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Aug 27

IIMC – Beyond Its Years

Posted to Executive Director's Blog by Denice Cox

As IIMC approaches its 70th anniversary in 2016, much has changed – operationally, organizationally, demographically, financially – yet, IIMC’s initial mission of serving the needs of Municipal Clerks everywhere has not wavered from the Organization’s inception.

From education to annual conferences, from Institutes to online and webinar programs, IIMC continues to monitor itself, thanks to its Board, as it searches for new ways of immersing itself in its membership.

As a non-profit professional association dedicated to Municipal Clerks, IIMC understands that it exists to serve and support its members. We have a sincere commitment to customer service, and that commitment is reflected in all of our education programs, conferences and membership activities. In this pressurized world where customer service is all too often an afterthought or an exaggeration of the latest marketing campaign, we place the needs and wants of our members at the top of our “to do list.”

All areas of your Organization: Board of Directors; Membership; Administration; Conference; Finance; and Education are operating well and experiencing growth and success.

Board of Directors
The IIMC Board of Directors is an engaging group, solidified in their efforts and responsibilities to ensure that every decision is sound tactically and financially. Over the years, their prescience and vision have manifested into increased Region XI membership, the hiring of a Director of Professional Development to better reflect members’ education needs, a four-day conference to reduce cost for Delegates, financial stability and growth, and oversight into all IIMC governance decisions.

Due to more strategic and fiscally responsible planning in travel, the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors made 2014 the eighth consecutive year the Organization’s Board of Directors has been under budget. The Organization’s commitment regarding non-domestic travel and efforts of those Presidents the past few years played an integral role in financial prudency. IIMC continues to keep Region XI (Outside North America) travel to only those Associations with which IIMC has a strong affiliation. IIMC also utilizes, whenever possible, American Express points to help reduce travel expenses. IIMC also was successful in having State/Provincial/National Associations help when possible, and we thank them for their assistance.

The Board is committed in its quest for continuous improvements and change in all aspects of this Organization to better serve you – the members.

IIMC has embarked on two highly successful membership engagement campaigns. The first one was directed at municipalities with population of more than 2,100. The second campaign involved populations with less than 2,100. Over the past few years, both of these engagement campaigns have brought in more than 500 new members and more than $180,000 in revenue, proving that IIMC is an attractive option to Municipal Clerks.

The efforts of the Membership Department have helped make the 2014 year-end membership figures exceeded the $1 million mark for the eighth consecutive year.

Administration Building - Headquarters
One out of the two offices at Headquarters is fully leased through 2017. We continue to search for our second tenant. The lease pays approximately 25 percent of the monthly mortgage with IIMC tackling the rest of the mortgage. However, with the rental of the second office, IIMC’s mortgage liability will be reduced to minimum payments.

One additional highlight in 2014 included increasing IIMC’s restricted building reserves to $24,000. IIMC remains proactive in maintaining the upkeep on the premises. Headquarters is in good shape, and the building was painted in November 2014.

A first in its history, IIMC now has accumulated $500,000 in a restricted reserve fund, which can only be used with the Board of Directors approval. This nest egg is imperative to non-profits since membership numbers tend to fluctuate and the economy takes a toll on renewals. This reserve is IIMC’s emergency account if ever needed. Getting to this figure a good year or two ahead of what the Board projected means there was a compulsion to reach financial health.

Thank to existing policies and processes that steer us in a positive direction. We’re diligent about administering the Organization’s finances. The 2014 Year End Budget ended with a profit of $204,000. When you think of the impact the economy has had on our membership and conference attendance these past years, IIMC’s financial accomplishments are a strong indication of an Organization’s collective efforts and willingness to adhere to a set budget, while continuing to broaden its horizons and provide members with valuable services.

National Highlights – Regions X and XI
This past year, IIMC recognized a few historical firsts -- Membership numbers in Region XI (outside North America) grew to an all time high with more than 7500 members with the Netherlands bringing in more than 400 new members. Thanks to many of our Region XI affiliates, IIMC held its first ever Region XI Symposium in Brussels, Belgium, attracting more than 100 attendees from the United States, England, Spain, Scotland, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Israel, South Africa and Wales. IIMC’s 2016 Region XI Symposium is slated for summer 2016.

The 2014 year also witnessed IIMC President Young visiting the Alberta Municipal Clerks Association Annual Conference, another first for this Organization.

The Department hired Jane Anne Long, Ed.D., as its Director of Professional Development in January 2015. The Department continues to work on creating and developing new IIMC-approved online courses, webinars and to search for new methods of improving access to education programs for its members. Conference education sessions fall under this Department’s purview.

E-Communication – E-Briefings and News Digest
IIMC is averaging a 27% open rate on email announcements such as the weekly E-Briefings and News Updates. The industry association average is 18%. Our click rate is 23% (members clicking on links within the announcements) and our bounce rate is 5% (emails that bounce back to IIMC). We have 10,053 active contacts. These numbers depicts a membership that is engaged with their Organization.

IIMC’s web site continues to attract members. As IIMC becomes more proficient and knowledgeable about the legal implications of social marketing through social media, a dif- ferent avenue of communication is being imparted to the membership through Twitter, Flickr, Instagram and Facebook.

The 2015 Conference in Hartford, CT, was IIMC’s first 4-day annual conference. Although attendance just fell short of projections, the Conference was hugely successful in terms of its education programs. The four-day conference survey did not reveal an overwhelming response to return to a five-day conference; however, Delegates certainly appreciated one less night of hotel costs. IIMC looks forward to its 2016 Conference in Omaha, where it will celebrate its 70th anniversary.

In all, it’s an honor and a pleasure serving as your Executive Director.
May 11

President’s Message - May 2016

Posted to President's Message by Denice Cox

Dear Colleagues,

It is my pleasure to introduce IIMC Region VII as this month’s Digest feature. Under the thoughtful leadership of Region Directors Denise Chisum (MO) and Brian “Petie” Ruch (IL), the states of Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri have so much of which to be proud. Denise and “Petie” bring forward a wealth of experience and leader- ship, and their collective and individual contributions have greatly benefitted Region VII and IIMC. Denise and Petie, together with each of our Region VII colleagues, have truly set a standard. Region VII continues to enjoy an outstanding partnership with their IIMC colleagues across the globe. Did you know the popular IIMC Athenian Dialogues were first introduced during the 2009 Annual Conference in Chicago? The contributions have been significant indeed, and we are looking forward to joining our Region VII colleagues in 2020. After receiving notice that 2020 IIMC Annual Conference will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, there is no doubt the wheels are turning in Region VII!

Congratulations, Region VII and St. Louis, and thank you for your continued inspiration and dedication to the profession.

Region VII
IIMC Region VII consists of the states Missouri, Illinois and Kansas. All three states have active members in their associations and once a year, a Region meeting is held in alternate states. This year, Missouri will host the other two associations in September. The meeting will be held in St. Louis. Missouri Clerks are planning some interesting learning sessions, as well as a few exciting extra-curricular activities.

Region VII is proud to have 851 IIMC members, with Illinois at 331, Kansas with 308 and Missouri with 212.

Speaking of St. Louis, Region VII was excited to hear that the 2020 IIMC Annual Conference would be in St. Louis! Plans have already begun and we know everyone will have a wonderful time as they get into the Spirit of St. Louis.

City Clerks & Municipal Finance Officers Association of Kansas (CCMFOA)
Kansas Clerks recently gathered for the City Clerks & Municipal Finance Officers Association of Kansas (CCMFOA) Spring Conference in Wichita, which included training on a wide variety of topics and opportunities to network with other Kansas clerks.

During the conference, the association’s new Executive Committee and Board of Directors took office. They include: President Martha Sumrall, MMC (Mission), Vice President Debbie Price, MMC (Marysville), Secretary Amy Burton (Ellis), Treasurer Stephen Powell, MMC (Shawnee), Immediate Past President Stacey Crum, CMC (Concordia), and Board of Directors Members Karen Sublett, MMC (Wichita), Danielle Young, CMC (Cheney), Christy Pyatt, CMC (Greensburg), Amy Zortz, CMC (Weir), David Bryant, MMC (Lenexa) and Tammy Seely (McPherson).

One of the highlights of our recent conference was the awarding of the Mildred Vance City Clerk/Finance Officer of the Year Award. This year’s recipient is Bobby Busch, Neodesha. CCMFOA is also proud to announce that at the 2015 IIMC Conference in Hartford, Jerry Lovett-Sperling, Lindsborg, received the prestigious Quill Award. We congratulate both of these Kansas Clerks on their accomplishments, and commend them for their commitment to CCMFOA, IIMC and their service to their communities.

Currently, there are nearly 430 members of CCMFOA, including 96 who have attained their CMC certification and 37 MMCs. Planning is underway for our annual Kansas/IIMC Certification Institute and Academy scheduled for November 2016 in Wichita. In 2015 our Year 1 Institute class had a record 41 participants.

CCMFOA is also excited to announce that 58 Kansas Clerks will be attending this year’s IIMC Annual Conference in Omaha, Nebraska.

Municipal Clerks of Illinois (MCI)
Janet Gray, MMC, is the current President of MCI, which just celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2015. The organization was initially founded to pursue state legislation that would upgrade the professional education opportunities for the municipal clerks. MCI is still active in working with the legislator but has expanded its commitment of education to include three quarterly seminars and the annual Institute and Academy program in the fall. In addition MCI works closely with the Illinois Municipal League to provide training at their annual conference in Chicago and participates in the annual Legislation Day in Springfield. MCI encourages its members to pursue certification through IIMC and established a state designation of Registered Municipal Clerk.

The organization is made up of nine districts that rotate hosting the seminars. Illinois is a diverse state with Chicago and the Cook county communities that have large populations and municipalities in the rural areas that have very small populations. Holding the seminars in different areas allows the clerks to work together on common responsibilities and concerns and understand the unique challenges of other communities. Some clerks are also the Treasurer or Financial Officer of their community.

MCI was the birthplace of the Athenian Dialogue. In 2009 MCI hosted the annual IIMC conference in Chicago and wanted to offer a different type of a leadership program. Chuck Tokar, MMC, former IIMC President and current Mayor of Chicago Ridge, worked with the Institute Director, Paul Craig, and developed the Athenian Dialogue. After participating in 10 Dialogues, a Clerk is eligible to become an Athenian Fellow. If reading is something you enjoy, this is a wonderful way to find different leadership approaches, and to read books you might not have considered.

If I had just one word to describe the Clerks in Illinois it would be passionate. We are passionate about being professional, expanding our learning, and assisting other Clerks to be the “Clerk That Won’t Be Replaced,” which is a two-day seminar offered bi-annually to new and newly elected Clerks by one of the regional groups, Central Illinois Municipal Clerks. Most often heard among our group are the words, “Clerks get it done.”

Missouri City Clerk and Finance Officers Association (MoCCFOA)
Jeanie Woerner, MMC, City Clerk of Raymore is the current President of the Missouri City Clerks and Finance Officers Association (MoCCFOA). The fiscal year begins May 1 with incoming President Betty Montanõ, CMC, Kirkwood; President Elect Leesa Ross, CMC, Frontenac; Secretary Maribeth Matney, MMC, Carl Junction; and Treasurer Lisa Westfall, MMC, Branson, beginning their terms at that time. MoCCFOA has 544 active members.

MoCCFOA recently held the annual Spring Master Academy, New Clerks session, and Spring Institute. This is followed by an annual retreat held in June, which provides an opportunity for incoming and outgoing committee chairs to review existing goals and to set new goals for the upcoming year. The organization’s second educational event of the year is a full day master academy and two additional sessions held in conjunction with the annual Missouri Municipal League conference in September.

A final educational opportunity of the year will be a two-day Regional Master Academy and a one-day educational session held in the fall. This two-day event is held in three different areas of Missouri to reach the maximum number of clerks possible.

During the Spring Institute banquet and award ceremony in March, MoCCFOA recognized City Clerk Lisa Westfall, MMC, Branson, as the 2016 Outstanding City Clerk of the Year. Lisa was chosen from among 11 nominations for this prestigious award. Congratulations to Lisa on the recognition of her commitment and achievements to her City and community.

This year, Missouri will be hosting the Region VII meeting in St. Louis to include a one-half day educational session and social event on Saturday, September 10. The annual meeting will be held the morning of Sunday, September 11, followed by a full day Athenian Dialogue.

MoCCFOA received good news last November. MoCCFOA was awarded the conference bid and members are looking forward to hosting an outstanding 2020 IIMC Annual Conference in St. Louis!

Meet The Region VII Directors

Denise R. Chisum, MMC, City Clerk, Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Denise Chisum joined Lee’s Summit, MO, in 1985 and was appointed City Clerk in 1991. Located within the Kansas City, MO, metropolitan area, Lee’s Summit has a population of approximately 94,000, considerably larger than the small town of about 3,000 during Denise’s childhood. Although she has spent the last 30 years serving her hometown, Denise’s municipal career actually started with the City of Tulsa, OK, from 1977 to 1983.

In 1995, Denise received the IIMC designation of Certified Municipal Clerk. While serving as President of the Missouri City Clerks and Finance Officers Association (MoCCFOA) in 2001-2002, she initiated and facilitated development of a state certification program, which adheres to IIMC standards and guidelines and includes educational opportunities for MoCCFOA members. She became one of the first members to receive the Missouri Professional City Clerk designation in 2003 and obtained her MMC designation from IIMC in 2009.

Denise has presented numerous sessions for MoCCFOA and served on the Host Committee for the 2001 IIMC Conference in Kansas City, welcoming delegates as MoCCFOA president. In 2007, she was named Missouri CCFOA “Outstanding Clerk of the Year.” She served as the MoCCFOA representative to the Missouri Municipal League Board of Directors from 2009-2013. In 2014, she began her term as IIMC Region VII Director.

For the City of Lee’s Summit, Denise initiated training on minutes and customer service; established a committee of Administrative Assistants, which now serves as the City’s Records Review Board; and, helped develop a paperless packet process. She provides presentations to various organizations on city government and her City’s history. In 2010, she helped develop and administer the City’s well-received Citizens Leadership Academy, consisting of seven, four-hour sessions for interested citizens to learn about municipal government. She is a recent member of the Lee’s Summit Historical Society Board of Directors.

The year 2015 marked Lee’s Summit’s 150th anniversary and for two years, Denise was involved in the planning of events for the celebration. In addition, she served on a committee that began working in 2010 to produce a well-researched history book. Containing more than 200 pages, the book was printed and ready for sale at the City’s Founder’s Day Celebration in 2015 and is now in second printing.

In her spare time, Denise attends auctions and scours flea markets, sews, creates, and repurposes home décor and furniture. Denise has two daughters and is the proud grandmother of six grandchildren.

Brian “Petie” Ruch, MMC, City Clerk, Beardstown, Illinois

Brian “Petie” Ruch was elected City Clerk of Beardstown in April 2001 and he is currently serving his fourth term in office. He previously worked in the City’s Public Works Department for 12 years giving him 27 years with the City. Beardstown is a diverse rural community of 6,200 residents located in central Illinois on the Illinois River. The area is known for its hunting, fishing and agricultural base. Signs entering the community use to state Beardstown as the “Watermelon Capital of the World.” Other tidbits: Al Capone owned a cabin on the Illinois River and Beardstown has the only active courtroom today where President Abraham Lincoln practiced law.

Ruch graduated from MacMurray College in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and Business Administration. He joined the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC) in 2001, attaining his Certified Municipal Clerk designation in 2004 and his Master Municipal Clerk Designation in 2009. Ruch began his term as IIMC Region VII Director in 2015 and serves as liaison to the Records Management Committee.

“Petie” has been an active member of the Municipal Clerks of Illinois (MCI) since 2001 serving two terms as MCI’s President from 2011-2013. He also served MCI in the offices of Vice President, Treasurer and District Director. He is currently Co-Chair of the Legislative Committee and serves as MCI’s liaison to the Illinois Municipal League (IML). Ruch received the prestigious “Ilion Crabel” Clerk of the Year award at the 2015 MCI Annual Meeting. During his term as MCI President, Ruch was instrumental with MCI partnering with the IML creating a statewide database for MCI.

Petie is proud to serve as IIMC Region VII Director and pledges to perform the duties as Region VII Director and represent IIMC to the best of his ability. He looks forward to meeting and learning from Clerks throughout the world during his time on the IIMC Board.

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