NLC Congress of Cities

I am in Denver for the 2010 Nation League of Cities Congress of Cities. It is my intent to blog what goes on at this event. The part that I feel is the most important opportunities at these events are optional education sessions provided by the Leadership Training Institute. I will be attending for half day sessions. The fact that I am always well prepared and informed for meetings and can generate new ideas is a statement of my commitment to continuing education. I try to match my experiences at these conferences to the needs of the community.

A common question, most recently posed to me by my friend Ray Schmitz is, “Is this necessary, is it a good use of taxpayer money.” It is not necessary, as I consider food, water, shelter, and clothing to be necessary. However it is wise. I see a very strong correlation between knowledge and education on the city council. Many good ideas stem from these conferences. While some content is available via webinars, the interaction and networking is lost. Further, I specifically decline to accept my city healthcare benefits so that no net tax payer dollars are used to fund my conference expenses.

This year I am taking:

  • Building a High Performance City Through Lean Six Sigma
  • How to Inject Innovation into Local Government
  • The Restoration of Community: Fiscal Accountability and Community Engagement
  • Building Strategic Relationships to Strengthen Your Community Leadership
  • Additional education sessions are available during the actual conference that runs from Thursday to Saturday.

In addition to the experience of the conference, this is also an opportunity to see one of America’s finest cities when it comes to sustainable urban design. Having served as an elected official and pursued education, I began to see cities in a different way. You start to look for whether a neighborhood can support the people that live there and how many inputs are required to keep a neighborhood strong. Denver is a city that has mastered efficient, attractive, desirable development that requires the minimum in taxpayer subsidies. In Rochester we still build multiple interchanges to support automobile only sprawl and low wage jobs.

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