Military Is Excellent Springboard into Local Government Leadership

ARTICLE | Nov 10, 2014

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.

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


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