City Leaders Summit

April 12-14, 2023

SAFE Credit Union Convention Center

1400 J Street, Sacramento, CA

Thank you for joining the League of California Cities for three days of advocacy, educational content, and peer-to-peer learning at the 2022 City Leaders Summit in Sacramento!

The summit took place May 11-13 at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center, where city officials from across the state influenced policy decisions in the Capitol and gained top-notch leadership skills. City officials met with legislators to advocate for cities’ top priorities and participated in peer-to-peer discussions and in-depth sessions covering topics ranging from leadership to emerging issues facing cities.

Designed for city officials, the City Leaders Summit transforms two of Cal Cities’ most prominent events – Legislative Action Day and Mayors and Council Members Executive Forum – into one reimagined opportunity for city officials to grow as leaders and ensure their city’s voice is heard at the Capitol.

Mark your calendars for our 2023 City Leaders Summit, April 12-14 at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center in Sacramento.

For questions, please contact Associate Manager, Event Program, Kayla Boutros.

Please see our event and meeting policies.


Summit Information


Explore Previous Summits

2022 Summit Session Descriptions

Click to view the full summit PDF.

Wednesday, May 11

Registration Open

8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Opening General Session

10:00–11:15 a.m.

Day one of the conference focuses on legislative advocacy. Join Cal Cities leadership and lobbyists for an update on high priority legislation that you will want to advocate on when you meet with legislative officers later in the day.  

Session Remarks: 
Cindy Silva, President, League of California Cities and Mayor Pro Tem, Walnut Creek
Ali Sajjad Taj, First Vice President, League of California Cities and Council Member, Artesia
Carolyn Coleman, Executive Director and CEO, League of California Cities 

League of California Cities Speakers
Melanie Perron, Deputy Executive Director, Advocacy and Public Affairs
Jason Rhine, Assistant Director, Legislative Affairs
Elisa Arcidiacono, Legislative Representative, Public Safety
Caroline Cirrincione, Legislative Representative, Community Services
Damon Conklin, Legislative Representative, Transportation, Communications and Public Works
Derek Dolfie, Legislative Representative , Environmental Quality
Johnnie Piñ a, Legislative Representative , Governance, Transparency, and Labor Relations
Nicolas Romo, Legislative Representative, Revenue and Taxation

Cal Cities News Conference

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

City leaders will gather at the Capitol and urge lawmakers to draw on the state’s historic surplus for new housing programs, organic waste recycling, and unfunded mandates.  

Lunch on Your Own

12:15-2:00 p.m.

Cities' Role in Modernizing California’s Behavioral Health Continuum

2:00-3:30 p.m.

Listen to insight from legislative leaders on how cities can support counties in ensuring access to behavioral health services for all Californians. This discussion will focus on modernizing California’s behavioral health system to support unsheltered individuals in receiving housing, treatment, and care. 

Porsche Middleton, Mayor, Citrus Heights

Karen Goh, Mayor, Bakersfield
Toby Ewing, Executive Director, Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission
Thomas Umberg, Senator, 34th District

Planning for the Communities of Tomorrow: The Intersection of Land Use and State Climate Goals

3:45-5:00 p.m. 

Join us for a discussion on the future of land-use planning and meeting our state climate goals in California cities. Listen to insight from state legislators and councils of governments on how they think cities can balance the need for more housing, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Cheryl Viegas Walker, Immediate Past President, League of California Cities and Council Member, El Centro

Dave Cortese, Senator, 15th District
Laura Friedman, Assembly Member, 43rd District
Kacey Lizon, Deputy Executive Director for Planning and Programs, Sacramento Area Council of Governments

Legislative Reception sponsored by League Partners

5:30-7:00 p.m.

After a full day of lobbying and education, relax and enjoy some light hors d'oeuvers and refreshments while networking with your colleagues. 

Thursday, May 12

Registration Open

7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Networking Breakfast

7:30-8:15 a.m.

General Session

8:30-10:00 a.m.

Critical Communication Skills for City Leaders
City leaders who strengthen their communication skills will positively impact their ability to influence public perception while retaining and motivating their teams. Discover tips to strengthen your presentation and communication skills with fellow council members, city staff, and the community. Learn to hold teams accountable and how to use communication methods that prevent division. Leave the session with the tools to provide engaging, dynamic, and persuasive presentations and connect with any audience. 

Welcoming Remarks
Cindy Silva, President, League of California Cities and Mayor Pro Tem, Walnut Creek
John Minto, President, Mayors and Council Members Department, League of California Cities and Mayor, Santee

Keynote Speaker
Tracy Miller, CEO TM Consulting, Communications Coach, Retired Senior Assistant District Attorney


Concurrent Educational Sessions

10:15-11:30 a.m.

How Cities Can Fix Dangerous Properties and Increase Revenue
Almost every city has abandoned, fire-damaged, or otherwise dilapidated properties. However, a solution for these longstanding dilapidated properties exists under California Health and Safety Code (HSC) §§ 17980.6 and 17980.7. This presentation will explain how cities can utilize the receivership remedy to abate dangerous properties and simultaneously generate revenue.  

Ryan Griffith, Attorney and Associate Receiver, Bay Area Receivership Group
Amanda Pope, Senior Counsel and Director of City Receiverships, Jones & Mayer

Finding Successors – Finding Future Leaders in your City Staff
As cities struggle to retain employees, an even bigger challenge is attracting and retaining city managers and city attorneys that can provide stability and leadership to a city despite the political landscape. Learn about the process of training city employees for the overall sake of the city management profession, as well as the development of a strong reputation and character of their city. 

Karen Pinkos, City Manager, El Cerrito

Damien Arrula, City Administrator, Placentia
Timothy Davis, Attorney, Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP
Rhonda Shader, Mayor, Placentia

Networking Lunch

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Concurrent Educational Sessions

12:45-2:00 p.m.

Emerging Issues and Cutting-Edge Solutions for Challenges Facing California Cities 
California's economic landscape creates a need for well-planned growth, sustainability practices, and innovative service delivery methods to navigate challenges and embrace opportunities. For the past two years, the city of Merced has accomplished its annual work plan to further the council's goals and priorities by leveraging resources through strategic collaboration with residents, community partners, and organizers. In this facilitated discussion, participants will consider three commonly shared challenges and share their own experiences. Discussion items will include engaging productively with community organizers, balancing the need for free enterprise and affordable housing, and encouraging social cohesion. 

Stephanie Dietz, City Manager, Merced
Matthew Serratto, Mayor, Merced

Lessons Learned in the Recovery After the Camp Fire 
On Nov. 8, 2018, the Camp Fire destroyed most of the Town of Paradise. Three years later, the Town is in the process of rebuilding a more resilient community. The Town has hit many roadblocks, creating hurdles in the recovery process throughout this time. This presentation will cover the recovery process and lessons learned while looking to the future at the obstacles still affecting the Town's recovery.  

Steve Crowder, Mayor, Paradise
Colette Curtis, Recovery and Economic Development Director, Paradise
Kevin Phillips, Town Manager, Paradise  

Concurrent Educational Sessions

2:15-3:30 p.m.

Food for Thought: Ingredients for a Vital Downtown in a Post Covid Digital World
Downtown areas are at a crossroads, as consumer spending patterns and private investment shift in a post-COVID world, presenting challenges and opportunities for a new and vital future. Cities must understand new economic development platforms to generate revenues and foster economic growth. This includes accelerating the use of value capture tools, such as tax increment districts like EIFDs/CRIAs, to generate fiscal upside. Cities can also strategically use zoning and entitlements as “currency” in a digital world, capturing value in the shift from retail to residential/industrial and the reimagination of regional retail centers and corridors. Learn the components of new tools that can enhance revenue capture and reset a community’s economic future. 

Blanca Pacheco, Second Vice President, Mayors and Council Members Department and Mayor, Downey

Larry Kosmont, Chairman and CEO, Kosmont Companies
Damien Arrula, City Administrator, Placentia

Foundations of an Equitable and Inclusive Community
Participants will be guided through a series of motivational concepts and exploration of how their personal values, and the values related to their work as public servants, lead to a vision for their cities as truly inclusive communities. This research-based and human-centered approach will leave participants inspired and equipped with the foundational elements for creating equity and inclusion within your cities. Learn how everyday behaviors and community interactions of mayors and councilmembers are tied to a true and clear vision of equity. Community leaders will learn to create the human connection and mindfulness that will foster equitable outcomes for those we serve. 

Berké Brown, Partner, Fogbreak Justice

Concurrent Educational Sessions

3:45-5:00 p.m.

Intergenerational Collaboration and the Next Generation of City Leadership 
In this session, participants will explore core values and motivations for entering public service all while learning how to leverage our different generational perspectives. Speakers will discuss how to confront complex local government challenges, and how crossing multigenerational bridges can best serve communities.

Tessa Rudnick, Council Member, El Cerrito  

Eli Hill, Council Member, San Rafael
Devin Murphy, Mayor Pro Tem, Pinole
Rita Xavier, Mayor, San Pablo

Water Quality Solutions for your Community: The True Source Control Story
As local communities struggle to comply with stormwater permits, this session will focus on water quality, stormwater challenges and solutions, and how True Source Control may ultimately offer the most effective and economical approach to the elimination of many pollutants that impair local waterways.

Derek Dolfie, Legislative Representative, Environmental Quality, League of California Cities

Karen Cowan, Executive Director, California Stormwater Quality Association
Dorene D'Adamo, Vice Chair, State Water Resources Control Board
Vicki Kalkirtz, Senior Planner, San Diego

Friday, May 13

Registration Open

7:45 a.m.-noon

Networking Breakfast

7:45-8:45 a.m.

Concurrent Educational Sessions

9:00-10:15 a.m.

Build It, They Will Come: Creating an Excellent Workplace Culture
Some of the biggest challenges facing executives, include creating a culture that attracts the best employees while simultaneously retaining and rewarding them. The next generation of leaders view organizational culture as one of the most crucial factors in working for and staying with a company. In this presentation, participants will be inspired to recognize the powerful differentiator of organizational culture for local governments, the seven layers of culture, and how to influence positive change at each level with practical and tactical solutions to build thriving workplace cultures. 

Dr. Maria Church, CEO, Government Leadership Solutions 

Land Use and Zoning - Who is Making the Decisions?    
For the last several years, the amount of housing legislation has increased, while the affordability gap continues to widen. Despite the flurry of new regulations, the trend of more expensive housing doesn’t seem to be slowing. Seemingly, a constant with the laws is an erosion of your ability to make decisions on new housing projects. You are frustrated, the public is frightened, and developers are often confused. Despite appearances, all is not lost. There are still ways you can guide development and make sure what is built fits your community. This session will focus on practical solutions and methods of using your General Plan, zoning, and even CEQA to ensure that new developments suit your community.  

Lori Ogorchock, Immediate Past President and Department Director, Mayors and Council Members Department and Council Member, Antioch

Eric Nelson, Planning Commissioner, Dana Point 
Mark Teague, Managing Principal – Environmental Services, Placeworks

Closing General Session

10:30 a.m.-noon

Stop Shoulding Yourself: Strategies for High Performers
Are you too busy to take care of yourself? Too busy to be a mentor? Too busy to sleep? Too busy to be attending this session right now? Then this is exactly where you should be. This session is geared towards high performers leading busy, hectic lives, but who sense there’s something “more” they could be doing with their days. Leaning on the idea of incorporating “micro strategies” for building capacity, or improving success and satisfaction, attendees will receive practical training for making courageous changes along with strategies for leveling up their careers and personal lives through authenticity and alignment.   

Closing Remarks

Cindy Silva, President, League of California Cities and Mayor Pro Tem, Walnut Creek
Susannah Meyer, First Vice President, Mayors and Council Members Department, League of California Cities and Council Member, Brentwood 


Keynote Speaker
Nicole Lance, CEO, Nicole Lance Coaching





*Schedule subject to change


2022 Summit Session Materials