About the 2017 Overseas Manager Exchanges

These Exchanges, offered with the support of our sponsors, JLT and Civic Assurance, provide our members with an outstanding opportunity to learn about local government in other countries.

Entries for the four exchanges being offered in 2017 to the United States, British Columbia (Canada), Queensland and New South Wales closed on 1 February 2017 and the recipients will be announced at SOLGM's annual Gala Dinner being held in Auckland on 12 April 2017.

Each exchange involves a hosted visit to the destination country and the hosting of a reciprocal visitor from that country during the time period of the 2017 SOLGM Annual Summit.


Details on the 2017 United States Exchange

We have advance information on this year's US exchange - the recipient will be able to choose from the following two destinations:

The City of Mission Hills, Kansas (part of metropolitan Kansas City) and with City Administrator (our chief executive equivalent), Courtney Christensen. The City of Mission Hills has completely outsourced all its work and Courtney has twelve senior staff who oversee all the contracts and manage all the work of the city. The population is 3,600 (Metro population: 2.34 million) and gross expenditure is $US8 million p.a.

The Village of South Barrington, Illinois (part of metropolitan Chicago) and with Village Administrator (chief executive) Robert (Bob) Palmer. The Village of South Barrington is ranked the 4 th best community to live in in Illinois and is a ‘high income/high end’ community. Population is 4,565 (Metro population: 9.9 million) and gross expenditure is $US6.8 million p.a.

This programme is one of a range of SOLGM initiatives that provide leadership and development opportunities specifically tailored to the local government environment. It provides managers within the sector with an opportunity to focus on their management development and career in Local Government through a short exchange with a partner manager in another country.

Many SOLGM members have benefited from the programme and through this professional, personal and cultural experience, most have gone back to their local authorities inspired and armed with a better perspective and increased knowledge of local government. Many exchange recipients are surprised how similar the challenges faced by their overseas colleagues are to their own.


Sue Davidson, Chief Operating Officer at New Plymouth District Council was the recipient of an Overseas Manager Exchange to British Columbia Exchange and had this to say about her experience:

My overseas management exchange took place over two weeks in June 2016 on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. This opportunity enabled me to understand what another countries imperatives for local government were and to visit a number of local authorities to understand their current issues and see how they delivered their services. All the local authorities I visited were helpful and keen to point out their successes and challenges which in turn challenged my thinking and gave me new ideas to bring home. I also found that many of the local government professionals I met, were interested in how we functioned in NZ and could share many of our practices with them . The conference along with the preceeding workshops itself highlighted a number of best practices and provided insights to what worked for many organisations. Obviously there were many similarities in our drivers being the passion to do the best for our communities and in the challenges we were facing such as moving forward with digital strategies, citizen participation in decision making and councils working together through sharing services. I valued this exchange because of the learning experience, the collaboration and the many lifelong friendships and networks I have established.

You can read Sue's blog of her experiences here.

About the 2016 Overseas Manager Exchanges

In 2016 SOLGM offered four exchanges to United States, British Columbia, Queensland and New South Wales. The recipients of the 2016 exchanges, announced at our annual Gala Dinner on 14 April, 2016, were:

United States Exchange; Hamish Waugh, General Manager-Infrastructure, Manawatu District Council

Australia, New South Wales Exchange: Katherine Trought, Director Communications and External Relations, Environment Canterbury

Australia, Queensland Exchange: Adrian de Laborde, Engineering Services Group Manager, Hauraki District Council

British Columbia, Canada Exchange: Fiona McTavish, General Manager- Strategy and Science, Bay of Plenty Regional Council

These exchanges are made possible through the support of JLT (Australian and Canadian Exchanges) and Civic Assurance (United States Exchange).

For other leadership development initiatives please refer to our LGLeadership Pathways programme.

For further information on our Exchange programme please contact Natalie Stevens, Manager, Learning and Development - natalie.stevens@solgm.org.nz or phone 04 978 1272