By Ally Freeman
As 3000 city leaders gathered in Boston for NLC's 2012 Congress of Cities and Exposition, NLC members and leaders carried out the governance of the organization, electing new officers and board members and appointing a new executive director. The NLC Board also approved Nashville, TN as the location for the 2015 Congress of Cities.
The NLC membership elected Marie Lopez Rogers, mayor, Avondale, AZ, to lead the organization as president for 2013. The organization elevated Chris Coleman, mayor, St. Paul, MN to First Vice President and chose Ralph Becker, mayor, Salt Lake City, UT as Second Vice President.
"I am deeply honored to be chosen to help lead NLC for the coming year," said Lopez Rogers. "There has never been a more important time for our nation's cities and towns. Our communities are constantly evolving and we as leaders must be increasingly more innovative, flexible and resourceful. "
Mayor Lopez Rogers' acceptance speech can be found here:
http://www.nlc.org/Documents/Utility Navigation/News Center/Media Relations/Speeches/acceptance-speech-marie-lopez-rogers.pdf
On Thursday, NLC's board approved the appointment of Clarence E. Anthony as the association's new executive director. Anthony will assume the executive director role at NLC in early January 2013. See related story.
"I look forward to working together with NLC's new executive director, Clarence E. Anthony, during this significant time for our organization," said Lopez Rogers. "In the coming year we will work together to ensure our nation's cities have a strong resource and advocate in NLC."
Lopez Rogers served on the NLC Board of Directors from 2001-2003 and was elected as the organization's Second Vice President in 2010. She is past president of Women in Municipal Government and Hispanic Elected Local Officials, both NLC constituency groups.
Lopez Rogers spent much of her childhood growing up in labor camps and picking cotton alongside her migrant farmworker parents in the Arizona desert. As a social worker, she discovered her passion for public service. Lopez Rogers was elected mayor of Avondale in 2006. Before being elected mayor, she served as a council member and vice mayor for 14 years. Lopez Rogers also serves on Arizona's Council of Governments, and is the regional council chair of the Maricopa Association of Governments' Executive Committee.
Coleman became mayor of St. Paul in 2006. He has served as an NLC board member and worked on the Council on Youth, Education, and Families for NLC. He also served as a city council member in St. Paul from 1997-2003. In his six years as mayor, he has been an advocate for education and public safety, and was instrumental in championing the Central Corridor Light Rail line - the largest transit project ever undertaken in the state of Minnesota.
Becker was elected mayor of Salt Lake City in 2007 and was re-elected to a second term in 2011. Before being elected mayor, Becker served in the Utah State Legislature as a member of the House of Representatives for 11 years, including five years as House Minority Leader. As Salt Lake City's mayor, Becker has greatly expanded transportation options for the City's residents and visitors, with a special focus on public transit, trails and bikeways.
NLC also elected 19 board members during the Congress of Cities. The new board members will each serve two-year terms. (See below for a full list of new board members.)
The NLC Board heard proposals from two NLC member cities to host the Congress of Cities and Exposition in upcoming years. The city of Nashville, TN, led by Mayor Karl Dean, Council Member Ronnie Stein and Butch Spyridon, President and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau, presented a bid for the 2015 conference that was approved by the NLC Board. Additionally, the city of Charlotte, NC, led by Mayor Anthony Foxx, Council Member James Mitchell and representatives from the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, presented a bid for the 2017 conference. Their bid was preliminarily approved by the NLC Board.
The NLC Board also welcomed Joan McCallen, President and CEO of ICMA-RC, in celebration of the company's 40th anniversary as a provider of public sector retirement plans. Outgoing NLC President Ted Ellis, mayor, Bluffton, IN said, "NLC and ICMA-RC have had a very special relationship over the years. NLC has proudly stood behind ICMA-RC for its focus on service, quality and value to the public sector."
Also recognized at the meeting were NLC Past President James Hunt, council member, Clarksburg, WV, NLC Past President Ronald O. Loveridge, mayor, Riverside, CA and NLC Executive Director Donald J. Borut. Hunt and Loveridge are leaving elected office and will no longer serve as NLC officers. Borut announced his retirement after 22 years of service to the organization and will depart at the end of this year.
New NLC Board Members (serving 2013-2014)
• Karen Avilla, City Treasurer, Carson, California
• Leland Cheung, City Councillor, Cambridge, Massachusetts
• Joe Davis, Sr., Alderman, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
• Elvi Gray-Jackson, Assemblymember, Anchorage, Alaska
• Mary Hamann-Roland, Mayor, Apple Valley, Minnesota
• Klaus Hanson, Council Member, Laramie, Wyoming
• Jacquelyn E. Johnson, Councilwoman, East Orange, New Jersey
• R. Michael Kasperzak, Jr., Councilmember, Mountain View, California
• Melodee Colbert Kean, Mayor, Joplin, Missouri
• Jesse Matthews, Councilmember, Bessemer, Alabama*
• A. Keith McDonald, Mayor, Bartlett, Tennessee
• Felicia A. Moore, Council Member, Atlanta, Georgia
• Gregory Pettis, Councilman, Cathedral City, California
• Michael A. Sesma, Council Member, Gaithersburg, Maryland
• Murry K. Witcher, Alderman, North Little Rock, Arkansas
• Matthew C. Greller, Executive Director, Indiana Association of Cities and Towns
• Don Moler, Executive Director, League of Kansas Municipalities
• Ken Smith, Executive Director, Alabama League of Municipalities
• Don Zimmerman, Executive Director, Arkansas Municipal League
*will serve a one-year term