Only A Month Away!
(from Maine Townsman, August/September 2003)
by Chris Lockwood, MMA Executive Director

Be sure to mark down October 8-10, 2003 on your calendar. That’s when the MMA Annual Convention will be held at the Augusta Civic Center. MMA staff and the convention steering committee are putting the finishing touches to a high quality program for this fall. We are planning a three-day convention, attempting to design a program that offers members the opportunity to “network” with their peers and participate in workshops that provide “hands-on” learning about current issues facing municipal officials.

The theme of this year’s convention is “Municipalities Meeting the Challenges” and the program content will be developed around the theme. The convention program will offer workshops to help municipal officials improve interpersonal skills, deal with today’s work climate and examine ways we all can work more effectively in groups.  The Convention workshop topics will cover a variety of current issues including tax reform, regionalization, cable television issues, Maine’s right-to-know law and key human resource issues. The general sessions topics were chosen so that the Convention  “offers something for everyone.”

The convention kicks off Wednesday morning with a keynote address by Bill Hudnut III, Senior Fellow from the Urban Land institute, who has just published a book entitled, “Halfway to Everywhere: A Portrait of America’s First Tier Suburbs.” Bill is a popular speaker and author, a former Congressman and four-term mayor of Indianapolis, and currently the vice-mayor of Chevy Chase, Maryland. He will discuss his book and update delegates on some of the current issues around the country.

MMA’s Affiliate Groups will be holding their business meetings and training sessions during the day Wednesday and also on Thursday. We are very pleased that 12 of the MMA Affiliate Groups are taking an active role in the 2003 program.

Wednesday there will be with a very important program at 10 AM that will update delegates about the upcoming tax reform proposal and summarize the activities of the past Legislative session. Come participate in an open discussion about the key issue of tax reform, the initiative that will go to the voters in November. The MMA annual business meeting will follow at 11 A.M.,

The featured speaker at lunch on Wednesday is professional stand-up comedian and Councilman Joey Novick. He is a member of the Borough Council of Flemington, New Jersey and has presented to many state municipal leagues, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and Connecticut. He has appeared on MTV, Rascal's Comedy Hour, and Comedy Central. He is featured regularly at comedy clubs Catch A Rising Star, The Comedy Zone and Dangerfield's and has studied with Chicago's famed Second City improvisational theater director Del Close. Mr. Novick’s topic is “Politics Unusual: The Dollars and Sense of Humor in Government” and he will provide humorous stories about important workplace issues.

The Wednesday program will end with a “Welcome Reception” in the exhibit area at the conclusion of the day’s program. There is no formal program during the evening to give members the chance to meet socially in the Augusta area.

The program for Thursday will start with a “Health Walk” sponsored by the Maine Municipal Employees Health Trust on the University of Maine at Augusta health trails. There will be a continental breakfast available and the program is scheduled to start promptly at 9 A.M. MMA’s Affiliate Groups will continue with their meetings and training sessions and MMA will offer eight general sessions during the morning and afternoon.

The annual MMA banquet will feature Charlie Lyons, Selectman, Town of Arlington, Massachusetts, who is the first vice-president of the National League of Cities (NLC) and is in line to become president of NLC in 2004. He has served on the Arlington Board of Selectmen since 1981 and has served a number of boards and task forces in the community. He was elected to the Arlington School Committee in 1972, making him the first 18-year-old in the nation to be elected to a citywide post. Professionally, he is superintendent/director of the Shawsheen Valley Technical School.  Also on the agenda is the announcement and recognition of the 2003 Municipal Leadership Program participants, the 2003 Annual Report Competition and the presentation of the 2003 Ethel Kelley Award.

The program on Friday, October 10th will start with a breakfast and then the featured speaker is Brenda Barger, the Mayor of Watertown, South Dakota who served recently on the National League of Cities’ Homeland Security Task Force charged with the responsibility of helping our regions, cities, and towns formulate homeland security strategies. Mayor Barger will outline the findings of the Task Force and discuss recent developments in the homeland security arena.

We are excited about this year’s program and looking forward to a large turnout. This edition of the Townsman contains detailed information about the programs offered at the convention. As in the past, members will be able to register on-line through MMA’s website at www.memun.org.

See you in October!