, people react to imagery much more than words, and social media data proves it.
Article: U.S. Treasury Releases New Guidance on the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund

The U.S. Treasury released new guidance on the certification process for entities that will be receiving a direct payment from the U.S. Treasury under the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Fund authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act. Read more.
Article: Utility Users Tax - The Stable Revenue?

Utility Users Tax was a truly stable source of local government revenue for decades but has been significantly impacted over the last several years. Read more.
Case Study: City of Monterey Includes Residents in Local Commercial Cannabis Policy

To ensure local regulations reflect the wishes of residents and benefit the entire community, stakeholders in Monterey, California were invited to participate in discussions regarding commercial cannabis. These conversations lead to a roadmap for success. Read the Case Study.
Article: Overcoming the Arrogance of Expertise

Being an expert in a subject area is critical to addressing major issues, like a pandemic. But if people won't listen to you, all the expertise in the world won't help. Read more.
New PublicCEO Podcast Series

The PublicCEO Report is a video and podcast series hosted by PublicCEO owner and Tripepi Smith President Ryder Todd Smith. In each Report, Ryder sits down with a thought leader to talk policy, current events, personal experiences and challenges facing local government. Stay tuned for an upcoming episode featuring ILG's CEO and Executive Director Erica L. Manuel.
Help ILG Continue to Support Local Government

Help ILG continue to support California's cities, counties and special districts by making a donation today. Your tax-deductible contribution to the Institute for Local Government is an investment in helping educate, train and support our local public agencies. Every dollar you give will make a difference in your community.