From the Director

(from Maine Townsman, May 2010)
by Christopher Lockwood, Executive Director, Maine Municipal Association

Christopher Lockwood If you view the calendar one way, October can seem a long way off. This is only late May, after all, and no one wants to look past a Maine summer. Here at the Maine Municipal Association, we have a saying that it’s never too early to think about October. That’s when we typically host our annual convention.

This year’s convention will be held Oct. 12-13 at the Augusta Civic Center. The convention will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 12, with the exhibit hall opening at 7:30 a.m. Our keynote speaker that morning will be Travis Roy, a standout hockey player at North Yarmouth Academy and Boston University who suffered a devastating on-ice injury in 1995, but who emerged to write an inspirational book, work as a television commentator and become a sought-after public speaker. We will hold our well-attended awards luncheon and honor the new MMA President the same day.

On Wednesday morning, we are scheduled to host a forum for the gubernatorial candidates still standing after the June 8 primary election. That’s a big deal, too: For the first time in eight years, Maine will have a new leader in 2010.

Right now, we need your feedback about specific programming needs and requests. We all know how difficult this period has been for municipal leaders and employees, who are dealing with serious revenue reductions from the state and due to the struggling economy. Last year’s convention theme was: Looking Up in Down Times. This year’s working theme might sound similar: Embracing Challenges & Change.

Many new programs will be offered in 2010. For example, we plan a workshop or two designed to help selectpersons, councilors and other officials keep an eye out for fiscal problems and red flags. We are discussing a program on public communication and working with media during a time when the number of ways to get information to the public is proliferating. We will offer important updates on emerging legislative issues, grant funding, municipal budgeting, Right to Know requirements and Human Resources.

We just recently started putting the program together, which makes this an ideal time to share your thoughts. If you want to suggest specific programs or topic areas, please contact Eric Conrad, our Director of Communication & Educational Services, at econrad@memun.org, 1-800-452-8786 or 207-623-8428. If you are an exhibitor or a potential exhibitor, please contact Jaime Clark at jclark@memun.org and the same telephone numbers.

You can always give me your ideas, too. Most of you know where to find me! Either way, we are working hard already to make the 2010 MMA Convention one of our best and most valuable conferences ever. If I don’t see you before October, I sure hope to see you there.