The ICMA Man

How did I get the correction on Pavlicek’s ICMA membership (instead of being a Director, as listed on ZoomInfo)?

Simple. A member of the Executive Board of Directors of the ICMA called me. And agreed to exchange emails with me. And was his usual unfailingly polite self.

Who is this guy and why am I writing about him?

It was Mike Baker, our Assistant Village Manager. He is listed as on the 2007-2008 Executice Board, which he confirms, and which is why he would know who is a Board member and who is not.

Mike is usually the guy at VC meetings making sure the information displayed is correct, and when he adds to the discussion it is usually something technical or leaning towards the wonky side of local government. When he was present in small meetings I have been in the last year, it is usually taking notes and quietly observing. As he was last night, Mike is one of the unfailingly polite guys. Ask him a question he gives you straight answer. If he doesn’t know he says so. If he does he tells you.

In the course of looking at the ICMA I rooted around their website. Their history and goals read as very committed to being good professionals.

Mike has been a member of ICMA since 1997, and joined when getting his Master’s in Public Administration degree at the University of Kansas. His first three year term on the Executive Board, he was elected by his fellow Association membership and took office in October of 2007.

ICMA encourages members to obtain at least 40 hours of professional development/educational activities during the course of the year, and Mike will participate in a range of activities in order to meet this objective. Most of them take the form of local seminars, and he will also typically attend ICMA’s annual conference. He describes the ICMA is an ongoing commitment that sharpens knowledge and instills commitment. This group serves as the standard bearer for his profession. It was formed in 1914, shortly after the first municipality (Staunton, Virginia) created the position for, and hired, a professional manager in 1908. There is an affiliate at the state level – the Illinois City/County Management Association – which works in cooperation with ICMA.

For ICMA members, the Code of Ethics can be very helpful in clarifying how to make sound decisions and proceed in the midst of difficult and/or controversial situations. Members, as a condition of membership, agree to submit to a peer-to-peer review of their conduct under established enforcement procedures.

The mission of ICMA is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional local government management worldwide. To further this mission, certain principles, as enforced by the Rules of Procedure, shall govern the conduct of every member of ICMA, who shall:

Tenet 1

Be dedicated to the concepts of effective and democratic local government by responsible elected officials and believe that professional general management is essential to the achievement of this objective.

Tenet 2

Affirm the dignity and worth of the services rendered by government and maintain a constructive, creative, and practical attitude toward local government affairs and a deep sense of social responsibility as a trusted public servant

Tenet 3

Be dedicated to the highest ideals of honor and integrity in all public and personal relationships in order that the member may merit the respect and confidence of the elected officials, of other officials and employees, and of the public.

Tenet 4

Recognize that the chief function of local government at all times is to serve the best interests of all people.

Tenet 5

Submit policy proposals to elected officials; provide them with facts and advice on matters of policy as a basis for making decisions and setting community goals; and uphold and implement local government policies adopted by elected officials.

Tenet 6

Recognize that elected representatives of the people are entitled to the credit for the establishment of local government policies; responsibility for policy execution rests with the members.

Tenet 7

Refrain from all political activities which undermine public confidence in professional administrators. Refrain from participation in the election of the members of the employing legislative body.

Tenet 8

Make it a duty continually to improve the member’s professional ability and to develop the competence of associates in the use of management techniques.

Tenet 9

Keep the community informed on local government affairs; encourage communication between the citizens and all local government officers; emphasize friendly and courteous service to the public; and seek to improve the quality and image of public service.

Tenet 10

Resist any encroachment on professional responsibilities, believing the member should be free to carry out official policies without interference, and handle each problem without discrimination on the basis of principle and justice.

Tenet 11

Handle all matters of personnel on the basis of merit so that fairness and impartiality govern a member’s decisions, pertaining to appointments, pay adjustments, promotions, and discipline.

Tenet 12

Seek no favor; believe that personal aggrandizement or profit secured by confidential information or by misuse of public time is dishonest.

Mike Baker began working in the Village in 2000. Then, he lived in an apartment across the street from the Police Station and Village Hall. He and his wife purchased their first home in 2003, and he still walks to work when he can.

I spoke with him well over a year ago about another about other improvement opportunities he’s been able to take participate in, and he refreshed my memory:

“I believe you may be referring to the Leadership Enhancement and Development (LEAD) Program offered by the Illinois Municipal League, which involves faculty from the University of Illinois. I participated in 2001-02 and it consisted of six Friday-Saturday sessions over the course of a year. There were approximately 35 municipal officials in the group, a mix of both elected and appointed officials. It was an extremely valuable and well-organized program.”

Lastly, he seems to have a sense of humor. When advised he may end up being a subject of a post here, his response, without missing a beat:

“Thanks for the warning.”


3 Responses to “The ICMA Man”

  1. John Schofield Says:

    Good guy! Professional and competent. Always listens, always helpful.

    I hope Downers Grove can keep this talent in spite of all the turmoil at the top!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    He keeps a low profile for obviously spending a lot of time and energy on his work skills. Probably not a bad thing right now.

  3. Elaine Johnson Says:

    You’re right. Mike is one of the good guys. Always follows through on requests for information and is unfailing polite and cooperative.

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