Statewide association selects FSU for new partnership for excellence in local public management

FSU President T.K. Wetherell accepts a
check from William Whitson, immediate
past FCCMA president.

The Florida City and County Management Association (FCCMA), Florida State University’s Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, and the John Scott Dailey Florida Institute of Government have joined forces to educate the next generation of local public managers in Florida, strengthen public management research and education, and create a local government issues forum.

The FCCMA Board of Directors selected FSU to develop a new center, the Florida Partnership for Excellence in Local Public Management, following a competitive process that involved reviewing proposals from seven public administration, public policy and government schools in Florida.

"Florida’s cities and counties are the governments closest to the people, and we need to promote public service and careers in local public management across the state," said William Whitson, immediate past president of the FCCMA. "Florida State University, the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, and the John Scott Dailey Florida Institute of Government have outstanding reputations within our field—and we know they will become even better as we form this partnership. Our membership is committed to this center because we know the value of continuing education and the need to educate a new generation. In addition, we want to focus statewide attention on local issues—and our forum plans will accomplish that goal."

The Florida Partnership for Excellence in Local Public Management will:

  • Train the next generation of city and county managers in Florida in a Florida-specific public administration program that focuses on practical, technical and academic preparation for managers.
  • Create a public forum in which local public managers can gather to address Florida’s unique local government challenges and opportunities.
  • Establish a network of Florida’s public administration schools to focus on the needs of local government.

"The new center unites the efforts of three great organizations," said Lance deHaven-Smith, a professor of public administration at FSU who will serve as director of the Florida Partnership for Excellence in Local Public Management. "The FCCMA brings seasoned professionals and the lessons of experience; the Askew School has students, degree programs and scientific know-how; and the Institute of Government offers a statewide network for participatory planning, training and instructional support. Through the combined efforts of these organizations, the center will help keep academic programs current, scholarly research relevant, and students informed of career opportunities in local public service."

Jeff Hendry, executive director of the Institute of Government, said that when the institute learned of the FCCMA’s plans to partner with a university, he immediately saw an opportunity to develop a world-class initiative that formally links and integrates the knowledge and experiences of local government practitioners in Florida with one of the most nationally recognized public administration programs in the country.

"We envision the center to be a catalyst for ensuring that the academic curriculum, research and analysis, and executive leadership preparation and development opportunities for students and current administrators are responsive, practical and relevant," Hendry said. "It is our vision that this center will integrate the incredible talent and capacity of today’s academic and practitioner communities to effectively prepare and develop the next generation of government leaders in Florida. The direct beneficiaries of the Florida Partnership for Excellence in Local Public Management will be the students and government at all levels in Florida, and most importantly, the communities and people they serve."

The program will be launched in phases, with academic programs in 2007, statewide issue forums in 2007-2008 and additional outreach programs in the future. Current and anticipated funding for the program includes sources from the FCCMA, FSU, state and congressional appropriations, and private-sector and foundation support.

The FCCMA is one of the largest state associations for local public managers in the United States and has the most credentialed managers through the International City/County Management Association in the world.