Tour of the Rehoboth Beach Municipal Complex and "Lunch and Learn" with Delaware's Municipal Managers
Founded in September 2018, the University of Delaware (UD) student chapter of ICMA hit the ground running to organize several events. The highlight of the new chapter’s 2018 – 2019 inaugural-year activities was an excursion to tour the City of Rehoboth Beach municipal complex and network with Delaware’s city and town managers.
The January 11, 2019 event was planned and organized by UD ICMA student chapter president Danielle Metcalfe (UD MPA ’19) and Evan Miller (UD MPA ’17), serving at the time as an ICMA Local Government Management Fellow (LGMF) with the cities of Rehoboth Beach and Milford.
The trip was planned during UD’s 2019 winter session, an opportune time for students to engage in professional development. A flier promoting the event generated high enthusiasm, and the trip quickly reached maximum capacity. UD ICMA chapter members were anxious to venture two hours south to Delaware’s premier beach destination known as the “The Nation’s Summer Capital” to tour the new complex, network with professional managers, and gain first-hand insights on the council-manager form of government and municipal management.
Fourteen members of UD's student chapter of ICMA participated in the trip that featured a tour of the 43,000 square-foot City of Rehoboth Beach municipal complex, which was completed in 2017 at a cost of $21 million. It offered an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the facility and operations within the Alderman’s Court and City’s administration, finance, information technology, building and licensing, and police departments. Rehoboth Beach Chief of Police Keith Banks personally led the group through the police department and its state-of-the-art 911 dispatch center, detention area, sally port, and interview room. Students learned that the new complex enhances department efficiencies, better serves the public, and has the capacity to grow and adapt to new technology.
Following the tour, UD chapter members informally conversed during a “lunch and learn” with Delaware’s managers including Sheldon Hudson (Town of Millsboro), Ann Marie Townshend (City of Lewes), Terry Tieman (Town of Fenwick Island), Gene Dvornick (Town of Georgetown), Eric Norenberg (City of Milford), and Sharon Lynn (City of Rehoboth Beach). Mayor Paul Kuhns (City of Rehoboth Beach), ICMA LGMF Evan Miller, Public Works Director Kevin Williams (City of Rehoboth Beach), Finance Director Ellen McCabe (City of Lewes), and UD ICMA student chapter advisor Marcia Scott also attended and interacted with members.
After lunch, ICMA LGMF Evan Miller presented on City of Rehoboth Beach’s organization structure, a personnel classification and compensation study, and Envision Rehoboth Beach—a community engagement initiative implemented on the MindMixer platform. Rehoboth Beach public works director Kevin Williams discussed the City’s wastewater ocean outfall capital project, which began over a decade ago and cost over $50 million.
City and town managers made presentations on a host of topics including economic development, career paths to become a manager, human resources, and budgeting/capital planning. A question- and answer-panel session concluded the day’s activities and provided additional insights into the challenges and rewards of careers in local government management.
The field trip and networking event was an outstanding success! UD chapter members’ ability to network with seasoned municipal administrators positively affected their interest in and enthusiasm for the local government management profession. This impactful event sparked students' career aspirations in city management. UD's ICMA chapter president Danielle Metcalfe (MPA '19) has been appointed City Manager of Delaware City and will begin work in June 2019. Christine Hoh (MPA '19) has been named an ICMA LGMF and will work with the cities of Lewes and Milford, beginning July 2019. The event also inspired the launch of a new UD LGMF program in summer 2019. Five municipalities, including the City of Rehoboth and Town of Fenwick Island, will hire six UD LGMFs in summer 2019.