||The Training Shoppe
||May 15 1994
Barnes & Noble.com
The Training Shoppe
This concise guide contains a bountiful source of ideas, advice and checklists that will help newly elected City Council and Board members hit the ground running. It will also prove invaluable to seasoned elected officials as a quick reference and team building source. It was written for elected officials to help them deal with day-to-day issues. It includes tips on:
• Clarifying Expectations with Staff
• The Role of the Agency Attorney
• How to Evaluate Advisory Commissions
• Developing Meaningful Goals
• Recognizing Financial Warning Signs
• The Role of the Chairperson
• Common Chairperson Mistakes
• Evaluating Staff Reports and Presentations
• Managing Difficult Meetings
• Identifying Counterproductive Meeting Ploys
• Establishing Rapport with the Media
Public Management, October 1994
Elected officials often enter the political arena with spirit and enthusiasm, a pocketful of ideas, and a little training in the day-to-day processes they must work through to get things done. Many have other full-time jobs that demand their attention, and yet the minute they are sworn in, they have reams of paper to read, a new set of people to deal with, skills to be learned, and new roles to play.
In the Elected Official’s little Handbook, Len Wood tries to ease the transition from private citizen to productive elected official by presenting in outline form a handy guide to such mundane topics as agendas, staff interaction with the elected body, open meeting laws, dealing with reporters, and elected officials’ responsibilities. The guide is divided into sections called Roles, Duties, Meetings, Teamwork, and Political Savvy. The text is short and peppered with quotations. It provides advice, explanations, and checklists and could quickly become the “Security blanket” for the new official, who must shed campaign rhetoric and work within a whole new set of procedures to get things done.
The Portable Guide answers such basic questions--the kind that people sometimes feel silly asking -as how do I control a meeting when the crowd has turned ugly, how do I get something on the agenda, and how do I unearth a colleague’s hidden agenda? It helps the new elected official define his or her role with colleagues and appointed bodies and offers helpful questions that can be asked during budget sessions and other meetings that are typical of all agencies.
This is the third in a series of how-to books authored by Len Wood, a former city manager and current member of the adjunct faculty of the Graduate Center for Public Policy and Administration at California State University, Long Beach, whose career has spanned 28 years. His other books include The Commissioner’s Little Handbook and The Little Budget Book.
This invaluable reference tool for the elected official also helps the public manager assist new bosses in becoming comfortable and effective in their new environment, one that often is loaded with pitfalls for the uninitiated. As one of the more insightful quotations from President Lyndon Johnson states, “When the burden of the presidency seem unusually heavy, I always remind myself it could be worse. I could be a mayor.”
Former City Manager of Sonoma and La Palma, California
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