VLGMA Virtual Conference Sets the Conversation for Doing Things Differently
Managing in a Whole New Local Government World
Virginia Local Government Management Association (VLGMA) held its summer conference virtually June 11-12th. McGill was proud to support the event. Greg Kelly, Business Services Manager, provided a summary of key takeaways from his experience.
Local Government’s Adaptability
The conference kicked off with James Ervin, President of VLGMA, highlighting the adaptive nature of local government and the importance of local government’s ability to collaborate across departmental lines; to pull themselves through unforeseen times.
COVID-19 Has Created Unforeseen Trying Times
The opening speaker, Dr. Michael Gillette of Bioethical Services of Virginia and former council member for the City of Lynchburg, discussed the ethical dilemmas managers find themselves in with COVID-19 and its aftermath. COVID has created unforeseen trying times and dilemmas with how to balance ethical, moral, and legal obligations as managers. For example, providing essential core services while, at the same time, having the moral obligation to provide a safe working environment to employees; putting many employees in harm’s way to keep localities functioning. These times are showing that, at times, one cannot uphold an ethical obligation without violating another under the current situation. Dr. Gillette expressed the need for creative thinking and having ongoing conversations on how to work through these tough decisions.
Economic Impacts of COVID-19
Jim Reginbal, a Principal with Fiscal Analytics, spoke on the impacts of COVID on state and local budgets. He shared that all localities are impacted, but in different ways based upon their respective economic engines. Among the heaviest hit are localities that derive significant revenue from tourism and convention economies, and from significant meals and transient occupancy taxes. He also referenced the CARES Act and how the aid provided will likely lead to budget amendments throughout Virginia.
Small Groups Discuss Timely Topics
A virtual happy hour provided participants the opportunity to gather in small groups and discuss relevant and timely topics. These included women leading government, lessons learned from COVID-19, how good is your crystal ball, what’s up next for VLGMA, ideas and innovations, what we know based on data and conversations, and keeping employees happy during hard times.
“Life is Good” Co-Founder Wraps Up Conference
Even though these are tough times we are currently living, something good will come from it and already has come from it.
The conference wrapped up on June 12th with John Jacobs, the co-founder of “Life is Good.” John shared his personal and business story about how optimism can really be transformative in surviving tough times, both personally and professionally. Through telling this story, he demonstrated how his and his brother’s lives changed overnight by creating the brand of optimism, “Life is Good.” He spoke of how good things often arise from bad situations in life, if you look for them and stay committed to living for the good life. What started as an idea to create interesting tee-shirts morphed into a brand that is worth over $100 million. In summary, John’s session shared that even though these are tough times we are currently living, something good will come from it and already has come from it. John stressed the importance of remaining optimistic. If we remain optimistic, we can build something better than what we started with.
We look forward to continuing the conversations with our colleagues in Virginia and supporting their efforts to remain optimistic in the days ahead.