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Thread: City manager- what type of education is needed

  1. #1
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    City manager- what type of education is needed

    I'm not sure if this is the right area to ask this question but I'll go ahead and ask it. What exactly is a "city manager" and how is this position different than a planner? What type of educational background is needed- a degree in planning, public policy or something else?

    I appreciate any help on this.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    my hometown's city manager has an MPA. i think that's pretty standard, but i could be wrong.

    Quote Originally posted by krkrbts
    I'm not sure if this is the right area to ask this question but I'll go ahead and ask it. What exactly is a "city manager" and how is this position different than a planner? What type of educational background is needed- a degree in planning, public policy or something else?

    I appreciate any help on this.

    Thanks

  3. #3
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I think an MPA and the ability to deal with stupid people is a must. I am sure more than that is needed in certain cases, but you could probably get by with that. I know that the two cities in which I am most familiar with both of the "City Manager" or the position that is equivalent to it, have an MPA.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    MPA, Public Policy, or MBA tend to be the most common IME

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Policy, finance, personnel, and management are the core responsibilities of city management.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    I think you need to be able to play golf, drink like a fish at the country club, and repeat the Chamber of Commerce brochures from memory. That should get you most of the way to there.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    As Normal......

    Quote Originally posted by el Guapo
    I think you need to be able to play golf, drink like a fish at the country club, and repeat the Chamber of Commerce brochures from memory. That should get you most of the way to there.
    EG is RIGHT The other thing you must be able to do is MICRO MANAGE EVERYONE UNTIL THEY WANT TO LEAVE....which works out great, because that way, they don't become competition for your job......also....learn to be a tyrant and read the book...."How to Rule By Fear and Intimidation"....by....well, someone must have written this book in the past.....

    Finally, if you really want to know how it works in practice, read the last two years of the Dilbert comic strips and that boss about sums it up

    Or you could just get an MPA....
    Skilled Adoxographer
    I have two emotions....Silence and Rage

  8. #8
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by el Guapo
    I think you need to be able to play golf, drink like a fish at the country club, and repeat the Chamber of Commerce brochures from memory. That should get you most of the way to there.

    It also helps if you are related to the mayor/members of council or know where at least "one body is buried".
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  9. #9
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Check this web site for more info.

    A City Manager is basically the CEO for the corporation that is the city. Exact duties and responsibilities vary and are usually hard coded by ordinance. There are many City Managers with Planning degrees, job announcements usually list MPA or related degree.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  10. #10
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Most seem to have a MPA, though A LOT of them have a background in planning. This is especially true in small towns where the City Manager does double-duty as a planner. City Managers are more exposed to the political wrangling than planners. MPAs seem to have more background in public policy and finance compared to planners.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  11. #11
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    The manager is a buffer between staff "professional" opinions and the desires of the governing body. I would not work in a community without such buffer (protection). The only bad manager types I have had are in communities with a weak manager system.

  12. #12
         
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    Check out the International City/County Manager Association (ICMA) web site for some information on what a city manager does. As you can see from some of the other replies that good ones are far and few between. It takes someone with great people skills and good technical skills to make a good city manager. I came to the conclusion real quick that its not a job for me. However, I found that many city manager offices have some type of internships and they will mentor others who have a real interest in a career. If you are still interested I would suggest you start with an internship (likely unpaid) before going into a MPA program.

  13. #13
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    Thanks

    Thank you all for your input. I appreciate it.

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