Article City Forum Jennifer Whiting

Upcoming Leadership Training Opportunities

Jennifer Whiting is director of education and training for the League and can be reached at

“What’s our best option now?” “What have other cities done?” “How do I learn more about that?”

No doubt you have asked yourself at least one of these questions. Whether you are an elected official or a member of the city staff, you are a leader to whom your community looks for direction — whether you have expertise in a particular area or not. To support our city leaders and help them stay informed, the League offers a range of training opportunities throughout the year featuring current research, lessons learned, model programs and best practices.

Mark Your Calendar Now

In a few weeks, city managers and assistant city managers will gather for their annual City Managers’ Department Meeting to keep up to date on a wide range of issues of current concern. Among the 15 sessions offered for 2018, key issues such as succession planning, addressing homelessness and ethics will be covered.

Every January the League holds the New Mayors & Council Members’ Academy, designed for both newly elected officials and city council veterans wanting a refresher course on the basic legal and practical framework in which city officials operate. This wildly popular training typically sells out in years following general elections. Starting in 2019, the academy will be held in both Northern and Southern California in odd-numbered years.

The League recently revived the Mayors and Council Members’ Executive Forum, held in June. With sessions crafted by a committee of volunteer city officials, the forum features cutting-edge approaches to challenges facing cities. Attendees gain insight into a wide range of topics, including trends in economic development, labor negotiations, city finance, council-manager relations, election year issues, water-related innovation and more.

Immediately following the Executive Forum, elected officials and staff have the opportunity to attend Advanced Leadership Workshops. These six-hour workshops provide a deeper dive into a specific topic. In 2017, attendees chose between “City Finances” and “Creating a Governance Culture of Civility and Purpose.” Topics for June 2018 will be announced in February. The League is also exploring options to expand this training to be offered more frequently.

Other sectors of city government can also benefit from their individual, annual department meetings, including the:

  • City Attorneys’ Spring Conference in May;
  • City Clerks’ New Law and Elections Seminar in December;
  • Fire Chiefs’ Leadership Seminar in December;
  • Municipal Finance Institute in December;
  • Public Works Officers’ Institute, held in conjunction with county engineers, in March; and
  • Planning Commissioners’ Academy in April.

Furthermore, the League supports city leaders’ efforts to promote local priority issues during Legislative Action Day in April. This one-day gathering of California city officials in Sacramento begins with a briefing on current topics before they visit with legislators and representatives from the governor’s administration. Networking events are also an important feature of this day’s program.

Beyond conferences, the League offers a variety of short-notice webinars on emerging issues plus other in-person events throughout the year. One of the most popular webinars is the Legislative Briefing. Held each November, this webinar provides an overview of new laws that will affect cities in the coming months. Because 2018 will be a busy year legislatively, we encourage all members and interested parties to sign up for the League’s electronic newsletter (at for weekly announcements on these additional online training opportunities.

Your Go-To Resource

So the next time you ask, “What’s our best option now?” “What have other cities done?” or “How do I learn more about that?” remember to visit to find an upcoming leadership training event geared specifically for you.

Photo credit: Jeremy Sykes, courtesy of the League of California Cities.

This article appears in the January 2018 issue of Western City
Did you like what you read here? Subscribe to Western City