Join Us for the 70th MMA Convention

(from Maine Townsman, July 2006)
By Michael Starn, Editor

Maine Municipal Association will hold its 70th Annual Convention, October 4-6, at the Augusta Civic Center. The entire municipal family – selectmen, mayors, councilors, managers, clerks, assessors, collectors, treasurers, et al – are cordially invited.

This year’s MMA convention is noteworthy not only for the fact that it’s our 70th but also because MMA is taking a more unified approach to the event. MMA and its Affiliate Groups, which have long been an important part of the convention, are working together on general sessions that will benefit a diversified group of municipal attendees. There are sessions that will deal with legislative issues, technology, public safety, finance, planning, professional development, and public relations. Special sessions will be held to discuss the TABOR citizens’ initiative that will be voted on this November.

The theme for the 2006 MMA Convention is “3 Rs of Local Government: Responsive, Reliable, Resourceful”. Keynote addresses, aimed at improving citizens’ understanding of local government, will be delivered on Wednesday, October 4, by Michael Smart, an independent communications consultant, and James Hunt, president of the National League of Cities and city councilor in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

Michael Smart is national news director at Brigham Young University in Utah. He provides media relations consulting across the country and regularly speaks at state and national conferences of public relations professionals. He has taught courses in public relations and communications at the college level.

Jim Hunt has been active in the National League of Cities for 15 years. As NLC president, Hunt’s primary goals are to “build a nation of inclusive communities” and to “elevate the stature of local government service”. Hunt is a strong supporter of the evolving NLC initiative on why “Cities Matter”.

Smart will be the speaker at the opening session, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. on October 4, and Hunt will be the guest speaker for the Wednesday lunch from 12:00-1:00 p.m.

Between the two keynote speakers will be a gubernatorial debate of the candidates for governor in Maine. Highlighting Wednesday afternoon sessions will be an in-depth program on the TABOR initiative. Other legislative issues will be discussed in concurrent sessions planned for Wednesday afternoon. A special informational session on TABOR will be held Wednesday evening, for those selectmen and other municipal officials who aren’t able to attend the convention during regular hours.

What used to be Affiliate Group day – Thursday of convention – will now be set up according to program tracks. Those program tracks include: Public Safety, Finance, Land Use/Planning, Technology and Professional Development. Contained in each track are sessions that will be of interest to a variety of municipal officials and employees. For example, the Technology track will include a program on “Best Practices for Computer Security” and the Finance track will have a program on “Financial Ethics” and the Land Use/Planning track will cover “Restrictive Development Ordinances.”

Friday morning’s program will be roundtable discussions of MMA’s legislative platform and priorities and the legislative concerns of MMA’s Affiliate Groups. This session will start off with a breakfast (compliments of MMA) and run the entire morning. There is no registration fee for the session; however, we will need to have people register in order to get an accurate count for breakfast.

Registration forms will be included in the August/September issue of the TOWNSMAN. It is anticipated that online registration forms and information will be available by August 15. The MMA web site,, will have updated information on the convention posted during August and September.