Article Features By Jennifer Whiting

What to expect at the 2022 Annual Conference and Expo

Jennifer Whiting is the director of education and member services for the League of California Cities; she can be reached at jwhiting@calcities.org.


Next month, city officials from throughout the state will come together to learn, collaborate, and connect with like-minded professionals about top city issues at the League of California Cities Annual Conference and Expo. Here is what to expect at this year’s annual conference, which will bring together over 1,600 city leaders, from Sept. 7-9 at the Long Beach Convention Center.

A plethora of diverse educational opportunities

The annual conference’s dynamic slate of breakout educational sessions gives city leaders the opportunity to learn directly from experts in the field while also connecting with others who share the same interests, goals, and challenges. With over 50 education sessions to choose from, there are plenty of ways to engage with policy experts and city leaders on a diverse range of topics.

Cal Cities’ member-driven selection process means that only the topics most important to local officials are featured. Attendees from cities of all sizes are bound to have numerous “a-ha” moments as they explore ways to improve public meetings, implement organic waste recycling programs, advance equity in their communities, spur economic development, reduce homelessness, or prepare for federal infrastructure funding.

The annual conference also includes multiple ways to earn continuing education credits, including legal education credits. These sessions provide practical training and discussion on the most important legal issues for cities — such as land use and housing, public safety, and public contracts — for city attorneys and officials.

Additionally, the conference offers several opportunities to meet state ethics requirements. City officials can take part in AB 1234 Training: Understanding Public Service Ethics Laws and Principles, which all newly elected and appointed officials must receive within one year of becoming public servants. The annual conference also offers a session on how to identify, prevent, and properly respond to workplace harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and abusive conduct: AB 1661 Training: Sexual Harassment Prevention Training for City Officials.

City Clerks have a workshop dedicated to their issues on the morning of Sept. 7. By taking part in the workshop, attendees can brush up on the latest developments in the city clerk profession, hear an update from the Fair Political Practices Commission, and receive Certified Municipal Clerk/Master Municipal Clerk accreditation. Registration for the workshop is not included in the annual conference registration but can be completed at the same time.

If this is your first time attending the annual conference, join us for the First-Time Attendee Orientation on Wednesday, starting at 12:45 p.m. During this 30-minute session, Cal Cities leadership will introduce themselves, share ways to connect with staff and fellow attendees, and explain how to get the most out of the annual conference.

Take inspiration from well-deserved awards and recognitions

Outside of educational opportunities, the conference celebrates cities and individuals for their important work and dedication to their communities. One award, the Cal Cities Lifetime Achievement Award, is given to individuals whose positive contributions significantly benefited the state and cities. This year’s honoree will be recognized and given this prestigious award during Wednesday’s Opening General Session.

Cal Cities also recognizes the success of cities through the League Partner-sponsored Helen Putnam Awards for Excellence. Cities that demonstrate beneficial innovations, resourceful efficiencies, improved public service, public trust, and support are awarded this honor, a Cal Cities tradition dating back to 1982. Hearing these cities’ stories and what they have done to improve their communities is bound to leave any attendee impressed and inspired to follow suit in their community.

Additionally, the Institute for Local Government honors cities through the Beacon Program, a program that recognizes the many steps local governments take to address energy efficiency and climate change. This award acknowledges the strides cities take to build more sustainable communities.

Connect with colleagues and help shape Cal Cities policy development

Officials can use the annual conference to discover what is happening inside their profession during the conference’s many department meetings. Professional departments connect city officials with colleagues in similar roles to share ideas and shape Cal Cities’ policy and advocacy efforts. Attending a department business meeting provides a space to discuss the collective challenges facing others in similar roles, hear timely legislation updates, and brainstorm unified department goals.

City officials can also directly participate in the development of Cal Cities policy through the Annual Conference Resolutions process. Any city official, individual city, division, department, policy committee, or the board of directors can submit resolutions. This process culminates in the General Assembly on Friday, where every member city has the opportunity to vote on these important proposals.

Set aside Sept. 7-9 to invest in yourself and your community, expand your knowledge, and celebrate everything that California’s 482 cities have accomplished in 2022!

More information, including how to register, can be found online. Registration starts at $650 for city officials.