Joaquin Gonzalez: 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award Nominee
This article was written by ICMA.
Professor Jay Gonzalez recently volunteered with International City/County Management Association (ICMA) on Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance’s Enabling Growth through Investment and Enterprise (ENGINE) project in Tanzania. Professor Gonzalez was instrumental in helping the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) build its credibility with the private sector in Morogoro. His developmental approach enabled him to go well beyond the scope of work by using a demand-driven approach that directly addressed the private sector’s needs and changed the narrative as it related to the public sector’s responsiveness to private sector constraints, a key element of district competitiveness.
The outcome of the public-private discussions was a list of agreed priorities that needed external support. Through his innovative approach, Professor Gonzalez brought together the private and public sectors, which resulted in a fundamental agreement between Morogoro Municipal Council and private sector to reduce service levy. The lynchpin of this facilitation was that Gonzalez was able to demonstrate to the local government that business formalization would improve and tax collection increase if the service levy was increased. The service levy cut was celebrated by the Morogoro business community.
According to Morogoro TCCIA Chairman Mwadhini Myanza, “Apart from a lower service levy impacting on LGA revenue, it will create ownership of the process amongst the business community and fairness of service levy payment among the business community, including new business groups that are not subscribed to the levy.”
Speaking personally, Gonzalez wrote this to David Grossman, Director of ICMA Global Programs: “I would like to express my sincere gratitude for nudging me to do ICMA volunteer work in Tanzania. . . . My assignment was very challenging but very rewarding. I gave the people of Tanzania my heart and mind for three weeks organizing a Public-Private Dialogue and helping in the capacity building of the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture (TCCIA).”
In addition to his volunteer work on behalf of VEGA on the ENGINE project, Gonzalez has been an active volunteer supporter of the ICMA China Center. He recruited Golden Gate University students for a Study Tour to China in April 2017 and participated in the tour, sharing his technical expertise in local government during meetings and forums.