TThe League’s Annual Conference in Atlantic City is one of the League’s major services to members. I want you to know that your attendance this year is more important than ever. We will all need to gather to discuss how we will meet the challenges ahead.
This year’s programs will focus on practical ways to make your taxpayers’ dollars go further. And, as always, the conference is an opportunity to meet other local leaders and initiate conversations that may lead to shared services or other money saving arrangements for your town.
If you’re a new member, the conference is a great opportunity to learn all you can about the subjects as different as Affordable Housing and Green Energy Savings. As a veteran, you need to be on hand with other members of your governance team to stay up-to-date and contribute the insightful questions that make our sessions so valuable.
The 96th Annual Conference of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities will be held November 15,16 and 17 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The Conference attracts 20,000 visitors and is the largest of its kind in the nation. And our fee for the three days is among the lowest in the nation.
So clear your calendar for November 15-17 and review the Conference Preview information provided in this issue. Encourage your fellow municipal leader to attend the conference with you. Study the program book and mark the sessions you don’t want to miss. And if you can’t make all of them, divide up the important sessions with others from your municipality.
Time spent sharing and gathering information in the hallways and exhibit hall is also very beneficial. Your peers and state and local experts can show you new ways to cut costs and improve services for your constituents—and you’ll avoid having to reinvent the wheel.
Finally, you’ll want to head home ready to share your experience. If a particular session is of special value, purchase an audio tape to review with your fellow leaders. Also, consider writing a report or press release to share with other Council members and the media. The League provides forms at the conference (in the Mayor’s
Center) that make it easy to inform local newspapers of your involvement. We’ll even send the press release out for you!
Here are the benchmarks I use to value my League Conference experience:
• I met at least one new person every day.
• I learned at least one useful thing I didn't know in a session every day.
• I had at least one substantive discussion with a vendor about a new product that I might need.
• I had fun, every day.
And for the past 20 years, the conference has exceeded my expectations. Hope to see you in November!
Originally published in New Jersey
Municipalities, Volume 88, Number 6, June 2011