Who is a Civic Manager?
A Civic Manager is like the “brain” of the city. Civic Managers (CM) include senior leaders in the city hall, the healthcare system, the justice system, the school system, and the library system. With interlocking responsibilities, a Civic Manager creates conditions for the city to run effectively. The purpose of civic management is to establish and maintain order, knowledge and safety in the city. Sometimes like air traffic controllers, other times like engineers and some days like systems designers, a Civic Manager needs training and experience to coordinate city planning, engineering, economic development, transportation, waste and water management, coordinating energy supplies, street maintenance, cultural and social planning, emergency and medical services, animal/human interface management and ecological/sustainability strategy. A Civic Manager sets and/or subscribes to building standards, maintenance schedules, city official agendas and town hall meetings. Traditionally, CM’s have been organized in chains of command for the purposes of responsibility and accountability. Now a CM needs to meshwork these hierarchies with relationships across multiple sectors and stakeholders. CM’s can use their authority to create meshworks of appropriate functions, skills and capacities, able to perform across disciplines with reliability even in very complex situations.
The CM is constantly being challenged to do more with less. They are often the end of a chain of senior government downsizing and off-loading, that expects them to deliver increasing results with declining resources. At the same time the CM is faced with accelerating change as city populations become Global Villages through immigration from all parts of the nation and all parts of the world. CM’s are often caught between divergent expectations of city residents/citizens and senior political levels. The CM is most in need of meshworks, to make hierarchies and networks effective, precisely because so much is expected of CM’s.