November 11, 2021 | Spotlight

Institute helps GCCMA tackle pandemic effects, pressing issues at fall conference

Georgia City-County Management Association’s Fall Conference

Writer: Staff Reports

City and county managers, assistant managers and other local government officials recently attended professional development training sessions the Institute of Government coordinated for the Georgia City-County Management Association’s Fall Conference.

The GCCMA Fall Conference welcomed 170 members from across the state to Columbus-Muscogee County in late October for personal and professional development. The Institute of Government serves as the education partner for GCCMA, providing sessions and content to meet the needs of Georgia’s city and county managers.

Sessions at the fall conference covered such topics as cybersecurity, innovations, legislative updates, code enforcement, community engagement, neighborhood stabilization, mentoring and crisis management.

Two inspiring and intense keynotes were offered. The first, “Redefine Possible: Lesson for Tackling Mountains in Life,” was presented by Spencer West. West encouraged participants to “redefine possible” through his account of the challenges he faced after losing his legs as a child and eventually summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in a wheelchair. The second keynote was delivered by licensed counselor Mazi Robinson, who discussed “Mental Health Issues Impacting the Work Place.” Robinson explored how the pandemic, politics and social culture have affected mental health in the workplace and offered strategies for “creating environments that guard against burnout and encourage mental wellbeing.”

Sessions and panels also explored moving organizations forward, retention of public safety employees, consolidation and encouraging the next generation of public servants.

Also at the conference, the GCCMA Pillars of Excellence award was given to Scott Johnson, Columbia County manager. The Pillars of Excellence award is voted on by the membership of the association and recognizes exemplary public service in local government management.

The intense two-and-a-half-day schedule culminated in a discussion on the American Rescue Plan Act. Led by Institute of Government Associate Director Ted Baggett, the panel and roundtable allowed managers to openly discuss strategies for the use of ARPA funds. Participants also were reminded of the Institute’s ARPA webinars and revenue planning tools available online at cviog.uga.edu.

GCCMA is the recognized Georgia affiliate of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and is the professional association of appointed administrators servicing cities, counties, regional councils and other local government in the state of Georgia. Membership includes city and county managers and administrators, directors of regional development centers and their principal assistants in addition to representatives of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG), Georgia's County Association and the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA). The GCCMA professional development curriculum is aligned with the executive leadership core competencies for ICMA-credentialed managers, and sessions at the fall conference provided ICMA credits.