December 13, 2016
City and County Managers are represented on FirstNet’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) through the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). ICMA is a non-profit organization, founded in 1914, whose mission is to advance local government by supporting excellence in professional management. ICMA provides professional development, training, and research in a wide range of topics including public safety. Through its 10,000 members, ICMA helps build better communities from small towns to larger metropolitan areas.
ICMA’s PSAC representative is Mark Ryckman, City Manager of Corning, New York. Mark also serves as Corning’s Director of Public Safety. In both roles he has been an active participant in the PSAC and its FirstNet-related efforts.
There are many tasks that local government managers undertake to address the broad needs of their municipality, and financial provisions can be difficult, especially in a time when municipalities are under tremendous pressure to ‘do more with less’. “City managers are looking to technology to provide more cost-effective public safety services and FirstNet is part of that solution,” Mark told FirstNet while at the 2016 International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference. “If we had a nationwide broadband network we could exchange information much quicker between our supervisors and our field units.”
According to Mark, “as a member of the PSAC representing ICMA, it is my responsibility to explain to FirstNet some of our issues as city managers, such as the need to control costs, for FirstNet to be competitive with the commercial carriers, and also to make sure that we have coverage in rural areas. Over half our members at ICMA represent cities of 50,000 people or less.”
ICMA has encouraged local government managers to provide input into the design and operation of the FirstNet network through the PSAC to ensure that it meets local jurisdictions’ needs in a cost-effective manner. ICMA also wants to ensure that local jurisdictions are positioned to take advantage of FirstNet’s full capabilities once the network is deployed.
“FirstNet is intended for local first responders,” Mark said. “This is a network for them.”
To find out more about ICMA and their efforts on improving community excellence, visit their website www.icma.org. ICMA also has an active social media presence. Check them out on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn where they post helpful information for city managers such as ICMA reports, other articles, scholarship and fellowship opportunities, and job postings.
Also, check out ICMA University, where the association hosts professional development sessions. In addition, ICMA TV provides videos on issues of importance to city and local government managers.
More from Mark in the video below: