Saturday, April 6th, 2013

Northwest Herald Quotes ZRFM’s ‘Municipal Ten Commandments’

You've-been-elected-2011A cover story appearing in the March 29, 2013, edition of the Northwest Herald includes excerpts from a well-known section of the Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle book You’ve Been Elected! Now What Do You Do? A Practical Guide to Local Government

The print and online article by Emily K. Coleman titled “What to expect when you’re elected” referenced the guide to local government’s “Municipal Ten Commandments,” described on p. 48 of the book as the top practical tips for local government officials.

The commandments are:

  • Commandment 10: Don’t believe anyone who says, “Your predecessor promised . . .”
  • Commandment 9: We are all in relatively small communities so remember, almost everyone is related — be careful what you say and who you say it to. Watch out for foot and mouth disease: “Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on!”
  • Commandment 8: Don’t forget, the walls of the city/township/village hall have eyes and ears. Everything you say or do will be spread far and wide and subsequently posted on Facebook or shared with the media.
  • Commandment 7: Do your homework — For goodness sake at least read the packet! You don’t want your community to look dumb or unprepared — same for yourself. If an issue involves a physical site in your municipality (e.g., a zoning change) visit the site.
  • Commandment 6: Listen to the public, staff, and other elected officials. There are two sides to every story. Don’t create a policy in response to one person’s mistake.
  • Commandment 5: No surprises! Keep everyone informed.
  • Commandment 4: Communicate! Communicate! Communicate — with the public, each other, and staff.
  • Commandment 3: Don’t get into a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel! Make friends with the media and stay friends with the media! Don’t stonewall or withhold information, otherwise they will make it up, and you can’t retract it once it’s in print.
  • Commandment 2: You can’t do it by yourself! You are a part of a TEAM of elected officials and staff.
  • Commandment 1: Don’t make promises you or your municipality cannot keep! “Your city/township/village manager can do ANYTHING you want; he/she just can’t do EVERYTHING you want.”

To learn more about the second edition of ZRFM’s book, which is published by the Illinois Municipal League, or to order a copy, view the books and publications page of our website. To learn more about the authors, view the professional biographies of Richard G. Flood and Ruth Alderman Schlossberg.