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Local Government Management Fellows Program

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Chris Czepiel and Ann Marie Townshend

Inaugural fellow Chris Czepiel (MPA 19) worked with Ann Marie Townshend (MPA 06) in the City of Lewes during the spring semester.

Following the success of the spring pilot program of the Local Government Management Fellows Program, six UD students will intern with Delawares local governments this summer.

What might be one of the hottest, most in-demand careers youve never heard of? According to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the answer isdrumroll, pleaselocal government management! The ICMA has suggested that in the coming years a large cadre of city and county managerswho are among the Baby Boom generation and helped grow the local government management profession in the 1970s and 1980swill be retiring in droves. Its anticipated there wont be enough young professionals, who have earned both advanced educational degrees and gained boots on the ground experience, to fill future vacancies.

In an effort to both meet the demand of anticipated local government vacancies and allow students an opportunity to explore different fields in the public service space, the Institute for Public Administration (IPA) has launched the Local Government Management Fellows Program. Designed to attract and develop talented emerging professionals in local government, the program allows selected UD 4+1 or Masters of Public Administration (MPA) students to translate a passion for public service into practice through work placements with Delaware city and town managers.

Chris Czepiel (MPA 19) was selected as the inaugural fellow for the program with his spring 2019 placement working with the City of Lewes, Delaware. Through his capacity as a fellow, Czepiel gathered information for union negotiations, performed research for ordinance development, and updated the citys human resource procedures and documents.

The opportunity to work with the City of Lewes and expand my experience in local government management has proven to be the highlight of my education through the Biden School MPA program, said Czepiel of the experience. The city manager ensures that I am in the room when key decisions are madehigh-level management experience I likely would not have gained for years without this partnership.

Chris has been a great addition to our team, said Lewes City Manager Ann Marie Townshend (MPA 06), Czepiels supervisor during the fellowship. He has been responsive to requests and is eager to learn about the workings of local government.

Townshend added that such an opportunity could prove to be beneficial for other Delaware municipalities. The Local Government Management Fellows Program is a great way for local governments to improve staff capacity to address projects that would otherwise not get done, she said of the program.

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A collage of two photos of Jason Wardrup, Danielle Littmann, Simone Adkins, and Antonina Tantillo, Sarah Warkentin, and Tonisha Hurd

The brand new Local Government Management Fellows Program is attracting young professionals to work with Delaware city and town managers. Six students will be working around the state this summer. Clockwise from top left: Jason Wardrup, Danielle Littmann, Simone Adkins, Tonisha Hurd, Sarah Warkentin, and Antonina Tantillo. 

Summer 2019 Fellows Announced

Several Delaware municipalities will host local government management fellows in the summer of 2019. Prospective fellows were interviewed and selected by a panel of city and town managers in March 2019.  Selected fellows and host municipalities include Simone Adkins (MPA 20) and Jason Wardrup (MPA 20), City of Rehoboth Beach; Tonisha Hurd (MPA 20), Towns of Smyrna and Middletown; Antonina Tantillo (MPA 19), Towns of Fenwick Island and Milton; Danielle Littmann (MPA 20), Town of Middletown; and Sarah Warkentin (MPA 20), Town of Smyrna. These fellows will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience, assist with a variety of projects and assignments, interact with municipal leadership, and network with members of the City Management Association of Delaware.

According to the ICMA, the applicant pool for future generations of prospective managers is much smaller in number than in years past, adding that for many under the age of 30 public service may mean working for a nonprofit or the state or federal government and not for the cities, towns, and counties where they live.  In short, the ICMA described in a press release, this relatively unknown field is wide open to talented young professionals or career changers who want to make a difference and contribute to the future success of their communities.

To continue to highlight opportunities for current and future students in local governments, the University of Delaware has aligned with ICMA by launching the UD ICMA student chapter in September 2018. In the 20182019 academic year, 29 students became chapter members, an opportunity that provides free ICMA membership, resources, access to a job board, and conference registration.

About the Institute for Public Administration

The University of Delaware's Institute for Public Administration (IPA) addresses the policy, planning, and management needs of its partners through the integration of applied research, professional development and the education of tomorrow's leaders.

About the Local Government Management Fellows Program

The Local Government Management Fellows Program is designed to attract and develop talented emerging professionals in local government. Through this recently launched program, selected University of Delaware 4+1 or MPA students have the opportunity to translate a passion for public service into practice through work placements with Delaware city/town managers.

Article by Marcia Scott and Chris Kelley.

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