News from the Institute for Local Government
September 2021
A Message From ILG's CEO & Executive Director
Greetings from ILG and Happy Fall!

The month of September brought a new season and some exciting new opportunities to engage with and learn from local leaders. The ILG team has enjoyed seeing so many local agency staff and elected officials at the recent CSDA and Cal Cities annual conferences. We emerged from those events inspired and invigorated, bursting with new ideas to share about leadership, housing, equity and engagement. 

You’ll see some of those ideas come to fruition in this month’s newsletter, including the launch of our new virtual leadership training for elected officials and the unveiling of a special training partnership with California 100. By popular demand, we also opened registration for an additional virtual public engagement training, which will be our last TIERS training of the year.

One highlight of the Cal Cities conference was a session on leadership fundamentals for women leaders. ILG board member Lydia Romero, the City Manager of Lemon Grove, served on the expert panel for that session and provided some relevant insights about leadership, diversity and collaboration. We’re excited to feature Lydia in our Board Member Spotlight this month in recognition of her many contributions to ILG and in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. 

We had a number of really meaningful conversations with local agency leaders in September – conversations that reinforced the continued challenges you’re facing and the need for real-world solutions that work at the local level. In the near future, we’ll be unveiling even more resources and partnerships related to our four programmatic pillars of Leadership & Governance, Sustainability, Public Engagement and Workforce & Civics Education. The year is passing quickly, but we have a number of exciting projects on the horizon in the coming months. See below for the latest news from ILG and our partners, and stay tuned for even more updates in the coming weeks!


Erica L. Manuel
CEO & Executive Director
Board Member Spotlight: Lydia Romero
City Manager, City of Lemon Grove
Q. With the increase in partisanship and polarization in local governments and across the country, what tools and strategies do you use to build consensus among your peers? What has been successful? What has been challenging? I always try to use a personal approach to help find common ground. I spend time really getting to know the person, their vision and their goals for the community. In turn, I also make sure to share with them the same things about myself. I work hard to personalize every situation and humanize my colleagues and peers so we can develop a real relationship and basis for trust and understanding. 
Q. What advice do you have for other women coming into or considering leadership positions that are heavily dominated by men? Just be your authentic self. Don’t forget why you wanted to be in a leadership position and the impact you want to make in that role. Staying true to your intentions and convictions, and having a clear vision for your future impact will help people see you as a leader.    
Q. What does it mean to you to not only be a woman, but one of Hispanic heritage serving as a City Manager? It means I have a duty to lift up other women and help them learn more about local government so they can also consider the profession of city management. As a Latina, I hope to serve as a role model for young Latinas; so they can see themselves as future Chief Executive Officers as well. With hard work and a strong belief in oneself, anything is possible. 
LEADING LOCAL: Planning for the Future
Foresight Training with California 100 and Institute For The Future
Thursday, October 21
10:00 am – 11:30 am

A Special Training Session for Local Government Leaders – FREE
Held virtually via Zoom
Is your team having the right conversations to anticipate risk, maximize opportunity and build a solid foundation for your agency’s future? 

Are you using good governance strategies to assess your decision-making approach and advance systemic change? 

If you want to get your city, county or special district to the next level in policy development and implementation, this special Leading Local session is designed for you.

In this unique training developed exclusively for local government leaders, attendees will be introduced to the new and evolving field of policy analysis using foresight research and futures thinking.

Who should attend? This session is specially curated for senior level staff and elected officials at California cities, counties and special districts. Registration is free but space is limited. 

Speakers include:
  • Karthick Ramakrishnan, PhD, Executive Director, California 100
  • Jane Mcgonigal, PhD, Director of Game Research + Development, Institute for the Future
  • Erica L. Manuel, CEO & Executive Director, Institute for Local Government
This webinar is hosted by ILG in partnership with California 100 and Institute for the Future.
About California 100
California 100 is a transformative statewide initiative focused on inspiring a vision and strategy for California’s next Century that is innovative, sustainable and equitable. The initiative harnesses the talent of a diverse array of leaders through research, policy innovation, advanced technology and stakeholder engagement. It will also draw on a multi-generational California 100 Commission to develop recommendations for the state’s future and test those recommendations across a broad set of policy areas by directly engaging Californians.

In addition to sponsoring original work, the California 100 platform will promote the best of what is happening in California. Through these various projects and activities, California 100 seeks to move California towards an aspirational vision—changing policies and practices, attitudes and mindsets, for a more vibrant future. Learn more at

About Institute for the Future
Institute for the Future is the world’s leading foresight education and futures organization. For over 50 years, businesses, governments and social impact organizations have depended upon IFTF global forecasts, custom research and foresight training to navigate complex change and develop world-ready strategies. IFTF methodologies and toolsets yield coherent views of transformative possibilities across all sectors that together support a more sustainable future. Learn more at

About the Leading Local Series
2020 was fraught with unprecedented challenges ranging from a global pandemic, to extreme natural disasters, to a divisive and polarizing election cycle. Local government leaders are being asked to step up in entirely new ways. How can they serve as role models for their communities and their peers in these ever-changing times? 

LEADING LOCAL is a thought leadership forum from ILG that is focused on addressing difficult topics and sensitive issues local government leaders face. Sessions will cover a wide range of issues and challenges like leading through conflict, civility and ethics, building personal resilience and more. 

LEADING LOCAL … because leadership starts at the local level. All LEADING LOCAL sessions will be specially curated with content for elected officials and staff at California cities, counties and special districts. 

Public Engagement Training for Local Government Leaders
ILG’s TIERS Workshop: Think – Initiate – Engage – Review – Shift

Virtual Training via Zoom
Thursday, November 18 & Friday, November 19, 2021
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Now more than ever proactive, transparent dialogue, authentic collaboration between government and communities and equitable engagement is being championed across the country. 
ILG is excited to host another session of our re-designed TIERS Public Engagement Training in a virtual format. The TIERS training offers a step-by-step framework that helps California local government leaders master the public engagement process and build trust in their communities. TIERS will help you operationalize your outreach and engagement efforts in a more sustainable and collaborative way and provide you with resources and digital tools to authentically engage your community in a post-COVID world.
This comprehensive training is open to all local government leaders in California. The content is specially designed to apply to a variety of common local agency initiatives requiring public engagement, ranging from housing and climate change to budgeting and public safety. The training sessions will take place virtually over two days, with 4-5 hours of training on each day. This will be the last chance to participate in this public engagement training in 2021. 

Registration for this comprehensive training is just $600,
a cost savings of more than 15% from 2019. 
Deadline to Register: Friday, November 5
Level Up Your Leadership 
Master Your Role as an Effective Elected Official & Community Leader
NEW Leadership Training!

Virtual Training via Zoom
Monday, December 6 & Monday, December 13, 2021
5:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Two Evenings!
Do you have an exceptional and effective council or board?

Being an elected official in local government is not an easy task. In order to navigate the shifting landscape of local government leadership, elected officials must be equipped to lead through changing, and often challenging, times. If you want to learn how to level up your leadership and master the challenging art of being an effective public servant, register for ILG’s new interactive, virtual leadership training. In this training, you’ll learn tools and strategies to help local government leaders govern more effectively and better engage with fellow electeds, agency staff and the community.

ILG’s training will help you master the art of public service by equipping you with practical governance tools for exceptional leadership and governance.

This comprehensive training is open to -- and specially designed for -- elected leaders from California cities, counties and special districts.

Cost: Just $400 per person.

  • Understand key attributes of high-performing councils and boards
  • Gain practical tools to govern more effectively
  • Learn strategies and techniques to help your agency develop an exceptional council or board
  • Gather effective techniques for public meetings
  • Learn strategies to promote civility and respond to diverse viewpoints
  • Understand various roles and responsibilities of the governing body, your agency’s administrator and staff
  • Explore community engagement strategies and collaborative decision-making processes
  • Share real-world experiences with other elected officials
  • Learn good governance tools and review examples of exceptional leadership
  • Join a cohort of local leaders for peer-to-peer networking and mutual support
Deadline to Register: Monday, November 22
Housing Strategies to Help Address the Homelessness Crisis
Tackling California's Housing Crisis Webinar Series
Thursday, October 7, 2021
2:00 pm
Over 150,000 Californians are experiencing homelessness. The COVID pandemic encouraged innovation and infused a significant amount of one-time dollars into cities and counties to help address this crisis. But what did local governments learn from this experience? Join ILG, HCD and your local government colleagues to hear about funding opportunities, strategies and lessons learned to implement housing strategies to make progress toward tackling California’s homelessness crisis.

  • Megan Hunter, Community Development Director, City of Salinas
  • Lindsey Slama, Senior Homelessness Policy Specialist, Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Cheri Todoroff, Interim Director, Homeless Initiative, Los Angeles County

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 discussion and answer questions to help local governments better address housing issues in our communities.

Upcoming Sessions:
  • New Laws and New Money: November TBD

The Tackling California's Housing Crisis Webinar Series is hosted in partnership with Placeworks and the Office of Planning and Research with funding from the California Department of Housing & Community Development.

Congratulations to This Year's Beacon Winners!
Each year, dozens of local agencies are honored with Beacon awards. The Beacon Program features three types of awards:

Beacon Spotlight Award: recognizing individual accomplishments of cities and counties participating in the Beacon Program from greenhouse gas reductions to energy savings and more.

Beacon Vanguard Award: recognizing a city or county’s holistic approach to addressing climate change. Participating agencies are required to complete each of the requirements for the five Spotlight Awards and adopt a Climate Action Plan to receive a Beacon Vanguard Award.

Leadership & Innovation Award: a new award recognizing a city, county or special district for implementing collaborative, inclusive and equitable climate resilience and adaptation programming in their communities.
Turlock Journal: TID Recognized for Advancing Sustainability Practices
The Turlock Irrigation District (TID) was awarded a Beacon Leadership and Innovation Award at CSDA’s 2021 Annual Conference held Aug. 30-Sept. 2 in Monterey. TID is the first-ever special district to receive a Beacon Award and they won for excellence in advancing environmental sustainability.

“TID is honored to be recognized for our water management operations through the 2021 Beacon Leadership & Innovation award for our leadership in climate resilience from the Institute for Local Government. Many may not associate an irrigation district with cutting edge technology, but TID is committed to harnessing the latest technology that will allow the district to make the most informed decisions, providing greater certainty to our customers, and ensuring that every last drop of water is being beneficially used,” said TID General Manager Michelle Reimers.
YubaNet.comTown of Truckee Wins Beacon Award 
for Climate Ready Truckee
The Town of Truckee recently won a Beacon Award in the Equity and Engagement in Sustainability and Climate category.

The Town of Truckee is receiving the award for equity and engagement for their Climate Change Adaptation Plan, Climate Ready Truckee, which prioritizes low-income, unhoused and non-English speaking communities within Truckee’s climate solutions.

Mayor Anna Klovstad is thrilled about the award, “We are also working with Supervisors Bullock and Hall on the Justice and Equity program. I am so proud of the Nevada County community, this proves we are more successful working together.”
CSDA Magazine: COVID has Changed Public Engagement and Created New Opportunities for Equity & Access
By Hanna Stelmakhovych, Program Manager, Institute for Local Government
The world of public engagement has shifted dramatically since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Special districts adjusted their approach and embraced virtual participation and digital engagement. As a result, many local governments saw an increase in participation in public meetings and online engagement activities.

Increased participation, decreased cost and reduced travel time are just some of the benefits of online engagement. As California begins to reopen, special districts have an opportunity to build on this virtual engagement momentum by offering a mix of online and in-person engagement activities that are aligned with needs of the demographics of their community. 
ILG is the non-profit training and education affiliate of Cal Cities, the California State Association of Counties and the California Special Districts Association.
2021 CSAC Annual Meeting
Monday, November 29 - Friday, December 3, 2021

Save the date for CSAC’s 127th Annual Meeting, scheduled for November 29 thru December 3 in Monterey County! This year’s meeting theme, Lighthouse of Leadership, exemplifies the amazing strength and determination that California’s counties have demonstrated as they led, and continue to lead, their communities through the turbulent storms of the pandemic, wildfires and other challenging circumstances to emerge more resilient, connected and strategic. 

Deadline for Early Bird Registration: October 15, 2021 (Save $50 by registering early!)

Last Day for Registration: November 12, 2021

Registration Still Open!
2021 Board Secretary/Clerk Conference
October 25-27, 2021
Premiere Training and Certificate Program for Board Secretaries and Clerks

Whether you are a new or an experienced board secretary/clerk, continuing education is essential to keeping current on the many aspects of your job. This unique certificate program expands educational opportunities for this important position in special districts and provides an opportunity to recognize individuals who invest the time in becoming trained in the various components of the job. Register Here.
CSDA Annual Conference

Special district officials and staff from throughout the state gathered in early September for CSDA’s Annual Conference in Monterey. Attendees participated in educational sessions and networking events to discuss vexing issues facing special districts and foster peer learning through sharing best practices and lessons learned. 

ILG was excited to participate in the conference, hosting educational sessions and recognizing special district participation in the Beacon Program. ILG facilitated sessions highlighted leadership and good governance by sharing resources and best practice tips for board members and executive staff. The sessions also spotlighted how districts are taking proactive and innovative approaches to mitigate the impacts of homelessness. We also awarded the first ever Beacon Leadership and Innovation Award to a special district – the Turlock Irrigation District – and recognized the Citrus Heights Water District and the El Dorado County Air Quality Management District for their participation in the program. 

Special thanks to ILG Board Member Hilary Straus, General Manager of the Citrus Heights Water District, for partnering with ILG on a conference session and providing his expertise and perspective on good governance.
ILG Hosts a Series of Educational Forums at the Cal Cities 2021 Annual Conference & Expo  
Cal Cities and fellow city officials from throughout the state came together earlier this month for an in-person annual conference in Sacramento. Attendees learned, collaborated and celebrated through unique educational and networking forums, including dynamic panel discussions, keynotes, breakout sessions and opportunities that connected them directly with their peers. ILG hosted several educational sessions throughout the conference including trainings on ethics, public engagement, addressing the housing crisis, bridging divides, fostering a culture of civility and more.

Special thanks to ILG Board Members and Corporate Partners who partnered with the ILG team on conference sessions and provided their expertise and insight:
Special District COVID-19 Relief Fund
October 1-October 15, 2021
The application for the $100 million in COVID-19 fiscal relief for independent special districts will go live on October 1 and must be submitted by October 15. Funding is anticipated to be released by the State Controller’s Office to county-auditor controllers by December 9, 2021 and released to eligible special districts within 30 days of that date.

CSDA has worked closely with the California Department of Finance (DOF) to provide special districts with the information needed to successfully apply. CSDA recently hosted a webinar where DOF discussed the allocation process, provided a preview of the web portal and answered questions. Watch the webinar recording and learn more about how to apply at the link below.
News From Our Partners
MMANC 2021 Virtual Annual Conference "Bridging the Divide"
October 13-15

Join the Municipal Management of Northern California for their 2021 virtual annual conference! This year’s conference theme is “Bridging the Divide”. The COVID-19 pandemic as well as civil unrest over the past year and a half have highlighted divisions within communities as well as opportunities to change the way things have been done as we move forward. Each day will include specific focus around this theme, including how to bridge the divide within teams, communities and programs. Learn more and register here.
Article: The Seven Ingredients of Blended Public Consultation

There are no two ways about it—COVID-19 and lived experience of lockdown created a rapid switch to online public consultation. Some people, perhaps a source of pent-up demand, were ready for this and jumped in with two feet. Other people were more reluctant and ended up doing public consultation in ways more within their comfort zones, pining for the familiar face-to-face methods of engagement.

What might blended public consultation look like in practice? Read on for seven elements we expect to see.
Article: Nextdoor Announces Automated Comment Moderation

Nextdoor periodically announced updates to its Agency platform, but one of the most recent features caught the eye: “automated comment moderation.” Per Nextdoor’s email: “Focus on connecting with your community and we’ll take care of comment moderation. If comment threads become uncivil, commenting will automatically be disabled.” Read more.
Article: Accelerating California’s Countdown to 2030

“It is clear that California is running out of time to achieve its ambitious climate goals,” said Pedro J. Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International, parent company of Southern California Edison and Edison Energy. “Policy changes and additions are needed now to ensure that California meets its 2030 greenhouse gas reduction goal — a reduction that is vital for the state to ultimately achieve its goal to decarbonize its economy by 2045.” Read more.
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.