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Don't Miss NJLM's Annual Conference

Together We Can
'Take Charge of Change'

Arthur Ondish
By Arthur R. Ondish
NJLM President
Mayor, Mount Arlington

The 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 Conference, with the theme “Taking Charge of Change,” 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, it’s a great opportunity to learn all you can about subjects as different as Affordable Housing and Green Energy Savings. As a veteran local leader, 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 97th Annual Conference of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities will be held November 13, 14 and 15 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The Conference attracts over 20,000 visitors and is the largest of its kind in the nation. And our fee for the three days is the lowest in the nation.

So clear your calendar for November 13-15 and review the Conference Preview information provided in this issue. Encourage your fellow municipal leaders to attend the conference with you. Prior to the event 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.

Attendees at a panel presentation at the NJLM Annual Conference in 2011
Over 16,000 people attended the League’s three day conference last November.

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 Councilmembers and the media. The League provides forms at the conference that make it easy to make local newspapers aware 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 28 years, the conference has exceeded my expectations. Hope to see you there this year!

 

Originally published in New Jersey Municipalities, Volume 89, Number 6, June 2012

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