News from the Institute for Local Government
January 2021
A Message From ILG's Executive Director
Happy New Year from Team ILG!

So far in 2021 we’ve learned critical lessons about the fragility of our nation’s representative democracy, the importance of peaceful transitions of power and the need for strong governance and leadership at both the national and local levels. 

The democratic process – including public engagement and civic participation – often begins at the local level. That’s why local government leaders have a unique opportunity right now to model strong leadership and good governance to reinforce the value of this country's democratic institutions and processes.

For more than 65 years, ILG has been dedicated to upholding and promoting good governance. We champion leadership and promote civility in our discourse. However, encouraging and promoting civil discourse does not mean that we should sacrifice our core values or our ideals for the sake of compromise. 

As our nation attempts to bridge divides and achieve unity, we must ask ourselves what kinds of conversations we should be having in our homes, our communities and our local government chambers. How can we have meaningful and honest discussions that find common ground, while also addressing historical inequities and re-building trust? How can we lead by example and demonstrate empathy, showcase humanity, center equity and uphold democracy?

This month’s newsletter has themes related to Leadership, Communication, Governance & Democracy. In it, we highlight some online resources and tools that will help local government leaders better navigate these challenging times of transition. The newsletter also recognizes the new board leadership at our three affiliate organizations, introduces a new ILG board member and previews some exciting trainings and funding opportunities on the horizon.

For the past 10 months, most local government leaders have been working hard to survive the pandemic and adapt to the “new normal.” You have demonstrated great resilience in the face of concurrent disasters and unexpected crises. We all hope that a COVID-19 vaccine will be disseminated quickly and effectively so our communities can resume their normal activities and begin to truly recover. However, some of the issues and challenges explored in this month’s newsletter existed well before the pandemic and were only exacerbated by it. Understanding that nuance will help us tackle these issues and move forward with stronger and more unified communities in the days ahead. 

We hope you find this information useful. Please stay tuned for additional insights, programs and resources from ILG on these topics in the coming year. 

Erica L. Manuel
CEO & Executive Director
Meet ILG's Newest Board Member!
Management Specialist, City of West Hollywood 
Representing the Municipal Management Association of Southern California (MMASC)

Q. What leadership qualities do you think are important for local government officials at this moment in our history?
Empathy is the single-most important quality for local government leaders to embrace. The City of West Hollywood recognizes, in its mission, that we must be proactive in responding to the unique needs of our diverse community. Our city also has a core value of respect and support for people. The year 2020 highlighted in so many different ways -- from the COVID-19 pandemic to the Black Lives Matter movement -- that social, economic and racial inequities continue to take root in our communities. We must work to overcome these inequities. We’re all shaped by different cultures, experiences and norms and, in our work at the local government level, we must develop empathy — the ability to understand and share the feelings of others and see something from a new perspective. Authentic leadership is built on mutual respect, thoughtfulness and compassion.
Free Leadership and Governance Resources from ILG 
Free Civility, Conversation & Engagement Resources
from Other Organizations
Public Safety Reform & Innovation Webinar Series, Hosted by RPLG

Save the Date: The Catalyst and the Context for Reform 
Friday, March 12, 2021 at 9:30 a.m.

Moderated by ILG CEO & Executive Director Erica L. Manuel
The killing of George Floyd was the spark, but the fuel for the current outcry for police reform had been building for a long time amidst shootings of unarmed people of color, a broken criminal justice system and structural racial and socio-economic inequities. 

How can we channel public outrage and demands for radical restructuring toward positive changes in the paradigm of public safety and policing? A new webinar series hosted by ILG partner Renne Public Law Group will explore these complex issues and more. 

The first session will be moderated by ILG’s CEO & Executive Director, Erica L. Manuel. It will set the stage for exploring proposed public safety reforms and innovations by seeking to more fully understand the core problems in the current public safety model.

Save the date! Registration details coming soon.

About the Public Safety Reform and Innovation Webinar Series
Public agencies across the nation are re-examining policing and public safety amidst public demands for reform, exploration of alternative approaches and racial justice. This webinar series will focus on current reform and restructuring efforts and necessary steps to implement change. The program is geared toward city and county officials, managers, police leadership and others interested in actionable steps toward safer and more equitable police practices and alternative public safety models.
Featuring presentations by policymakers, former police chiefs, experts in alternatives to traditional approaches and community advocates, the series will cover a variety of topics including oversight models, labor issues, best practices on use-of-force policies and crowd control, and alternative public safety approaches. Speakers will provide real-world examples and cover practical approaches that advance multiple public policy goals in this challenging field.
Registration is FREE and sessions will be held on various Fridays from 9:30 – 11:15 a.m. from March – April 2021.

For more information, visit:
ILG is the non-profit training and education affiliate of the League of California Cities, the California State Association of Counties and the California Special Districts Association.

Mayor Cheryl Viegas-Walker has served on the El Centro City Council since 1997 and this is her sixth time serving as Mayor of El Centro. In addition to being this year’s League of California Cities Board President, Cheryl is a Past President of the Cal Cities Women's Caucus. She represents El Centro on the Imperial County Transportation Commission (ICTC), Local Transportation Authority, and the Service Authority for Freeway Emergencies. Mayor Viegas-Walker is also the ICTC representative to the California Association of Councils of Governments, where she serves as President. Read bio.

Upcoming Cal Cities Events & Conferences for City Leaders

2021 Cal Cities Annual Conference & Expo is Now Accepting Session Proposals!
Proposals are due Wednesday, March 31.
Learn more and submit here.
The 2021 California State Association of Counties (CSAC) Board President is Former ILG Board Member, Supervisor James Gore

In 2013, James Gore was elected to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors after running a campaign built on inclusiveness and a commitment to own the future and deliver for the residents of Sonoma County. Beyond his work as County Supervisor, James also serves on several county, regional, statewide and national organizations.

CSAC Institute for Excellence in County Government Winter-Spring 2021 Registration is Now Open!
Learn more and enroll here. Additional classes will be added throughout the semester.
The California Special Districts Association (CSDA) 2021 Board President is Ryan Clausnitzer, CSDM

Ryan Clausnitzer is the General Manager at the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District. He is an experienced General Manager and Board Member with a broad background focused on improving equitable public health outcomes through innovations, collaborations, and efficiencies. “Leading an agency of our size requires the general manager to become the agency’s fiscal, human resource, board procedures, and operational expert. Coming from city, county, and national governments to working in special districts as staff, as a board member, the board President, and now a general manager provides me with a unique and valuable perspective. As a trustee I completed the Special District Leadership Academy and as a general manager I attend the Board Secretary/Clerk training as well.

CSDA is partnering with USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and Southern California Edison to present Emergency Preparedness Summit 2021, a CSDA Summit on disaster risk reduction and risk management. CSDA members will earn a certificate from USC Sol Price School of Public Policy Executive Education Forum for their attendance. 

FREE for CSDA members. 

Learn more and register here.
Funding Opportunity:
Community Development Block Grant Mitigation Program
Deadline to Apply: Friday, February 19, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.
The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) recently announced a Notice of Funding Availability for approximately $22.4 million­ in funding from the Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) fund for the Resilience Planning and Public Services Program.

In response to the disaster events of 2017, HCD dedicated resources to create the Resilient Planning and Public Services Program to fund eligible jurisdictions and non-profit entities to create projects to address risks to, or across, community lifelines that support human health and safety and provide mitigation for individual and community-based systems.

  • Applicants who do not have a profile set-up already in the eCivis Grants Network system are encouraged to set-up profiles in the eCivis portal here.
  • The NOFA application can be accessed and submitted through in eCivis here.
News From Our Partners
Legal Alert: Campaign-Related Public Spending

Government agencies must disclose their spending of public money to influence voters in passing or opposing measures, or advocating for election or defeat of a candidate, a California trial court said in upholding Fair Political Practices Commission regulations. Read more.
Article: Do Something!

Big challenges facing local governments are urgent and demand action and, although it can be unclear how to act, leaders must act anyway. To paraphrase Tom Peters, great leaders have a “bias for action." They do something to move forward, fix things up, and learn as they go. 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.