All general sessions are located at the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts

Wednesday, Sept. 13
2:45 – 5:00 pm



Rosalynn Bliss, Mayor, Grand Rapids; League Board President



Nancy DeBoer, Mayor, Holland


Michigan Municipal Executives (MME) Colloquium

The Impact of Federal Decisions on State and Local Government

With ample chatter about the activities occurring in Washington, D.C., don’t miss out on the happenings relevant to cities and villages. This session is designed to give you an open, honest, and engaging perspective on the activities of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of government. You will hear about cases being considered by the Supreme Court that may impact local government; what affect the appointment of Justice Gorsuch will have on the court and future court vacancies; why it’s important for local government leaders to understand the relationship between the federal government and their community regarding immigration; and many other topics that will give you an inside perspective on the happenings in our nation’s capital.


Keith Van Beek, Deputy County Administrator, Ottawa County; MME Board President


Lisa Soronen, Executive Director, State and Local Legal Center


Community Excellence Awards Presentations

Sponsored by Plante Moran, official auditors of the Community Excellence Awards



Thursday, Sept. 14
10:15 am – 12:15 pm



America in Bloom

America in Bloom envisions communities across the country as welcoming and vibrant places to live, work, and play—benefiting from colorful plants and trees; enjoying clean environments; celebrating heritage; and planting pride through volunteerism. Tony Ferrara, former mayor of Arroyo Grande, California and First Vice President of America in Bloom, will share how his organization is using community engagement and successful local-level leadership as part of their vision to help create better places to live.


Tony Ferrara, First Vice President, America in Bloom


Ethical Public Leadership

Ethical public leadership is more than simply following the law. We need greater clarity about the nature of the ethics of public service and how to bring our personal practice of ethics into the public realm. Come be challenged, and perhaps inspired, as we wrestle with making ethically defensible choices as public leaders.


Scott Paine, Ph.D., Director, Leadership Development & Education, FLC University, Florida League of Cities



Friday, Sept. 15
10:30 am – Noon


New League President



The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact

As the landscape of marijuana legalization has changed drastically in the recent years, it is essential to take a realistic and comprehensive examination of how legalization effects and impacts communities. The purpose of this presentation is to detail the impact of the legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use in Colorado. Since Colorado was the first state to legalize and implement both medical and recreational marijuana, it serves as an experimental lab for the rest of the nation. The past few years have been an important opportunity to gather and examine meaningful data and facts concerning the impact in Colorado. Citizens and policymakers may want to delay any decisions on this important issue until they are able to make an informed decision based on examining the data.


Chelsey Clarke, Strategic Intelligence Unit Supervisor, Rocky Mountain HIDTA



Announcement of 2017 Community Excellence Award Winner!