Affiliate Group Profiles: Job information, training and networking

(from Maine Townsman, May 2005)

EDITOR’S NOTE: For this issue of the MAINE TOWNSMAN, we asked presidents of MMA Affiliate Groups for a brief description of what their association does and who it represents. We received three responses to our email and they are printed below. Hopefully, these brief write-ups will encourage other groups to follow suit. If that happens, the TOWNSMAN will provide space in future issues so that Affiliate Group representatives can profile their association.

Tax Collectors & Treasurers

The Maine Municipal Tax Collector’s and Treasurers’ Association (MMTCTA) is one of the largest affiliate groups within MMA’s umbrella. Every community in Maine employs a tax collector and treasurer – though they are often the same person in small towns. The MMTCTA has members from all geographic areas of the state, and from towns as small as Kingsbury Plantation to Portland. We try to gear the organization to represent the common needs of all towns, and often draw from the expertise from those employed by the larger cities to share with those working on a smaller scale.

The mission statement of the MMTCTA is: “To provide leadership, direction and guidance to all members achieving professionalism, unity, and camaraderie for all tax collectors and treasurers in this State.” From this statement, the Board of Directors has a large emphasis on education. Annually the MMTCTA offers schools on Basic Excise Tax, Cash Management, Tax Liens, Governmental Accounting, and an Annual Conference to bring members up to date on changes in law and procedures. The certification program emphasizes attendance at the various classes as well as service to one’s community. We’re pleased that so many members have sought to become certified as tax collectors and treasurers and that certification helps assure our elected officials that the people they employ know what’s going on and are dedicated to learning to do the job correctly.

Beyond the education of our members, the MMTCTA is a very effective lobbying voice for municipalities. Board member Paul Labrecque of Lewiston has spent countless hours in Augusta stating MMTCTA positions on bills. Through MMTCTA and Paul several bills to clarify the tax collection process have passed, and (perhaps more importantly) poor legislation has been pointed out and avoided.

MMTCTA recently ventured into the electronic communications era though its web page ( www.mmtcta.org), which is hosted by MMA and maintained by members. Members also have access to one another through a list-serve feature run by MMA which can generate a lot of responses to inquiries in a quick amount of time. Questions have ranged from complex issues like GASB34 to how much towns and cities reimburse for mileage.

MMTCTA is truly a member driven organization. The Board of Directors meets several times a year to keep the organization vital, and we’re always looking for volunteers to serve on the Board and on various committees. (Submitted by Stu Marckoon, adminstrative assistant in Lamoine and President of MMTCTA)

City and Town Managers

The Maine Town and City Management Association (MTCMA) is dedicated to helping managers, administrators and administrative assistants do the very best job they can in their position. We are a group of managers from all parts of the state and from all sizes of municipalities. It really doesn’t matter what size the municipality is, we all need support and assistance at times. Managers are also from all educational backgrounds. Some have degrees or advanced degrees in municipal management and some have come up through the ranks of elected officials or backgrounds in other areas of management. That diversity makes us strong.

One of our goals is to be more proficient in our profession and in turn strengthen the quality of local government through professional management. The organization is dedicated to the promotion of professional and personal growth of the managers that practice their profession in Maine.

MTCMA promotes ethical professional management. The organization helps us to achieve these goals by providing a support system through the e mail list serve and also through the training that is provided several times a year.

Right now the certification program is being revised to make it a more meaningful program. There are very specific goals that must be met to become certified. We are hopeful that the day will come that a manager who is certified will have a significant advantage in the profession because of the process that must be followed in order to receive that status. We are optimistic that boards and councils will recognize the efforts to improve ourselves professionally and personally.

Our Range Rider Program is being revived. This is where a retired manager can work with a manager either in crisis or a new manager to provide support and assistance. (Submitted by Ruth Marden, town manager of Jay and MTCMA President).

IT Professionals

MEGMIS (Maine Government Management Information Systems) is a Maine based user group designed to accommodate municipal, educational, government, and quasi-municipal organizations with their technological challenges. Recently formed in late 2002, MEGMIS has been drawing attention from organizations around the state. This is especially true since many of these organizations may either be short of technical staff or in search of more efficient means to utilize technology.

Members of MEGMIS are able to exchange information and ideas through several venues including quarterly meetings, the MEGMIS website, and the MEGMIS email list serve (scheduled to be deployed by March 2003). Quarterly meetings cover various topics from basic to advanced technology utilization and demonstration, to group discussions for addressing technical issues that members may be facing. For example, some of these issues may include email, networking, efficient IT budgeting, backups, software, hardware, and web sites.

MEGMIS is member of GMIS International. GMIS sponsors the formation of State and/or Regional chapters to enable agencies within a geographical area to develop a close relationship and to foster the spirit and intent of GMIS through cooperation, assistance and mutual support. For more information of GMIS, please visit their web site at http://www.gmis.org. MEGMIS is also a MMA affiliate. (Submitted by Jerry Gerlach, IT manager of Biddeford and MEGMIS president)