Local Elected Officials Discuss Cultivating Public Leaders and the Importance of Customer Service

Following along the theme of  “Do It Now” in honor of the late Governor William Donald Schaefer and his committment to public service, the MACo Winter Conference began this Thursday with two general sessions,  “Finding and Fostering Future Public Leaders” and ” Customer Service Lessons for the Public Sector.”

During the first session, attendees heard from Congressman Ruppersberger; Elizabeth Keller, President of the Center for State and Local Government Excellence; and Jan Gardner, State Director for Senator Barbara Mikulski, about the challenges of recruiting the next generation of policy, government, and community leaders.    Speakers discussed why they ran for public office, the demands placed on an individuals time, the need for accentuating the benefits the public sector provides, as well as public sector demographics and perceptions.

During the second session, Don Kettl, Dean of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland; Beth Blauer, Maryland StateStat Director; and Frasier Smith, WYPR senior radio reporter and Schaefer biographer, discussed the importance of customer service in the public sector.   Earning the trust and support of citizens and taxpayers is essential to building successful services and policies.  Speakers highlighted the need for collaboration to get the job done (taxpayers may not know who provided the service, they just want it done); discussed StateStat, an effective State tool for monitoring program performance and benchmarks; and shared the late Governor Schaefer’s rules for “effective” customer service.

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