Early in 2014, the Florida chapter of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the Florida City and County Management Association (FCCMA), formulated a task force which was directed to develop a plan for disseminating a campaign called Life, Well Run, throughout the state.
In 2011 the ICMA launched the Life, Well Run campaign, focused on spreading the value proposition of professional local government management. Their campaign originated from a Harris Poll finding that highlighted weakness in citizen understanding of the role professional managers play within their communities. While a third of citizens knew that city managers oversee the day-to-day operations of their community, only five percent could describe what a manager does or their important role in shaping that community. The ICMA made materials and information readily available in an attempt to encourage state chapters to adopt the campaign.
FCCMA task force members have collaborated with a Florida-based communications firm to outline a plan to highlight the efficiency, effectiveness and ethics, professional managers bring to local government. The overarching message that “Professional Management Matters” will be spread via media outreach, connections to professional organizations, event participation, and speaking engagements at multiple venues including educational institutions.
Due to the scope of this endeavor, the group quickly realized the need to leverage the support and dedication of select leaders within the profession. This gave rise to the Florida Ambassador program—a program launched in 2014 of elite professionals volunteering to help spread the message to further their profession’s mission.
Ambassadors will work to get the message that Professional Management Matters in front of key target groups—each uniquely benefiting from the message:
This target group includes those running for office, those filling vacancies for managers in the near future, as well as those currently in office. Additional touchpoints for the message include attendance/participation in a series of events hosted by the Florida League of Cities, the Florida Chamber, the Florida Association of Counties and the Florida Local Government Coalition.
This target group represents individuals across the state functioning as charter review committee members. In this role, they review current city and county charters and deliver recommended adjustments and changes to the city council or county commission. Charter amendments and repeals, however, can only be achieved by a majority citizen vote.
Students currently enrolled in public administration programs at universities across the state represent the prospective next generation of professional managers. Building awareness and fostering an interest in this career path within this group is vital to bringing in fresh talent.