The Virginia Local Government Manager’s Association (VLGMA) had its winter conference in Staunton this year at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel. Three main items made an impression on me at this conference.
First, former Lt. Governor Bill Bolling gave a great keynote address regarding the importance of effective communication, the importance of relationships, and the need for compromise. Without good, respectful, two-way communication you cannot build relationships. Without a personal relationship, it is difficult to see beyond an issue and focus on what can be agreed to as opposed to just what the despairing points of view may be. Historically in politics, politicians at least knew and respected one another even when they disagreed on issues. Today, they don’t know each other, they don’t like each other, and they have very polar views on most issues. Without a good relationship, it is very difficult to achieve compromise and that is what has historically made our country great – the ability to compromise and work through issues to their successful resolution.
The second notable event was the tribute to Tedd Povar with UVA’s Institute of Government. As the Associate Director, Tedd's primary responsibility is satisfying the Institute's technical assistance core function. Starting in 1997, he created the Email Broadcast Information Service (EBIS), an effective way for member localities to get information and assistance from other localities across the state. To say that Tedd is, himself, an institution within the local government industry would be an understatement. The tributes (plural) were touching, appropriate, and well-deserved.
Finally, we (The Berkley Group) had seven of our 14 executive managers present for the event which made quite an impression and was a strong statement for our Executive Transition Assistance (ETA) program. It seems like everyone knows our executive managers and hanging with them is always fun and a learning experience too! Thank you all for attending!
From left to right: Jay Stegmaier, Kimball Payne, Margaret Schmitt, Larry Hughes, Darren Coffey, Joe Paxton, Drew Williams, Sandy Wanner, and Pete Huber.