The private sector has more flexibility than municipalities to offer the kinds of perks that attract bright young talent. Felipe Aliva and Holly Powell work for the City of Fitchburg, Wisconsin.
City of Fitchburg The private sector has more flexibility than municipalities to offer the kinds of perks that attract bright young talent. Felipe Aliva and Holly Powell work for the City of Fitchburg, Wisconsin.

I'm reviewing the preliminary results of our latest annual salary survey (thanks to those who completed the questionnaire), and one thing is tough to ignore: Cities, counties, special districts, states, and townships aren’t adequately preparing for the looming tsunami of managerial departures. Two-thirds of Public Works readers are more than 50 years old. People with the emotional intelligence and stamina required to lead extremely diverse teams through the political obstacle course that is public works don’t grow on trees. An effective workforce-development program takes time to develop, time to execute, and time to show return on investment. It takes dedication not just by public works professionals, but also by elected officials who realize what’s at stake. Distressingly, many survey respondents say their departments aren’t doing anything to recruit new talent, much less offer the more-flexible, more-open workplace environment recent graduates seek. Almost as distressing, they can’t – because, as one reader put it, it’s hard to explain to constituents why some employees are just getting to work at 10 a.m. (etc.). Maybe that attitude will change as demographics change, but I fear people will always be suspicious of government. I hope I'm wrong. What do you think? In the meantime, here are some things our readers are doing to prepare for the future:

And, finally, if you’re looking to earn professional development hours (PDHs) before the end of the year, consider Public Works’ first conference in mid-November. Use PALAITVIP as the promo code when checking out so you get free registration.