An exploration into the organizations that define our society, and the individuals that lead them.
We speak to local government innovators to understand how our future cities, towns and counties are being built in real-time, plus learn best practices on the strategy and vision that creates an effective government.
Chris Shorter - Starting From Scratch in Baltimore [City Hall Stories, Ep. 29]
It’s not often in local government that you have the chance to define an entirely new role for a City. This is exactly what Chris Shorter is doing in Baltimore as its first ever City Administrator. Working closely with Mayor Brandon Scott, Chris is responsible for turning vision into reality and figuring out the nuts and bolts of creating a world-class city.
Making this even more challenging is the history of Baltimore itself - having a checkered history of under-investment and mismanagement.
To begin, Chris is listening - to both employees and residents. At the same time, he and Mayor Scott have a concrete Action Plan they’re implementing, refusing to accept the status quo as good enough.
Please enjoy my conversation with Chris Shorter.
Mayor Michael Hancock - Envision Big Things, Delegate the Rest [City Hall Stories, Ep. 28]
Mayor Michael Hancock is one of the US’ most known Mayors. Having served Denver as an elected official for almost two decades, Mayor Hancock has seen perhaps the greatest transformation of any American city this century, with Denver exploding in growth, business and opportunity.
Yet with that opportunity has come real challenges - housing, transit, public safety. Yet while Mayor Hancock is the Chief Executive, he is under no illusion that these are his challenges to tackle alone.
In this episode we discuss the difference between a visionary and implementer leader, the most surprising aspects of being a major city Mayor, and his thought process before using his veto powers for the first time.
Please enjoy my conversation with Mayor Michael Hancock.
Robert Clark - Project Save Our Streets [City Hall Stories, Ep. 27]
Robert Clark recently returned from an illustrious FBI career in Los Angeles back home to Ohio, specifically to lead the City of Columbus’ public safety efforts.
Like all other major cities in the US, the past two years has seen a worrying trend of increasing gun violence and homicides, undoing a decade plus of hard work in this area. But to Robert, the solution can’t be found in targeting these metrics alone or just putting cops on dots.
It comes with a broader understanding of what a quality life means, and the deeper social ills that are manifesting in these outcomes. I lost count of the number of times trust and transparency were mentioned, while at the same time Robert emphasized the uniquely difficult job law enforcement officials have, that many of us often forget.
Please enjoy my conversation with Robert Clark.
Brandon del Pozo - The Good and Bad of Today's Policing [City Hall Stories, Ep. 26]
Chief Brandon del Pozo is one of the leading thinkers in Policing. Following a long career with the NYPD, Chief del Pozo moved north to lead the Burlington Police Department. While there he oversaw a 50% reduction in opioid overdose deaths, pushed through key transparency initiatives and undertook multiple analyses on equity and use-of-force.
Today, we discussed where policing is headed, how to bridge the gap between PD and community, and despite common beliefs, why the NYPD is one of the most progressive policing agencies across the world.
Please enjoy my conversation with Chief Brandon del Pozo.
Tommy Gonzalez - The Secret Key to Local Gov Excellence [City Hall Stories, Ep. 25]
Tommy Gonzalez has earned the right to be called an all-star City Manager. Now leading the City of El Paso, Texas, Tommy has also managed in Lubbock, Dallas and Irving, earning awards for Performance Excellence along the way. His time in El Paso has seen it rise to one of the safest and well-run cities in the US, paying off debt while growing fund balances.
When I asked him how this was done, the answers were not at all what I was expecting. This story isn’t about balance sheet management, chasing grant funding or cutting services. Instead, it’s about one transformative idea that can be put to use whether you’re leading a billion dollar City or a local rec soccer team. That story is about the power of people, and I hope you stick around to hear what’s possible when you begin treating them as drivers for change rather than a cost center.
Please enjoy my conversation with Tommy Gonzalez.
Maurice Classen - Landing the City of Chicago's Plane [City Hall Stories, Ep. 24]
When it comes to local government, it doesn’t get any bigger than Maurice Classen. Most recently the Chief of Staff for Mayor Lightfoot in the City of Chicago, Maurice’s role meant overseeing an $11 billion budget and 30,000 city staff, all the while managing the unique tensions of Covid and the George Floyd protests.
With a background in prosecution and police strategy, Maurice brings an analytical mind to the conversation that shines through on each topic, being able to understand and synthesize multiple points of view at one time to find a solution: no easy task.
Today, we discuss the pressure such a role entails both professionally and personally, how the City of Chicago tried to remain empathetic yet also responsible to its taxpayers throughout the 2020 protests, and a few war stories from the Mayor’s Office.
Please enjoy my conversation with Maurice Classen.