Skip to main content Skip to site navigation

October 2020


A Message From ILG’s Executive Director

It’s Election Season!

Election Day is this Tuesday, November 3. We are all likely feeling the energy, anticipation and apprehension surrounding this particular political season. 

As an organization, ILG is committed to core tenets that preserve the integrity of our democratic process. We are wholeheartedly in support of constructive and respectful dialogue that prioritizes civility in the political process. Civility is about how people treat one another and involves the demonstration of respect for all, including those who hold positions on issues that differ from our own. 

Respectful discourse at all levels of government is essential for democracies to thrive, but effectively integrating that core value into our communities and municipalities is easier said than done. That’s why this newsletter issue is devoted to the themes of democracy, governance and effective leadership in challenging times.  

This month we’re spotlighting tips, tools and resources that will help local agency leaders navigate the complexity of the coming weeks, which may include transitions in leadership, community engagement challenges and more. 

The challenges local agencies are facing right now are both unprecedented and multi-faceted. Many cities, counties and special districts are concurrently addressing the pandemic while also fielding an election, reducing expenditures and exploring policies around equity and justice.

Regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s election, many local leaders are also wondering how to bring their communities back together and rebuild the stretched and frayed fabric of their neighborhoods with honest conversations and positive dialogue about shared values and common goals. Stay tuned for more insights, webinars and trainings from ILG, our affiliates and our partners that will help explore how to accomplish this monumental task. For now, please enjoy this newsletter, which includes the resources that are currently available in this ever-changing environment. 

As always, stay well, stay safe and stay sane. Local government plays a critical role in creating vibrant, healthy, happy and sustainable communities. We applaud your commitment and your leadership.

Leadership and Governance Resources for Challenging Times

Public trust in government is at an all-time low. Divisive elections, bickering on social media (and the dais) and scandals on the front page of the local newspaper can further undermine the public’s trust and support. To thrive, California’s cities, counties and special districts need a strong foundation of good government – trust, accountability, responsiveness and transparency. 

For decades, ILG has supported local governments and helped them build that foundation, develop leadership skills and increase public trust. We offer resources and training to help local officials navigate complex ethics laws, comply with ethics training requirements, welcome newly elected officials and operate more effectively as a civic leadership team. Visit our website or contact us to learn more.. 

Ethics resources:

Leadership resources:

Interested in training for your agency? Contact Program Manager Melissa Kuehne for more information about customized solutions for your community. 

Access L&G Resources Here.

Does Your Community Know How Local Government Works? 

Did you know ILG created a free online curriculum for anyone to learn about the roles, responsibilities and powers of cities, counties and special districts? Since the pandemic emerged (and during this particular election season) there is heightened interest in local elections and that presents an opportunity to highlight how local government affects the everyday lives of Californians. 

People of all ages can play an active part in the local agency decision-making process so feel free to share ILG’s curriculum, “Picture Yourself in Local Government,” with your residents, schools and libraries. Find the curriculum on ILG’s website:

Learn more.

ILG Teaches Local Government Basics to Bi-lingual Audience

ILG recently hosted a FREE online bi-lingual workshop for the Slavic Community as part of our ongoing work to educate and inform about the basics of local government. We were graciously funded by an anonymous donor to do tailored and culturally responsive civics education work with immigrant and refugee communities and we’re proud to continue that outreach this year.  Listen to the recorded workshop here.  

Listen here.

Advancing Ethics & Civility: Establishing a Code of Conduct to Guide Your Local Leaders

By Rod Gould, ILG Board Chair and Former City Manager, City of Santa Monica (Originally Published in Western City Magazine)

It is often said that ethics is the foundation of public service and essential for public trust and confidence in public officials. This is true, but ethics alone is not enough.

A 2019 study conducted by the Pew Research Center reports that public trust in government remains near historic lows. The current dearth of public confidence in government requires elected and appointed officials to lead by example even more than in the past. This means conducting themselves with the highest levels of civility and decorum, thereby giving residents a reason to reconsider negative stereotypes of government leaders and to modulate their own behavior when engaging with government officials.

Read more.

Bridging Divides: Resources for Having Crucial Conversations about Challenging Topics

There are a number of national organizations working to bridge partisan divides. Here are just a few organizations and resources that may be useful for local leaders struggling to broker difficult conversations and unite polarized communities: 


Register Today: ILG Offers State Mandated Ethics Training at CSAC Annual Conference

A solid foundation in ethical conduct is critical to a well-functioning government. ILG is committed to helping local officials comply with state-mandated ethics requirements and offers numerous training sessions each year. County leaders are invited to attend the CSAC Annual Meeting where ILG will host two ethics sessions:

Public Service Ethics Laws and Principles: AB 1234 Training 

State law requires elected and appointed officials to receive two hours of training in specified ethics laws and principles every two years. Newly elected and appointed officials must receive this training within one year of becoming a public servant. Join a panel of experts as they help local officials navigate the ethics laws and principles. The session will be held Friday, November 13 from 9:30am – 11:30am.

Harassment Prevention Training for Supervisors and Officials: AB 1661 Training 

This informational and interactive workplace harassment prevention training will focus on current and emerging issues resulting from the #MeToo movement, and teach officials and supervisors how to identify, prevent and properly respond to workplace harassment, discrimination, retaliation and abusive conduct in order to avoid personal and agency liability in compliance with AB 1825/2053/1661and SB 396. The session will be held Friday, November 13 from 2:00pm - 4:00pm.

Registration is required for the CSAC conference, but the ILG training sessions are open to all conference registrants.

Register Here.

CSDA On-Demand Webinars

Special districts have unique leadership needs. That’s why CSDA offers a range of on-demand trainings that cover critical topics.

During election season, CSDA members should consider watching, “A Practical Guide for Creating New Board Member Orientation” to ensure that any newly elected board members get an orientation that is comprehensive, factual, and strategic. 

CSDA On-Demand Webinars

Western City Article: Leadership in a Time of Uncertainty, Fear and Recovery

Whether you are your city’s top administrator or make policy decisions from the dais, no manuals or policies will tell you how to deal with the stress and pressure of leading your community through a deadly global pandemic. This is especially true when situations change so rapidly that county and state governments have to constantly shift their regulations and recommendations to accommodate new scenarios — or when your residents and local businesses see conflicting reports about what they can and cannot do.

Read More.

News from our Partners

NLC Virtual City Summit: November 18-20, 2020

Learn. Grow. Build. Renew. 2020 has been a year like no other. NLC invites you to take part in their immersive program that includes informative panel discussions, keynotes and fireside chats, as well as engaging workshops and opportunities to network with peers. City Summit is the only national opportunity for all local City officials—elected and staff—to learn about the issues affecting local governments and expand their professional network. Register here.

BB&K’s Local Government Survival Guide: Essential Trainings for Newly Elected Leaders

Best Best & Krieger LLP’s Local Government Survival Guide is the essential training for newly elected leaders. The package includes four of their most popular – and most crucial for public officials – trainings in one curriculum. And it is available from anywhere, at anytime, on any smartphone, tablet or computer. For more information or to register, click here.

The Rose Institute of State and Local Government’s Video Voter Series 2020

Californians are facing decisions on 12 statewide ballot propositions in November 2020. The Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College produced an online “Video Voter” series to give voters an objective, easy-to-understand guide to these propositions. In brief 2-3 minute videos, the Institute presents each measure’s basic purpose, major supporters and opponents and arguments pro and con. to help voters make informed voting decisions. Learn more and watch here.

Article: Facebook Cracking Down on Fake Accounts

Tripepi Smith met with representatives from Facebook and learned the social medium is increasingly paying attention to Pages managed by “fake” accounts/profiles and, in some cases, banning those fake profiles or otherwise restricting their ability to manage pages. This article serves as an important and timely update for elected officials and agencies on new protocols for using Facebook. Read more.

Help ILG Continue to Support Local Government

Help ILG continue to support California’s cities, counties and special districts by making a donation today. Your tax-deductible contribution to the Institute for Local Government is an investment in helping educate, train and support our local public agencies. Every dollar you give will make a difference in your community. 

Donate Today.

Find archives of ILG’s newsletters here.

Log in