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Taking the Field: A good start, but still just a start 

By Paul Meyer, NCLM Executive Director

As we prepare for a new year, I want to take this time to let you, the League membership, know that this organization is adapting and changing in ways that will help member cities and towns reach the goals that came from the Vision 2030 strategic visioning process.

That process began with a simple question: Where do cities and towns want to be by 2030? With those answers in place – including such goals as practicing more productive partnerships, demonstrating the value that municipalities add to a community’s quality of life, and working together for economic success – the next step was about creating "strategic pillars" representing how the League had to become a transformative organization.

Those pillars: reaching and empowering North Carolina citizens; improving NCLM political positioning and influence; expanding effectiveness and value of membership services; and bolstering leadership development of city officials. As I said, the League and its staff have already begun the process to make this transformation.

Over the past year, we have rolled out the Here We Grow campaign (see page 25) to help cities and towns more effectively reach citizens to tell their story and demonstrate their value. We have developed a podcast, Municipal Equation, that provides relevant information about all the great and innovative things that cities and towns are doing and can do; we’ve beefed up a grassroots program to reach more municipal officials and potential allies, creating a more cohesive and informed network of local officials that is improving NCLM political positioning and influence. And our Risk Management Services group continues to develop innovative programs that are improving employee and public safety while helping risk pool members limit their liability.

I lay all of that out there not as some exercise in chest thumping. Far from it. This is really just a start.

Even the efforts that I have just outlined above are in their infancy. We want and expect that the Here We Grow campaign itself grows, becoming an integral part of helping cities and towns make the case of how they are growing the state’s economy and creating jobs. We want and expect to offer more tools over time to help make that case, until people all across North Carolina understand the vital role that municipalities play in helping clear a path for business success.

It’s the same with our other communications efforts, our grassroots outreach, and our insurance programming.

To help cities and towns achieve that vision for 2030, a lot more has to happen.

When it comes to reaching citizens and telling our story, we cannot allow someone else to define what a city and town is. To improve the political positioning and influence of cities and towns, we must continue to expand our networks and strategic relationships. Creating and expanding effective membership services saves time and money, easing financial pressures for members individually.

We have a ways to go to get there, but this start on achieving Vision 2030 is exciting. I look forward to and am confident of more progress over the next year.