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Saginaw City Manager to Lead International Association
By Colleen Layton
Montreal, Quebec, Canada was an unlikely setting for giving Michigan cause to celebrate! The occasion was the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Conference. Darnell Earley, Saginaw City Manager, was instated as the 95th president of ICMA, and is the 10th Michigan manager to serve in this prestigious position.
When asked what his appointment as ICMA president means to him, Mr. Earley responded, “Professionally, I have the opportunity to lead an association of over 9,000 members, helping to shape the policy and overall direction of the association. I consider this to be a huge and awesome responsibility, and I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to lead this association.” On a personal level, he has a special affinity for Michigan, having spent his entire career here. He recognizes that there are difficult challenges in Michigan that professional managers can help solve, and he plans to help identify and find solutions to these issues.
Mr. Earley understands the values of ICMA and hopes to extend that message not only in Michigan, but also nationally and internationally. He calls it his “blueprint for passion.” His tenure as president will focus on three priorities: continuing to implement ICMA’s strategic plan; examining ICMA’s governance structure and how the organization interacts with affiliates and state associations; and raising awareness for the council-manager form of government. He equates a manager’s role to that of a CEO who oversees a multi-million dollar corporation.
He emphasizes that many of the problems Michigan is facing are the same everywhere—communities grappling with the post-industrial economy. With a prominent platform as president, Mr. Early feels that he can affect the kind of change that needs to take place, by strongly advocating the need for professional managers to navigate the complex issues that communities face today.
Bob O’Neill, executive director, ICMA, iterated the role of the ICMA president, explaining, “The president acts as the chairman of the board, setting the agenda and priorities for the upcoming year. The president is the visible spokesperson or ‘poster child’ for the profession.”
As Mr. Earley delivered an eloquent speech at the closing ceremony of the conference, his passion and the clarity of his vision was evident. If you were one of several hundred people in the audience, you were left with little doubt about his total commitment to his profession and to his new role as president.
Michigan can truly be proud to be represented by Mr. Earley, and we wish him a very successful year.
Colleen Layton is director of Information & Policy Research at the League. You may reach her at 734-669-6320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.