Current Location: Oakley, CA
Title of Volunteer Assignment: Technical Assistance to Municipalities and promotion of professional management
Name of Project: Office of ICMA- México-Latinoamérica
Local government performance has a direct and significant impact on the competitiveness of cities and their residents. Therefore, to the extent that local authorities promote efficient and effective public service delivery and offer an environment that is conducive to robust and integrated development, economic growth will follow and can be sustained. This condition is also relevant in sustaining democratic systems.
ICMA set up a local office in Mexico in June of 2004 with the purpose of offering technical assistance to the municipalities in the country and the Latin American region. Additionally, the Mexico office promotes ICMA´s Mission that calls for professional management in local government as a means to achieve sustainable growth worldwide and strengthen democracy.
ICMA has over 10,000 members all over the world – individuals who are professionals working in local government and many of these members offer their services pro-bono to ICMA to help implement our programs. One such member, the City Manager of Oakley, California, Mr. Bryan Montgomery, has offered pro-bono assistance to ICMA’s office in Mexico for over 12 years. He has dedicated personal time to review documents and reports, and conducted field visits to provide direct technical assistance to multiple municipalities, and participated in workshops and other events to promote professional local government management through these years.
Mr. Montgomery’s preparation for his assignments is always very thorough and has enabled him to make his message more effective. Mr. Montgomery has been dedicated to promoting the idea of how local government can and does affect the life of all residents and has been an inspiration to local leaders, enabling them to see the difference that they can make in the quality of life and well being of their citizens.
From August 28 to t30, 2015, Mr. Bryan Montgomery visited San Luis Potosi, Mexico to talk about professional management as part of a seminar about Municipal Administrators. This seminar was organized by the State Government to explore the possibility of adopting the figure of Municipal Administrator. In Mexico, all the municipal governments are “strong mayor” forms of government, where the mayor is the CEO of the municipality. Therefore, the structure for professional management is not present but it could be implemented through a professional Municipal Administrator.
The seminar was well publicized locally and received some national exposure, and a bill was subsequently introduced in the State of San Luis Potosi Congress to authorize the creation of the figure of the Municipal Administrator. Mr. Montgomery’s contribution to the discourse on the need for a professional position in local government, through his presentation, was instrumental in spurring the development of the bill. During the seminar, Mr. Montgomery was able to talk to a State Representative and encourage him to act on ideal. The state representative eventually sponsored the bill that is being studied at this time.
Additionally a follow up, a conference was organized in the neighboring state of Nuevo Leon where this year, during the election campaign, candidates presented the need to explore the possibility of the creation of the municipal administrator figure in local government.
This is significant because this kind of open debate about professional local government management has not been seen before. Mr. Montgomery’s contribution has been direct and continuous through the years. His support, together with that of other ICMA members, has paid off.
The introduction of professional local government management in Mexico will contribute significantly to improve the conditions, as it has been the case in many countries throughout the world for over a century.