City Leaders Summit

April 17-19, 2024

SAFE Credit Union Convention Center

1400 J Street, Sacramento, CA

 The City Leaders Summit offers opportunities for city leaders from across the state to influence policy decisions in the Capitol and gain top-notch leadership skills. City officials can meet with legislators to advocate for cities’ top priorities and participate in peer-to-peer discussions and in-depth sessions covering topics ranging from leadership to emerging issues facing cities. We hope you join us April 17-19 at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center for our 2024 City Leaders Summit! 

For questions about the conference, please contact Associate Manager, Event Program, Kayla Boutros

Please see our event and meeting policies.

Summit Information


Explore Previous Summits

View the 2023 City Leaders Summit program.

Wednesday, April 12

Registration Open

8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Opening General Session

10:00 a.m.-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.

Member Rally and Press Conference

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

Join Cal Cities leadership and members for a rally and press availability to advocate for the Governor and Legislature to #InvestInCities. With a special focus on funding for homelessness and affordable housing, this is our opportunity to get loud and be heard! View a map to the location here.

Lunch on Your Own

12:15-1:30 p.m.

The Shared Path to Preventing and Reducing Homelessness

1:30-4:30 p.m.

Cal Cities and the California State Association of Counties are holding a special joint convening on collective solutions for preventing and reducing homelessness. Attendees will hear from both state lawmakers and local leaders as they share their perspectives on this challenging topic, as well as the roles, responsibilities, and resources needed to address this crisis. 

Dessert and Coffee Break

2:45-3:00 p.m.

Legislative Reception sponsored by Cal Cities Partners

5:30-7:00 p.m.

In partnership with the California State Association of Counties, please join us for an evening reception. Relax and enjoy some light hors d'oeuvres and refreshments while networking with your city and county colleagues.

Thursday, April 13

Registration Open

7:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Networking Breakfast

7:30-8:15 a.m.

General Session

8:30-10:00 a.m.

Get Them to “Yes”! Persuasive Critical Communication Skills for City Leaders

Successful city leaders have the skill set to demand decorum during city council meetings, resolve conflict, set and achieve strategic plans, persuasively communicate with department heads, and powerfully lead community meetings. The key to transforming perceptions, decreasing division and conflict, and increasing community trust is through strengthening the communication skills of everyone in the organization. In this interactive and engaging keynote, attendees will learn how to improve their overall communication skills, receive coaching and guidance as they practice implementing these techniques during group exercises, and apply the concepts learned.

Opening Remarks:
Susannah Meyer, President, Mayors and Council Members Department and Vice Mayor, Brentwood

Keynote Speaker:
Tracy Miller, TM Consulting, Expert Communications Coach and Former Senior Assistant District Attorney

Tracy Miller is a former prosecutor with over 25 years of legal experience and was the highest-ranking woman in the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. She led the daily operations of the 6th largest district attorney’s office in the nation, including supervising 155 attorneys and operating a 140 million dollar budget. Miller began her career as a law clerk for prosecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden on one of the most visible cases in our nation’s history — the O.J. Simpson trial.  As a communications expert, Miller transforms leaders by strengthening their skills to positively impact their influence on public perception while retaining and motivating those in their organization, engaging in healthy conflict, setting expectations, and increasing morale.

Strategies for Local Governments to Prevent Organized Retail Crime

10:15-11:30 a.m.

Organized theft continues to be a challenge for local municipalities across California. This session aims to introduce new strategies to local leaders to effectively combat this issue. By coordinating the right stakeholders in the public and private sector, you can be a force for change to create a safer shopping experience for your constituents, protect your tax base, and make it harder for your community to be targeted.

Mike Karbassi, Council Member, Fresno

Jason Daughrity, Captain, California Highway Patrol
Michael Lamb, Organized Retail Crime Investigations Manager, Rite Aid
Rachel Michelin, President/CEO, CA Retailers Association

Future of Homekey: Motel Conversions Over the Next 10 Years

10:15-11:30 a.m.

Homekey has become a key way to prevent and reduce homelessness. In two years, the program has created nearly 13,000 housing units at an accelerated rate. If funding for Homekey expires, cities will need to find new, creative ways to continue building off the program’s success. Prior to Homekey, this expert panel produced hundreds of converted permanent supportive housing units, with these properties later serving as the framework for the State’s program. This discussion will explore the future of motel conversions from a state, regional, local, and developer perspective. Panelists will open their playbook to share lessons learned and innovative approaches to zoning, funding, and long-term operations and services.

La Shelle Dozier, Executive Director, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency

Timothy Lawless, Branch Chief, Homekey, Cal Department of Housing and Community Development
Michael Massie, Chief Development Officer, Jamboree Housing Corporation
Grace Ruiz-Stepter, Housing and Community Development Director, Anaheim

Networking Lunch

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

Reimagining Emergency Medical Services Through Mobile Integrated Healthcare

12:45-2:00 p.m.

The City of Beverly Hills’ Nurse Practitioner Program is an innovative Mobile Integrated Healthcare solution that offers a holistic, patient-centered delivery model. In this session, attendees will learn how the Nurse Practitioner Program enables firefighter paramedics/EMTs to focus on emergent calls, positively impacts the community’s health, treats chronic conditions, and explores potential avenues for reimbursement through the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare.

Julian Gold, Mayor, Beverly Hills

Greg Barton, Fire Chief, Beverly Hills Fire Department
Marc Cohen, Medical Director, Beverly Hills Fire Department
Sean Stokes, EMS Administrator, Beverly Hills

Speed Sessions

Navigating Housing Challenges Associated with Short-Term Rentals

12:45-1:15 p.m.

Short-term vacation rentals have boomed during and post pandemic. Many cities are struggling with how to identify and monitor activities at these properties while striking a balance for their community. Some cities opt to ban or create a cap on the number of short-term rentals while others do not. Learn best practices for every community and help to assure that cities are capturing revenue associated with this exploding industry.

John Minto, Immediate Past President, Mayors and Council Members Department and Mayor, Santee

Dustin Reilich, VP Sales & Government Relations, Deckard Technologies, Inc

Speed Sessions

Best Practices in Addressing Illegal Dumping

1:25-1:55 p.m.

Illegal dumping of durable waste (e.g., auto parts, household appliances, mattresses, furniture, construction and home renovation waste, and electronics) is different from littering and requires distinct prevention and mitigation strategies. To help policymakers and other stakeholders better understand the significant environmental, economic, and societal harms that illegal dumping creates (both where the dumping occurs and in surrounding communities), this presentation identifies drivers of illegal dumping and explores public policy options to address the problem. Also, hear what several cities have accomplished through implementing pilot projects using these best practices.

Taylor Grimes, Special Projects Coordinator, Mattress Recycling Council

City Council and Staff’s Role in Workplace Investigations

2:15-3:30 p.m.

What if a department head brought a harassment complaint against a city manager directly to a council member? How do you handle the complaint and the department head’s requests for updates on the investigation? This session will take attendees through the required legal and policy processes and review what confidentiality means in this scenario. The presenter will also discuss the practicalities of providing public service during an ongoing investigation. 

Lori Ogorchock, Department Director, Mayors and Council Members Department and Council Member, Antioch

Shelline Bennett, Partner, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore

Surplus Land Act and its Housing and Land Use Impacts

2:15-3:30 p.m.

California continues to face a housing crisis and the state legislature continues to pass laws to accelerate the production of affordable housing. The Surplus Land Act seeks to increase housing by requiring public agencies to follow a state-controlled process, including offering public property to affordable housing developers prior to selling or leasing property for other uses. Learn how this law impacts local land use and how to navigate the sale, lease, and use of public property to pursue public-private projects that produce economic development results while staying in compliance with state requirements. 

Larry Kosmont, Chairman and CEO, Kosmont Transactions Services

Troy Brown, City Manager, City of Moorpark
Matthew Cody, Of Counsel, Best Best & Krieger
David Zisser, Assistant Deputy Director, Local Government Relations & Accountability, CA Department of Housing & Community Development

Universal Inclusionary Housing

3:45-5:00 p.m.

This session will discuss expanding inclusionary housing requirements to cover existing rental properties. Many were exempted by the Palmer decision. One approach is with a parcel tax based on the number of rental units, offering inclusionary housing as an in-lieu option. The tax would exempt existing housing developments with affordable housing, significantly expanding affordable housing opportunities. Unlike rent control, it won’t affect the new housing starts, which are affected by the existing inclusionary housing regulations. Existing properties, previously protected from inclusionary housing requirements, have government-created lower operating costs.

Moderator and Speaker:
Stuart Kasdin, Council Member, Goleta

Ethan Walsh, Attorney, Best Best & Krieger LLP
Rob Wiener, Executive Director, California Coalition for Rural Housing

Partnering for Protection: Looking Past Jurisdictions to Provide School Safety

3:45-5:00 p.m.

The dreadful rise in school violence often brings unity through grief, but what happens if the city and its partners are united before something so horrific happens? Can it be prevented? Can they work cooperatively while respecting boundaries? Attendees will learn different tactics to cooperate across organizations to provide proactive strategies to address the rising violence in schools.

Frank Oviedo, Assistant City Manager, Santa Clarita

Steve Ellis, Administrative Director Student Safety and Security, Corona Norco Unified School District
Larry Gonzalez, Chief of Police, Riverside Police Department

Friday, April 14

Registration Open

7:45-10:30 a.m.

Networking Breakfast

7:45-8:45 a.m.

How Cities Can Fight Crime with Civil Litigation

9:00-10:15 a.m.

Drugs such as meth and fentanyl are a major problem in California. What happens when a property becomes a hotbed for drugs and criminal activity? What can city leaders do? The answer is a Drug Abatement lawsuit, codified at H&S 11570 et seq. This is a powerful civil tool that allows public agencies to shut down drug properties. The city can also recover its attorney fees and costs for the lawsuit making it cost-neutral for the city. 

Moderator and Speaker:
Ryan Griffith, Attorney & Receiver, Bay Area Receivership Group

Adam Abel, Assistant City Attorney, Santa Rosa

Why a Balanced Masculine and Feminine Leadership Approach Matters

9:00-10:15 a.m.

Seventy-six percent of employees are disengaged at work. Staff eventually leave because they don't feel seen, heard, or appreciated. Who knew the answer to this lies in a TV show called “Ted Lasso”? Ted Lasso's leadership style, which combines both feminine and masculine traits, is vital for organizations because it demonstrates the effectiveness of a holistic and inclusive approach to being a leader. Attendees will learn how to rise above the antiquated “Mad Men” way of managing and embrace a Ted Lasso standard of leadership where people are the priority.

Melissa Hunt, First Vice President, Mayors and Council Members Department and Council Member, Anderson

Jeff Harry, Positive Psychology Play Speaker, Rediscover Your Play

Closing General Session

10:30 a.m.-noon

Citizens, Cities, Resilience: Engage the Never Give Up Mindset

Imagine what you could learn from a man who rescued his two small children when they were kidnapped to the Middle East. Attendees will learn about advocacy, resilience, perseverance, and how to overcome obstacles both professionally and personally.

Closing Remarks:
Ali Sajjad Taj, President, League of California Cities and Council Member, Artesia
Susannah Meyer, President, Mayors and Council Members Department and Vice Mayor, Brentwood

Keynote Speaker:
Scott Lesnick, Global Leadership Keynote Speaker, CSP, Certified Speaking Professional and Author

Scott Lesnick is an author, trainer, and global leadership keynote speaker who motivates audiences with powerful, entertaining messages and interactive sessions. His memoir “Kidjacked – A Father’s Story” and his book “Lifejacked: Life Lessons on Leadership” both received critical acclaim.  Lesnick has spent 24 award-winning years in sales and management at Shaw Industries, a Berkshire Hathaway Fortune 500 company. He earned a Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association — a designation given to roughly 17% of members worldwide — and served as the Dean of the Academy in 2016-17. Lesnick is a graduate of the University of Miami, Florida.





2023 Summit Session Materials

Previous Conference Session Materials

Call for Proposals

Cal Cities is seeking thorough, thoughtful, and complete proposals that tell how your session can help elected city officials improve their communities, leadership abilities, and knowledge within their roles. Submissions from any individual, group, business, or organization on any topic are welcome. Proposals must be submitted online through the session proposal form by Monday, Jan. 8

We encourage you to take advantage of this exciting opportunity to share your ideas, knowledge, and expertise with this important audience!

General Information

Who Can Submit

Submissions, from any individual, group, business or organization, are welcome through Jan. 8. Please remember that all sessions require a well-conceived presentation, good visuals, and a great deal of rehearsal! remember that all sessions require a well-conceived presentation, good visuals, and a great deal of rehearsal!

How It Works

Only proposals submitted online through the proposal form will be considered. As there is a limit to the amount of words allowed within the title and description of each proposal, it may be helpful to draft the proposal in a word-processing program first, then paste the final version into the online form. 

Target Audience

This educational event is designed to keep city leaders, particularly mayors and council members, up-to-date on issues of importance to them and their cities. 


All About Proposals
Securing a spot on the program is highly competitive, with approximately 25 percent of proposals being accepted. You can increase your chances by preparing a thorough, thoughtful, and complete proposal that tells how your session would help city leaders and those who work within city governments to improve their careers and communities. When preparing your proposal consider the following elements:

    Tips for Successful Proposals

    • Think big
    • Vary the viewpoint
    • Pare down the panel
    • Speaker skills matter
    • Plan for a crowd
    • Try something new
    • Interact with the audience
    • Fill in the blanks
    • Quality counts

    Types of Proposals

    More than 95 percent of each year's conference programming comes directly from the open call for proposals. Sessions may be scheduled as a general session or concurrent session at Cal Cities' discretion. Select one of the available formats listed below that best fits your topic and desired outcomes or propose an alternative session format.

    • Keynote Speaker
      Keynote speakers are high-profile and designed to bring everyone together for a general session / and may set the tone of the event. This format permits approximately 45-60 minutes of an engaging presentation by a single speaker. Depending on time restrictions, the presentation may be followed by approximately 15 minutes of questions and answers with the audience or a moderator. 
    • Panel Discussion
      Panels consist of a moderator and a maximum of three speakers who participate in a 60 minute  engaging presentation and discussion followed by approximately 15 minutes of questions and answers.
    • Speed Sessions
      Fifteen minute bursts of information on one topic by one speaker followed by five minutes of questions & answers. Typically, these engaging presentations are based on focused projects or personal experience.
    • Facilitated Group Discussion
      A 75 minute interactive conversation on a topic led by a single facilitator. You may include a maximum 15 minute presentation on which the issue/concern is framed and, then, guide a discussion among the attendees with prepared questions. At the conclusion of the discussion, the facilitator must spend time summarizing key findings, suggestions, and points. 
    • Alternative Format
      Be creative! If your session does not fit one of the above formats, this is your opportunity to propose something different. Please be sure to provide the time, room setup, and other important details. Alternative formats will be accommodated based on interest level, space, and set-up availability.
    Requirements, Review, and Policies 

    Submission Requirements and Review

    Submissions will be reviewed by a program planning committee.
    Cal Cities reserves the right to modify accepted proposal session titles, descriptions, presenters or other elements as necessary to insure balance, quality and enhance marketability. If an originally accepted speaker cancels, the session may be disqualified. Additional speakers not included in the original proposal are not permitted to be added without review and approval.

    Successful Proposal Considerations

    The following criteria may be considered during the review of submissions:

    • Relevance - What are the practical applications of your ideas? Have you included reasoning and documentation to support your conclusions, recommendations and outcomes? Conference attendees prefer presentations focused on outcomes or results. Make the definition and background portions of your presentation brief. Highlight problems encountered, options available, choices made, documented pre- and post-change effects and lessons learned.
    • Content expands attendees' knowledge - Will your presentation expand knowledge beyond entry-level basics? Most conference participants are seasoned professionals. In general, direct your presentation to an intermediate or advanced audience. 
    • Originality - Does your presentation advance existing ideas or present new ideas? Has this material been presented elsewhere? You might apply proven techniques to new problems or identify and apply new approaches, techniques or philosophies. Assess the degree to which an application is a new tool. Avoid highlighting a named product or service…focus instead on the general attributes, benefits and drawbacks of a given application, process or tool. 
    • Examples - Do you have an appropriate number of examples? Documenting comparative results convinces participants that your ideas have been tested in the real world.
    • Timeliness - Will your presentation still be up-to-date and cutting-edge in six to nine months when the conference occurs? Will your topic have implications in the future? How relevant is your topic in the context of pending legislation, regulations and technology?
    • Inclusion of good, solid insights - What attendees want to learn is the reality versus the hype, the positive and negative attributes, problems encountered but not often discussed, realistic expectations for the operational use and adaptability to a changing environment. They are searching for guidelines and models to simplify or manage their own application or installation.
    • Logical conclusions - Are your conclusions supported by data? Attendees place a high value on supporting data in assessing the value and applicability of presentations. Include adequate and convincing details.
    • Identification of outside resources - Have you included sources of information, benchmark data or other examples? 
    • Avoidance of product/vendor commercial - No commercials and/or proprietary information for particular products, services or vendors are permitted.
    • Completeness of proposal - The quality, completeness and accuracy of the proposal will be considered during session selection process.
    • Preferred Speaker Qualifications - Panelists should reflect the diversity of California with a north/south, large/small, urban/rural representation when possible.
      • Five or more years of public presentation experience.
      • Two or more years of experience related to working in or presenting on the topic or idea.
      • More than two successful speaking engagements to large audiences at a regional or state level in the past two years. 
      • Must not pose a conflict of interest with subject/business area or must disclose such information in each speaker bio submitted.
      • No commercialism.

    To ensure a variety of perspectives, Cal Cities policy limits the number of times an individual, group, business or organization can speak at a single conference. In addition, each panel should have no more than one panelist per city/county, firm, company or organization (exceptions may apply).

    • Overall - In the end, you must make your case for the importance of this topic and its relevance to participants.

    Registration and Speaker Policy

    The League of California Cities is unable to provide full complimentary registration or any reimbursement of expenses, travel, or other compensation. We recognize and deeply appreciate your interest and commitment. The success of our program depends on the efforts of practicing professionals willing to volunteer their time to professional education. 

    Privacy Policy

    We value your privacy and will never share any of your personal information nor sell your e-mail address to an outside party.