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Leading Your Governing Board: A Guide for Mayors and County Board Chairs

This first book in the new series, Local Government Board Builders, focuses on the requirements for and tools used by lead governing officers: mayors of city councils and chairs of county boards of commissioners. Mayors and board chairs hold the keys to effective meetings for their governing bodies and must create effective working relations with public managers and other organizations. This book emphasizes how these leadership roles should work, including tips for setting agendas and maintaining forward motion and participation in meetings. Intangible essentials, such as keeping a fair and impartial manner and respecting professional roles, are also clarified.


Getting the Right Fit: The Governing Board’s Role in Hiring a Manager

Hiring a manager may be the most important decision a local governing board makes. To make sure the new manager will be a good fit for the organization, the board needs to agree on expectations for the new manager and design a process that will enable it to hire the best candidate for the job. This guide, part of the Local Government Board Builders series, provides local elected officials with an overview of their responsibilities in hiring a public manager and outlines the essential steps in a successful hiring process.


“I believe this publication would be an extremely valuable resource for municipalities that are in the process of hiring a manager. Not only can it offer officials immediate detailed instruction and guidance in the process of developing the profile, assessing, and hiring the best candidate, but it is as close as their fingertips for follow up review and future use.”Hartwell Wright
Human Resources Consultant
North Carolina League of Municipalities

“Vaughn M. Upshaw, John A. Rible IV, and Carl W. Stenberg’s Hiring a Manager is an excellent resource … it raises key points that both boards and managers should consider in the hiring process. This publication can increase the likelihood of the fit right for both the board and the new manager.”Michael McLaurin
Town Manager
Town of Waxhaw


Creating and Maintaining Effective Local Government Citizen Advisory Committees with Downloadable Model Policy and Tracking Forms

Local governments often use appointed policy boards or citizen advisory committees (CACs) to engage people in the democratic process. These boards may be established to respond to community-generated issues, including identifying priorities, considering and recommending actions, and evaluating outcomes. Even though these bodies are used widely, developing and integrating their work into the governmental process remains challenging for many local governments.

Part of the Local Government Board Builders series, this new book and accompanying electronic files provide practical guidelines for local elected officials responsible for establishing policy boards and advisory committees. The book includes tips on evaluating costs/benefits of CACs, worksheets for assessing whether or not to establish a CAC, and options for creating a model policy.


“The questions and tips in this book provide a comprehensive framework for assessing the benefits, costs, and challenges of advisory boards. The book will be useful to local governments when creating new advisory boards, and helpful in ensuring boards’ continued effectiveness as they adapt to changing conditions and priorities.”Bernadette Pelissier
Orange County Board of Commissioners


“Advisory committees are the core organizational tool by which local government filters and incepts ideas, policies, rules, and practical decision making. These volunteer citizen groups represent the true essence of how government works and are an integral part of our democracy. This book covers the purpose of citizen advisory committees (CACs) along with helpful tips on creating a positive, healthy relationship between these boards and local elected officials and their staff. It provides an in-depth perspective and includes questions that practitioners and local elected officials should consider when creating new CACs or analyzing existing boards. Dr. Upshaw has proffered a simple yet detailed approach for organizing and empowering citizen groups in the democratic process.”Lloyd Wm. Payne, Jr., ICMA-CM
Town Manager
Town of Elkin


How Are We Doing? Evaluating Manager and Board Performance

A guidebook in the Local Government Board Builders Series, this publication describes best practices and offers practical tips for productively evaluating the manager’s and the governing board’s performance. It provides examples of manager and board evaluation measures, rating scales, and formats along with suggestions for ongoing performance improvement. For those already doing manager or board performance evaluations, this guidebook offers suggestions that can strengthen an existing process. It may also be used as a step-by-step manual for developing a new performance evaluation process from the ground up.

“Are you satisfied with your manager? Is your board operating in the best way it can? Most people can answer yes or no to these questions. But can you quantify your answers? Do you have written expectations for the manager or board members? This book is an excellent resource for the essential task of evaluating the manager and the board.” Kevin Patterson – Manager, Scotland County


Strategic Planning for Elected Officials: Setting Priorities, 2017

The term strategic planning describes a process through which people first agree on a desired future and then organize their resources and efforts toward meeting those long-term goals. A strategic plan defines what you want to accomplish for your organization or community and provides a road map for moving forward and staying on track. The authors, as trainers and facilitators, have helped communities of all sizes and varying characteristics work through strategic planning processes. This book is their way of offering those potential benefits to others.

Cite as:

Altman, L., Henderson, M. and Upshaw, V. (2017) “Strategic Planning for Elected Officials: Setting Priorities”