The California City Management Foundation (CCMF) hosted two sessions at the virtual 2020 League Annual Conference in October. Both panels were well-attended, with nearly 350 viewers collectively, and included lively virtual Q&A sessions.

Each year, the League of California Cities (League) Annual Conference provides an opportunity for public executives to gain insight, expand knowledge, and collaborate with cities across California. This year’s conference took place in a new virtual format and brought local government leaders together at a time when knowledge sharing is especially crucial.

Karen Pinkos (City Manager of El Cerrito and CCMF Board Member) served as moderator on the panel “Leadership in a Time of Uncertainty, Fear and Recovery,” with panelists Jason Holley (City Manager of American Canyon), John Pietig (City Manager of Laguna Beach), and Cameron Smyth (Mayor of Santa Clarita). The panel explored the impacts of COVID-19 and how the cities represented by the three speakers each responded to unique challenges. The panelists shared insights on a variety of topics, including: quickly responding to county, state and federal public health directives; learning to conduct city business virtually; making tough decisions about drastic budget adjustment; internalizing lessons from communicating to local communities; and generating ideas to revive local economies. 

Aaron Adams (City Manager of Temecula and CCMF Board Member) served as presider on the other CCMF panel, “Is a Virtual Workforce our New Normal?”. He moderated conversations between Michele Williams (Chief Information Officer of Culver City), Grace Leung (City Manager of Newport Beach), and Bob Bell (Managing Partner at Peak Point Consultants and former City Manager of Redwood City). The speakers discussed how they overcame infrastructure and procurement challenges during the sprint to a virtual workforce, the insights gained from transforming City Hall culture to a partially remote environment, and the future of virtual work in public agencies.

CCMF thanks all our outstanding presenters for sharing their experiences and insights, and for their flexibility in adapting to the League’s virtual conference format. We hope that all of the attendees logged off with useful information and a renewed sense of commitment to our cities and communities.