Building Your Work Plan

Prior to interviewing and hiring a fellow, be sure you have developed a work plan. Most finalists will review work plans prior to interviews to better prepare.

What kind of job should you build for your fellow?

This fellowship is not an undergraduate internship designed for an extra set of hands to make copies or crunch spreadsheets. While those activities are a necessity in most staff jobs, this program is desiged to identify, employ, and train tomorrow's local government managers. These are graduates from master's level public administration and public policy programs, most of whom have some full-time work experience.

Components that contribute to a successful fellowship:

  • Initial interviews should include the manager (if possible).
  • Goals that both the fellow and employer hope to accomplish should be discussed (preferably before the fellow arrives).
  • Introduction of the fellow and description of the fellowship purpose to department heads, elected officials, staff, and community leaders. This includes a deliberate and conscious distinction and discussion about the duties of a fellow versus the duties of an intern.
  • Continuous mentoring with follow-up by one individual (preferably the County/City Manager or another prominent manager such as the assistant manager or an experienced department head), at least once a month, if not more.
  • Attendance at senior management meetings, advances/retreats, etc.
  • Attendance at council/commissioner meetings, citizen groups, etc. to gain exposure to elected officials and citizens.
  • Professional development opportunities: conferences, training, networking.
  • Practical, management-level projects that give fellows insight into what it means to be a manager.

Structuring a Local Government Management Fellowship

  • Specialization: The fellow spends the entire year in a particular department, e.g. the City Manager's Office, Office of Emergency Management. If you go this route, it's still important to ensure the fellow has exposure to all facets of the organization and its goals/mission.
  • Rotation: In the course of a year, the fellow rotates through specific departments. Typically, the fellow goes through four, three-month rotations within the city/county, with one of the four rotations being in the city/county manager's office. Other rotations may include capital improvements, finance, human resources, and departments chosen by the Fellow.  Some municipalities require departments to pay for the fellow's services from their own budget.  This helps to make sure departments have a specific project for the fellow and that there is an expected tangible work product at the end of the three-month rotation. 
  • Loosely-organized rotation: This option provides some structure but also allows for flexibility. The fellow is assigned to general areas and also assigned to projects as needed. For example, the fellow may be assigned to the manager's office part-time and a department that needs management assistance part-time. Or, the fellow may be assigned to rotate through functional areas such as general city/county administration, growth management and the environment, health and human services, and strategic organizational improvement yet still be assigned projects outside of these areas.
  • Project-based: Fellows are assigned projects and move around as needed. Ideally, some projects match the fellow's interests. Projects can be identified during the interview process.  Fellows may be loosely affiliated with several departments at one time.
  • To see what other hosts have done, review the sample work plans from previous LGMF hosts at the bottom of the page.  It is important to explain the structure to the fellow in the selection process and to consider whether the structure and the fellow are a good match.

Sample Work Plans

Please explore this link to view sample work plan documents. If the link fails, search "LGMF work plan" in the search box.

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