When the Article Mix Is All Good

The range of article topics in the December PM seems to go far and wide, but the mixture ends the year on a good note.

BLOG POST | Dec 1, 2014

The range of article topics in the December PM seems to go far and wide. I usually highlight the cover story first in blog posts, but this month I want to point out one of the PM+ articles that focuses on stress and depression in the workplace. Both of these emotions can be at high levels this time of year, which makes it an especially good time for managers to also note that, as author Graeme Cowan says, the “scramble for perpetual performance is taking a harsh toll on employees.”


And it is costing a bundle. A Journal of the American Medical Association study has found that depressed workers experienced more health-related productivity losses than those without depression—costing employers $44 billion. Recommendations are provided in the article that can help depressed employees.


As for the December cover story, ICMA staff member Katherine Takai, project manager, Center for Sustainable Communities, identified five strategies for mixing equity into sustainability programs. Here’s a quick rundown of the strategies:


  1. Define and emphasize social equity as a part of a sustainability plan.
  2. Integrate social equity into sustainability plans through an inclusive process.
  3. Collaborate with nonprofits, universities, private sector partners, and other local governments to achieve goals.
  4. Set equity goals that address the needs of “unsung” community members.
  5. Use data and establish performance measures to track progress.


I found that the article “Building Intergenerational Communities” (premium content for ICMA members only) makes me glad that PM publishes upbeat articles. Intergenerational activities have been a part of Shorewood, Wisconsin’s culture since it was incorporated in 1900. Authors Sue Kelley (“Shorewood Connects” coordinator) and Chris Swartz (village manager) write that it is common for generations to be working with each other to achieve good things for the village. People of all ages actually get along with each other! Doesn’t this sound like the best place to live?


The third feature describes the role that U.S. and Canadian public pension funds and related sovereign wealth funds fill in investing in ­local government infrastructure in the U.S. and Canada. The billions of dollars that are available for infrastructure investment is almost mind boggling. Articles often don’t touch on the role of pensions and other funds for local infrastructure, so authors Joshua Franzel and M. Nicolas Firzil hope this article is an eye opener for readers around the world.


I need to alert you to a copy error in this issue on page 5, the @icma.org department. The correct url for the “Enrich Your Community by Hosting International Professionals” is icma.org/profellowshost.  


Since it is basketball time now, we are reminded of the importance of teamwork. With the mid-term elections over and all newly elected officials soon in place, it could be time for managers to schedule a retreat to start building teamwork with their councils. See “Turn Your Retreat Into Excellence” (also premium content for ICMA members).


Managers who contribute to the Short Story department always have a good personal account to share. In December, check out why Rocco Longo is proud of his management position. And for managers who might be reading this, if you have a funny management-related story your colleagues can enjoy, don’t hesitate to share it (bpayne@icma.org) and continue to make me glad that PM is a source of shared stories!


For specific information in the December issue, go to icma.org/pm.


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