Article Features Lorraine Okabe

Annual Conference Preview

Lorraine Okabe is assistant director of education and conferences for the League and can be reached at For more information about the conference, visit

Join more than 1,200 city officials and staff at the League’s largest professional development and networking event of the year. The conference offers upward of 40 educational sessions providing attendees with opportunities to share and gain practical, valuable knowledge to enrich and strengthen their local communities. Session “tracks” have been designed with programming of special interest to city attorneys, fire chiefs and human resources professionals. First-time attendees are invited to the orientation session to learn about the League and how to get the most from their conference experience.

Conference Highlights

The conference begins on Wednesday, Sept. 5, with policy committee meetings in the morning and the first-time attendee orientation beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eight of the League’s 11 departments, which represent municipal professions, will hold their business meetings and programs during the afternoon prior to the Opening General Session. The departments play a vital role in developing League policy and assisting with conference program development. (Conference registration is required to attend department and division meetings.)

The Opening General Session features the League’s annual report, the announcement of the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence winners, presentation of the Past Presidents’ Lifetime Achievement Award and a National League of Cities (NLC) update from NLC First Vice President Marie Lopez Rogers, mayor of Avondale, Ariz.

This year the conference combines two dynamic events — the Grand Opening of the Expo Hall and the Host City Reception on Wednesday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The CitiPAC Seventh Annual Leadership Gala Casino Night begins immediately following the Expo and reception (for more information, see “Don’t Miss the Leadership Gala at the Annual Conference”).

Thursday, Sept. 6, starts with break-out sessions from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. and a new learning format called CityTalks, which are 20-minute sessions with one speaker who will share ideas to change attitudes and inspire creative approaches. Watch for CityTalks throughout the conference program.

Peter Kageyama, the featured keynote speaker at Thursday’s General Session from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m., will energize attendees with his presentation “For the Love of Cities.” Learn new ways to capture the energy of your community and engage your residents. Kageyama’s break-out session in the afternoon will give attendees an opportunity to follow up on his ideas.

Plan to visit the Expo, open Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and take advantage of the League Partners Speaker Theater presentations throughout the day. Lunch on the Expo floor allows attendees to meet with exhibitors between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. without missing any educational sessions, which resume at 1:00 p.m.

Thursday afternoon offers a wide spectrum of educational opportunities. Sessions on personnel performance, government “apps,” job creation, public safety liability exposure, city finance and open government illustrate the breadth of topics covered. The evening provides networking opportunities at various receptions sponsored by League Partners and League caucuses, which comprise the African American Caucus; Asian-Pacific Islander Caucus; Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Local Officials Caucus; Latino Caucus and Women’s Caucus.

Friday promises more professional development and networking for attendees. Several League divisions hold their annual breakfasts Friday morning, but a number of the divisions are meeting on Wednesday and Thursday. Check with your regional public affairs manager to find out when your division might have networking events.

A four-hour workshop for city clerks on e-discovery and the Public Records Act begins the day’s educational sessions and includes the City Clerks Department business meeting. (The cost of attending the workshop is additional and not included in the conference registration.) The rest of the morning includes sessions on California’s immigrants, consolidated and regionalized law enforcement services, economic development tools after redevelopment and much more.

Another new feature of this year’s conference is the closing luncheon from noon to 2:00 p.m., where the League board members for 2012–13 are sworn in and city delegates vote on resolutions that guide League policy development for the coming year. It is critical that each city send at least one delegate to the conference to represent its position on issues under consideration at this meeting. Voting delegates must be registered for the conference to participate in the General Assembly and Annual Business Meeting.

For More Information

Find the most up-to-date schedule of events listing content, sessions and speakers at Tweet with us at #CaCitiesAnnual. 

New Expo Hours!

The Grand Opening of the Expo Hall is being held in conjunction with the Host City Reception on Wednesday, Sept. 5, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Meet with exhibitors who may have just the product or service your city needs. The Expo offers the opportunity to explore ways to do things more efficiently with an eye toward reducing costs.

The League Partner Village in the Expo Hall houses the League Partner Speaker Theater and the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence city exhibits. Check your conference program for additional education opportunities offered by the Speaker Theater presentations.

The Expo concludes on Thursday at 4:00 p.m.

This article appears in the August 2012 issue of Western City
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