We’ve compiled 23 local government resources including guidelines, books, articles, webinars, and more that provide best practices and education, insight on trending issues from the biggest local government organizations and go-to sources for industry news.
Most resources provide national insight, but even those from our favorite state-specific local government (LG) organizations are applicable to all public leaders in one way or another.
1. Good Governance Checklist
The Institute for Local Government (ILG) created a checklist to help elected officials, appointed officials, agency counsel, local agency executives and staff and the community-at-large answer fundamental questions pertaining to 1) Stewardship of Public Resources, 2) Transparency, 3) Education, Training, and Personnel and 4) Campaigns.
2. Municipal Revenue Sources Handbook, Fifth Edition (2020)
The California Municipal Revenue Sources Handbook, Fifth Edition, written by the League of California Cities, Michael Coleman, Bob Biery, Michael G. Colantuono, Harriet Commons, Lloyd DeLlamas, Bill Statler, Betsy Strauss, and Tim Seufert is an essential resource for any official involved in local government finance in California. It includes the most up-to-date information on local fees, taxes, charges and intergovernmental revenue for local governments including laws, court decisions, state tax rates and allocation formulas. The handbook is the definitive resource on municipal funding to help city officials navigate the complex world of municipal finance in California. (Available for purchase)
Bonus: Summary of Existing Policy and Guiding Principles
The League of California Cities encourages cities to use this publication as a guide as they consider positions on legislation introduced at the state and federal levels that would impact cities. Topics include 1) Community Services, 2) Environmental Quality, 3) Water Guidelines, 4) Governance, Transparency and Labor Relations, 5) Housing, Community and Economic Development, 6) Public Safety, 7) Revenue and Taxation and 8) Transportation, Communications and Public Works.
3. Establishment of Strategic Plans
The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) recommends 13 steps that all governmental entities use some form of strategic planning to provide a long-term perspective for service delivery and budgeting, thus establishing logical links between authorized spending and broad organizational goals.
4. Local Government Guide to Sales, Use and Transactions Tax
HdL Companies‘ guide provides an introduction to the many aspects of sales, use and transactions tax in California including NEXUS, allocation of local taxes, and more.
5. A Budgeting Guide for Local Government, Fourth Edition
This guide, authored by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), was written with managers, budget directors, and students of the profession in mind, offers a fresh and forward-looking examination of local government budgeting. (Available for purchase)
Bonus: Guide to Local Government Finance in California, 2nd Edition
The primary purpose of this book, written by Michael Multari, Michael Coleman, Kenneth Hampian, and Bill Statler, is to provide a solid foundation for those who are interested in better understanding and navigating the complexity of California local public finance. (Available for purchase)
6. Fail Safe: How Local Gov’t Can Succeed through Failure
In this TEDx, Justin Entzminger, Innovation Practice Director at Johns Hopkins University, says we root for innovation and development everywhere but government. However, for government to be successful, we have to reboot our expectations and celebrate the small-scale failures that lead to better service and improved lives. When you believe you are required to never fail, it is natural to focus on doing the same thing, over and over, despite the world changing around you. Justin Entzminger advocates that the only way to increase trust in government is to have it be more responsive to residents and build a system for experimentation and failure. Justin shares how his organization is failing forward by trying something new and learning from mistakes.
7. How Cities Work
Texas continues to lead most of the nation on the economy. This publication of TML’s Texas Town & City Magazine covers everything essential about how cities function from taxes, utilities, debt, franchise fees, right-of-way management and much more, because it’s important that legislators understand exactly how a bill could affect vital services and operations.
8. Education On Demand
NACo’s Education on Demand provides a myriad of recorded workshop presentations from the Annual and Legislative Conferences, as well as webinars and live streamed events. From leadership development to county administration, NACo’s webinars and workshops are geared toward elected and appointed county officials in various stages of their career.
Our fave: Creating Local Impact – County Roles in Shaping the Future of Digital Equity
Bonus: Counties Work Educational Game
A great way for kids and adults alike to try their hand at running a county government! You will need to stay on top of resident requests as you develop the local community, make important budgeting decisions and solve crises that pop-up along the way.
9. Social Media in Government: Benefits, Challenges, and Tactics
Hootsuite reviews the many key benefits of using social media in government, including crisis communications, campaign awareness, and more.
10. Job Center
A national listing of available local government jobs provided by ICMA.
For those looking or hiring in Southern California, the Municipal Management Association of Southern California (MMASC), a professional development organization for those working in local government, provides ListServ, a free service that shares listings directly to the inbox of those who register.
11. Knowledge Base
Ask. Learn. Connect. Grow. Knowledge Base is a California Society of Municipal Finance Officers (CSMFO) members-only (a.k.a. secure and private) forum to discuss all things LG with inter-personal messaging and surveying capabilities. It also includes a robust directory listing.
12. Exploring Digital Transformation as a Key Driver to Modernizing Voting Infrastructure – The Los Angeles County Experience
This NACo webinar focuses on the transferable elements of a secure digital transformation strategy that can be applied across a wide range of use cases. It explores a digital transformation initiative in depth as applied to elections critical infrastructure, and how LA County reimagined their voting processes through human-centric design principles.
13. Mapping the Supply Chain
The Economic Development Council (EDCC)’s goal is to provide you with trends, tools, and activities that you can use with your local manufacturers to help shrink the complexity and concerns around supply chain disruptions in your community. Supply chains will remain fluid for some time as political landscapes shift, labor shortages grow, climate change drives population upheaval and consumer preferences change. Manufacturers, distributors, and customers want more visibility and immediacy in sourcing; however, the true test of our future supply chain is in its resiliency to changing conditions.
Bonus: Watch the webinar recording.
14. Government Services Should Lead to Outcomes That are Just and Equitable
Code for America believes government services should be simple, accessible, and easy to use, with outcomes that are just and equitable. These outcomes can and should be measurably better for all people, though this is not currently the case, with significant disparate outcomes such as by race, sexual orientation, gender and socioeconomic status. These articles, stories and additional resources can assist governments in designing, building and operating systems that significantly improving these outcomes.
15. Rebuilding after Disaster Strikes
The critical leadership work for city and county managers is to address recovery challenges. ICMA and the International Economic Development Council developed seven in-depth case studies to highlight successful recovery strategies including the Santa Rosa Tubbs fire, Balstrop County’s numerous natural disasters, Nashville’s tornados, Elk River’s chemical spill and more.
16. Rethinking Revenue
The Rethinking Revenue project, brought to you by GFOA and Partners: American Planning Association, ICMA, National Academy of Public Association, National League of Cities, University of Chicago: Harris School of Public Policy, and the University of Illinois Chicago: Government Finance Research Center, takes a fresh look at how these public funds are raised, focusing on innovative ideas for retooling local systems to align with modern economic realities and treat citizens more fairly. The project involves a series of studies highlighting ideas and guidance to help state and local policy makers think through modernizing outmoded revenue systems.
17. State and Federal Funding are Advancing Environmental Justice. Here’s What That Means for Cities…
The League of California Cities’ Western City Magazine shares best practices to help cities bring much-needed funding for environmental justice into their communities.
18. Meeting Demand for State and Local Public Finance Jobs Report
This report by GFOA and Lightcast analyzes the historic, current, and projected landscape of public finance employment and juxtaposes it with current demand trends in the sector. The key findings detailed below underscore the need for state and local public finance to recruit, retain and grow its workforce. The key findings also detail some of the strengths of the public finance sector. The recommendations that follow indicate ways that public finance organizations can leverage those strengths and take specific actions to meet demand within the sector.
19. How to Solve for Public Sector Staffing Shortages
The Great Resignation, the Silver Tsunami and a new, post-pandemic view of the workplace have added to public sector staffing shortages. HdL Companies solutions offer reduced cost to manage locally administered programs, while increasing both customer support and revenue at the same time.
20. HdL Companies E-Newsletter
Subscribe to receive HdL Companies’ legislative and regulatory updates, economic forecasts, industry headlines, success stories, company news and more.
PublicCEO is an online publication from Tripepi Smith focusing on California local government news. They also provide PublicCEO Report, a video and podcast series. In each Report, President Ryder Smith interviews a thought leader on policy, current events, personal experiences and challenges facing local government.
Our fave: In this episode, HdL’s President/CEO, Andy Nickerson, discussed why local government is the best form of government, the transformation of the public sector, solutions for cities, and more.
22. GovLove Podcast
GovLove is a podcast from Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) about the people, policies and profession of local government. Their goal is to tell informative and unique stories about the work being done at the local level. From City Managers to interns and everyone in between, they interview the people that work in local government to learn more about their path into the public sector and highlight their work. They explore policy issues that impact local governments and the innovative solutions being used to address them. They examine the profession of local government to discuss the future of the sector and how it can be improved to attract the best and the brightest.
23. CitiesSpeak Blog
The National League of Cities’ blog provides local leaders with peer-to-peer experiences, tips, resources, and how-to’s that can help make them most effective in how to lead America’s cities, towns and villages forward.