City Managers Conference

February 2 — 4, 2022

Monterey, CA

Save the Date!

Designed for city managers and assistant city managers, this conference provides city officials with the essential information and updates needed to effectively run their cities. Previous topics include diversity, relationships with council members, COVID-19 and the future, public safety, financial impacts of the pandemic, and more. 

For questions about registration, please contact registrar, Megan Dunn. For all other questions, please contact Conference Program Manager Katie Pebler.

Explore Previous Conferences

2021 Conference Session Descriptions

Monday, February 1

Opening General Session

12-1:30 p.m.

Department President’s Welcome and Cal Cities Update

Receive an update on priorities and issues for the League of California Cities, along with news for the city managers department.

Speakers: Steven Rogers, City Managers Department President, Town Manager, Town of Yountville | Carolyn Coleman, Executive Director, League of California Cities

 

Opening Keynote: The Future of Work is Here

Constant technology innovations, Gen Z entering the ranks, and a changing global marketplace were already dramatically impacting the face of the workplace. Then 2020 arrived and the script got flipped upside-down for city managers on the front lines with minimal financial support and maximum challenges. In this high-energy session, technology strategist and futurist Crystal Washington shows innovative city managers how they can thrive now while keeping an eye on the horizon to be ready to ride future waves of change, dialing in on what’s to come over the next three to five years.

Attendees will discover unique ways to embrace technology trends and uncover insider tips and tactics, such as how to use technology to strengthen constituent connections without losing that personal touch. Crystal will also showcase the significant ways in which technology is re-programming 'us', and how you can use that information now to be prepared for later. Plus, the pandemic changed the way we work, and Crystal will unveil what the future of the workplace holds. Be there to learn firsthand how you can fortify your city's future and get a chance to have your questions answered live!

Moderator: Reina Schwartz, City Manager, Clayton

Speaker: Crystal Washington, Technology Strategist and Futurist

 

Concurrent Sessions 

2:30-3:45 p.m.

Vision 2020 in Hindsight: Train Wreck or Learning Opportunity

Attend this panel discussion featuring public and private sector professionals from across the state looking back at the most challenging year in a century. Panelists will discuss the dual and dynamic impacts of the pandemic, including the nationwide awakening to racial and social justice needs and racial inequities, alongside keeping a complex city operation functioning. They will examine impacts to their respective communities and workplaces and share their view of changes to how cities will operate now and into the future. Will our work/home balance be altered permanently? How can turn our discussions and aspirations to make racial equity sustainable?

Moderator: Alex Smith, Deputy Executive Officer, California Joint Powers Insurance Authority

Speakers: Ernie Hernandez, City Manager, City of Hawaiian Gardens | Robert Lowe, First Vice President, Alliant Insurance Services | Izzy Murguia, Senior Management Analyst, Poway

 

No Hotels? Less Retail? What’s a City Manager to do?

COVID-19 has impacted sales and hotel taxes, changing fundamental business models for retail, hotel, and accelerating residential and industrial. Economic development post-COVID is about retail reimagination with focus on shifting regional malls to blended use destinations and expanding residential and outdoor destination amenities. For hotels, both business and tourism, it’s about consumer perception of safety and “cleanliness”. A land-use revolution is underway as communities seek to resuscitate local economies and re-establish revenue momentum. Learn the primary economic development pathways to vitality and how cities can leverage government grants, special districts, public financing, and new zoning tools to achieve revenue and resiliency.

Moderator: Larry Kosmont, Chairman & CEO, Kosmont Companies

Speakers: Robert Aptaker, Member, National Development Advisors, Inc. | Jim Dillavou, Principal and Co-Founder, Paragon Commercial Group | Sharon Landers, City Manager, Carson

 

Creating Emotionally Healthy Workplaces During COVID-19

COVID-19 is imposing significant stress on local government organizations and employees. This webinar surveys evidence from sixty interviews with local government employees to paint a picture of the range of COVID-19 stress experiences in municipal and county organizations. The patterns from these interviews reveal that a range of workplace factors can alleviate or aggravate stress, including communications, supervisory practices, and exposure risks. Based on these results, participants will learn about workplace interventions for alleviating COVID-related stress.

Moderator: Lori Sassoon, Deputy City Manager/Administrative Services, Rancho Cucamonga

Speaker: Leisha DeHart-Davis, Distinguished Term Coates Professor of Public Administration and Government, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Wednesday, February 3

Concurrent Sessions

10:30-11:45 a.m.

California Municipal Finance and Economic Outlook in the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic and recession is infecting the economy and, with it, municipal revenues. This panel of leading experts will analyze economic and financial trends and discuss the year ahead for cities in California. The group will review expectations for recovery in the travel industry; the outlook for state budget impacts and revenue allocations; trends in key revenues including lodging, property and sales taxes; and will provide evaluation tools for your agency.

Moderator and Speaker: Michael Coleman, League Fiscal Policy Advisor, CaliforniaCityFinance.com

Speakers: Leila Bengali, Economist, UCLA Anderson Forecast | Caroline Beteta, President & CEO, Visit California | Ken Nordhoff, Principal, HdL Companies

 

It’s Not Transactional, It’s Relational: Addressing Racial Equity and Social Justice

While city managers across the state are expressing a desire to increase racial equity and social justice within their organizations, many don’t know where to start. Some leaders fear saying or doing the wrong thing. Others are growing increasingly aware of what they don’t know, especially as pertains to policies and practices that may inadvertently perpetuate structural racism and other inequities. Join us for a courageous conversation on how to lead organizations dedicated to fair and equitable practices all while navigating the vast number of political challenges and tensions that accompany this effort. We will cover practical approaches to go beyond the transactional and into the long-term relational mindset needed to shift into an organizational culture of genuine equity and inclusion.

Moderator: Elisa Cox, Deputy City Manager, Rancho Cucamonga

Speakers: John Gillison, City Managers Department President-Elect, City Manager, Rancho Cucamonga

 

General Session Lunch & Learn

12-1:30 p.m.

Presider: Steven Rogers, City Managers Department President, Town Manager, Town of Yountville

 

Cal-ICMA President's Remarks

Speaker: Dominic Lazzaretto

 

Promoting Civility in Times of Heightened Partisanship and Polarization

In the wake of the November election, local governments statewide are navigating polarization and partisanship at the federal, state and local levels. City managers are working hard to balance this while also managing new council dynamics, economic uncertainty resulting from the COVID crisis and a myriad of other challenges local governments face on a daily basis. Join a panel of city officials to hear strategies and lessons learned about how to manage relationships with elected officials, increase civility, continue operations and communicate effectively with your community.

Moderator: Kurt Wilson, Interim City Manager, Beaverton

Speakers: Jonathan Holtzman, Founding Partner, Renne Public Law Group | Patricia Martel, Board Member, Institute for Local Government

 

Concurrent Sessions

3-4:15 p.m.

Developing Organizational Values and Seeing Them in Action

The session will tell the stories of Cities and how the importance of organizational values benefited their City’s team, especially during crises such as COVID-19. Cities will also discuss how they developed and implemented their values. One of those examples is the City of Murrieta. Months before the COVID-19 crisis, Murrieta underwent an employee driven initiative. Engagement with all levels of employees and commitment from the City Executive Team was vital to the process. The initiative concluded with an academy awards style ceremony, revealing the values to all employees. Each of the Cities, Rancho Cucamonga, Hayward and Pismo Beach will highlight their values in action such as hiring based on values, utilizing values as part of performance evaluations, and much more.

Moderator: Louie Lacasella, Assistant to the City Manager, City of Murrieta

Speakers: Jorge Garcia, Management Services Director, Pismo Beach | Kelly McAdoo, City Manager, Hayward | Lori Sassoon, Deputy City Manager/Administrative Services, Rancho Cucamonga | Kim Summers, City Manager, Murrieta

 

The Next Normal - Dealing with Ethical Issues During a Crisis

When a crisis hits, we automatically go into crisis mode. Whether it’s a global pandemic, a gas explosion, or a brush fire, city managers and fire chiefs naturally act fast in dealing with the issue at hand. But, how do we remember to stay within the ethical guidelines in a rapidly evolving situation? Attend this frank discussion of the emotional impacts and ethical considerations leaders must navigate when confronting critical events.

Moderator: Dominic Lazzaretto, City Manager, Arcadia

Speakers: Jim Lewis, City Manager, Pismo Beach | Kimbra McCarthy, City Manager, Mountain View

 

2021 Legislative and Budget Efforts to Addressing Housing Production and Homelessness Crisis

COVID-19 has exacerbated California’s housing affordability and homelessness crisis. Jason Rhine, Assistant Legislative Director will lead a discussion regarding the Governor’s and Legislators’ attempts to address these vexing issues. Specifically, we will focus on the proposed State budget, including Project RoomKey, and pending legislative proposals.

Moderator: Steve Schwabauer, City Manager, Lodi

Speaker: Jason Rhine, Assistant Legislative Director, League of California Cities

 

League Partner Program Virtual Wine Tasting Event

4:30-5:30 p.m.

Get together with your colleagues from across the state virtually and enjoy some wine and social time.

Friday, February 5

Concurrent Sessions

11 a.m. -12:15 p.m.

Reimagining the Role of Police in Public Safety

Nationwide, cities have responded to widespread calls to reimagine the role police departments play in public safety. This panel explores different models for how cities interact with their police forces and how these models might influence potential reforms. Panelists will discuss their wide range of viewpoints and experiences when it comes to city administration, labor negotiations, and working hand-in-hand with community leaders to define how the police can best serve their communities.

Moderator: Ken Pulskamp, Executive Director, CCMF

Speakers: Jackie Gomez Whitley, Retired Chief of Police, Cypress Police Department | David Reynoso, Chief of Police, El Monte | Shawny Williams, Chief of Police, Vallejo Police Department

 

Positive and Effective Communication With Your Councilmembers

Being able to establish and maintain effective communication with the city council is essential to a successful council/manager relationship, and there are many variables to consider. A city manager’s relationship with the city council can be impacted by the manager’s relationship with department heads. Even managers who have a good working relationship with their city councils are often challenged by an outlier” council member. Plus, department head selection and termination can affect council relations. Panelists will explore these and other issues and challenges associated with communicating with elected officials, including strategies for dealing with varied personalities, communication styles, information expectations, and how to meet these expectations of city council during a work-from-home environment

Moderator: John Russo, Principal, Synchronicity Associates

Speakers: Patricia Martel, West Coast Regional Director, ICMA | Alexander Nguyen, City Manager, City of Oxnard | Deanna Santana, City Manager, City of Santa Clara

 

Closing General Session

12:30-1:45 p.m.

CCCMF President's Remarks

Speaker: Ken Striplin, City Manager, Santa Clarita

 

Closing Keynote: California: On the Climate Change Frontier

David Wallace-Wells, New York Times best-selling author and Ted Talk speaker, will give a closing keynote speech designed to motivate and inspire city managers to broaden who they think about our environment and ways that policies and other community decision-making plays a role on mitigating the effects on our communities. Living and managing cities in California, city managers see firsthand the effects of climate change. Attend this session to learn more about this significant challenge facing California cities, backed by the latest scientific evidence. A ‘fire-side chat’ between Wallace-Wells and our session moderator will follow with a discussion on the current impacts of climate change statewide, nationally, and globally, and actionable steps that California officials can take to help offset this crisis.

Moderator: Niroop Srivatsa, City Manager, Lafayette

Speaker: David Wallace-Wells, New York Times best-selling author and Ted Talk speaker

 

2021 Conference Session Materials

 

2021 Conference Access for Registered Attendees

In addition to access to all live sessions, session materials, and virtual networking opportunities, registering for the conference grants you access to all session recordings for later viewing for a limited time. View the session recordings.

 

Previous Conference Session Materials

2020 Session Materials
2019 Session Materials