William B. Horne, city manager of Clearwater, Florida, has been a city manager for more than a decade, but he began his career in the military and served as a base commander before retiring from the United States Air Force. Horne is one of the featured case studies in ICMA’s career resource guide, Breaking into Local Government. While Horne says that the transition is not without its challenges, he encourages anyone with a strong desire for public service to consider this career path and stressed that a military background can be an asset, “My military background provided an immediate establishment of credibility as a professional manager/leader with years of experience that was valued.”
ICMA has resources available to help veterans interested in making this transition into a different side of public service. And veterans, Uncle Sam still wants you! As senior managers in local governments begin to retire, and cities and counties look for a new generation of local government managers, there are numerous officers transitioning out of the military. Members of the military share the same passion for public service and the same work ethic.
- Read Breaking Into Local Government: A Guidebook for Career Changers, an ICMA publication.
- Read ICMA's Veterans: Transitioning from a career in the military to local government.
- Local government jobs can be found on the ICMA Job Board.
- ICMA also hosts a military veterans group online for any local government official or veteran seeking information or connections from managers who have made the transition.
- And more resources for the profession, including the First Time Administrator’s Guide, the Job Hunting Handbook, Acting Administrator’s Guide, Model Employment Agreement, and more! Visit the ICMA Career Network for these and more resources.
This is a unique profession, and for the unprepared it can create burnout quickly. Veterans and their families know about the importance of strong support networks, and ICMA provides a strong international peer support network whose members understand the challenges managers go through, the difficulty of being a chief executive, and the nuances of working with elected governing bodies. Connect to ICMA members in the Knowledge Network, the military veterans group, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.