Do You Take a Summer Vacation or Time Away During the Year?

ARTICLE | Jun 8, 2016



Dennis Hovenden, ICMA-CM
Chief Executive Officer
Frankston, Victoria, Australia


Local government never has a quiet time, and I cannot imagine what life would be for our communities if we all took a vacation at once.

I plan the year ahead early in January, taking into account key issues like budget preparation, mayoral elections, and strategic planning that sets out next challenges for the council.

I introduced a policy of appointing an acting CEO from among my team’s directors on a rotating basis.

This provides valuable experience and exposes the acting CEO to dealing with a cross section of issues. While I do keep in contact, I do not interfere as it is important to show trust and faith in the person’s ability to lead.

It is important to recharge the energy levels. My wife Susan and I are looking forward to continuing to explore the west coast of the United States on our next break.



Charles Blanchard
Town Manager
Palmer, Massachusetts


It is important to get out of the office to attend management association meetings to get new ideas and see things in a different perspective.

It is just as important to get time away for relaxation and recharging.

At this stage of my career, succession planning seems to mean something to the town council, and being out of the office periodically provides the opportunity for the assistant manager and other staff members to take on more responsibility.

During the winter after my proposed budget for the next fiscal year is put together, I usually plan a week-long trip to a warmer climate and then spend a week in May on Cape Cod. We also take time to spend a week in August with family members, thus dividing up time away throughout the year.

For me, planning vacation time ahead assures that—barring unexpected emergencies—the time will actually be taken.



Marcia Hampton, ICMA-CM
City Manager
Douglasville, Georgia


This summer my family and I are taking a Disney cruise. We are very excited and looking forward to getting away. We began planning for this trip in March 2015.

My staff is informed of my schedule well in advance. Due to the amount of time spent with my city family, I never want to neglect my personal family. Spending that dedicated time with them during the holidays and summer vacation is critically important.

As much as I love what I do, when my career with local government is complete I will still have my family, and I want them to know they always have me.

We are already busy planning for our 2017 vacation!



Veronica Ferguson
County Administrator
Sonoma County, California


As a new manager, I once worked through Thanksgiving weekend. Come Monday, the only person that noticed was me. An early career life lesson, I learned to prioritize my personal time.

Vacations recharge, build personal resilience, and add perspective. To create space for vacations, we use an annual meeting calendar and schedule time off after major milestones. I take several weeks of vacation a year, and attend such training sessions as the ICMA Annual Conference to reflect on my goals, learn new things, and network with colleagues.

Vacations support the development of partners in the workplace who can handle issues in one’s absence. This provides experience on the job, builds staff confidence, and makes for a stronger organization.

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