Local Gov Life

Local Gov Life - S02 Episode 04: Navigating Through a Municipal Bankruptcy

Episode Summary

In this episode of Local Gov Life, Kurt Wilson, City manager of Stockton California discusses his city's fiscal crisis and its aftermath.

Episode Notes

Stockton, California, became a symbol of finacial disaster when the combination of a downward spiraling economy and politically expedient decisions led to a highly publicized Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing 2012. The upheaval caused by this crisis affected city staff members and residents and as City Manager Kurt Wilson put it, led to literally life and death decisions in some cases. Wilson describes how the crisis came about, and what steps were required for the city to become financially viable again, in this podcast based on a session held at the ICMA West Coast Summit last March.

Wilson explains that in navigating any crisis, a calm, steady presence can help alleviate the anxiety, confusion, and fear that is pervasive when the outcomes are unknown. He also suggests that experience is the best teacher in leading an organization through any type of disaster. While the effects of the bankruptcy will be felt for many years to come, Stockton was able to emerge from bankruptcy two years ago. In fact, the city is now among the most fiscally healthy cities of its size. According to analysts, the city made the right moves and is on the "right path."

About ICMA

ICMA’s vision is to be the leading association of local government professionals dedicated to creating and supporting thriving communities throughout the world. We do this by working with our more than 12, 000 members to identify and speed the adoption of leading local government practices to improve the lives of residents. ICMA offers membership, professional development programs, research, publications, data and information, technical assistance, and training to thousands of city, town, and county chief administrative officers, their staffs, and other organizations throughout the world. Find out more about ICMA, and the profession, at our website: http://www.icma.org

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