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My Veterans Local Government Management Fellowship (VLGMF) has been a unique experience. Blending my Federal Government skills with my newly acquired Local Government experience has been a delightful and broadening experience these past sixteen weeks.

I received knowledge in these different departments of Pueblo West Metropolitan District: community event coordination, social media engagement, computer graphics, historical event writing, journalistic writing for social media posts, critical thinking and policy development, human resources procedures and policies, priority based budgeting and zero base budgeting, economic and social development, special district water billing and procedures, procurement, purchasing and contract acquisition, and Local Government structure with the District Manager and the Board of Directors.

One of my tasks was to complete the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Local Government 101(LG 101) course. The LG 101 course reaffirmed my knowledge of how Local Government should function, as well as an understanding of the Local Government vision and mission to serve their community. Another point about the LG 101 was Economic and Social Development buy in and acceptance procedure. Using a step-by-step set of guidelines with members, employees, and community, the Local Government team can achieve buy-in for  ideas or issues where it is resolved and or passed by using conflict resolution measures. Transparency was also addressed in the LG 101, ensuring the community understands the reasons what or why the Local Government is doing business the way they do. Lastly, the LG 101 explains priority based budgeting ensuring a successful financial and fiscal responsibility plan which translates into a successful Local Government.

Another task was to construct and establish a District Manager’s Critical Information Requirements (DMCIR). The DMCIR is a three phase notification process whereby the District Manager (DM) is notified either immediately, priority, or notified based off a series of approved request criteria. Once the DM is notified they can relay the information quickly and inform the Board of Directors and their staff so proper action can take place. The notifying party has a series of reporting mechanisms such as a Serious Incident Report (SIR) or a Five w’s (Who, What, Why, When & Where) paragraph format. The DMCIR has a standard operating procedure of how Death and Serious injury notifications will be handled, as well as how concurrent follow-up visits will be administered. The DMCIR I prepared was accepted by the Board of Directors as the Notification Policy for Pueblo West Metropolitan District.

Lastly, I was given the task to create a excel spreadsheet to assist Pueblo West Metropolitan District Directors manage their Strategic Plan Goals. The Strategic Plan Goals’ excel spreadsheet helps them by staying informed, updated, and review progress. This document is saved to the District’s shared drive for easy access to everyone. Also, the spreadsheet allows the administrator of the Strategic Plan to monitor the Directors progress keeping in line with the District Manager’s goals.

To say my time working with the VLGMF and Pueblo West Metropolitan District employees has been a pleasurable experience,  would be a half-truth. Working with the District Manager, Darrin Tangeman, Laura Savage, Jay-Michael Baker and the other District Employees has been a honor, privilege, and one of the most memorable times in my life. As a transitioning Active Duty member, I have been imbued with valuable information and blended skills to make myself more marketable in the civilian job market. I want to tell everyone, Thank You, you all have made my transition out of the Active Duty military smooth and seamless.

SFC John Blankenship, U.S. Army 

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