Orientation Session for New Mayors
By Debra Dehaney-Howard
Akron Mayor and Chair of the Membership Committee Donald L. Plusquellic welcomed over fifty mayors to the new mayors’ orientation session of the 68th Annual Conference and encouraged them to become active members of the organization, "our voice in Washington". Joining Plusquellic were Conference President and Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb, Advisory Board Chair and New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, Conference Executive Director, J. Thomas Cochran and Grant Jones from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
"As a member of this esteemed organization, I can truly say that this organization has afforded me the opportunity to bring greater federal resources to my city," said Mayor Plusquellic. "With the networking forum that the Conference provides I have met cabinet and congressional leaders alike. Now I can call HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo directly."
We also have a chance through the Conference to have a direct impact on national policy whether it’s standard unfunded mandates issues or reducing gun violence, brownfields or workforce development, added Mayor Webb.
"One of the most valuable things about this organization for me has been the opportunity to share and exchange ideas and Best Practices, said Advisory Board Chair New Orleans Mayor Marc H. Morial
The Conference established the new mayor’s session some time ago in response to mayors’ desire to become quickly acquainted with the organization. The orientation is one part of an effort to involve new mayors in the organization as seamless as possible. Other efforts include the establishment of a "buddy system" where mayors who have been actively involved with the conference are paired with new mayors.
Also, during a brief presentation by Grant Jones of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, new mayors learned about "Neighborhood Focused Agenda: Tools for Cities Getting Started" which addressed new strategies for working with their community groups to create a more collaborative and cooperative working relationship.
"We make room for all cities in our organization. If you’re 30,000 or 3 million you get the same vote and the same voice," said J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director of the Conference."