What does a city manager do?

Jeff Fiegenschuh
Posted 3/8/22

I often get asked the question, “What does a city manager do?”

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What does a city manager do?


I often get asked the question, “What does a city manager do?”

Usually, I will go into my normal response of managing departments, balancing budgets, speaking to civic groups and representing the city at state and national functions. This is all true and an important part of what I do. However, the more I grow in my profession and surround myself with talented and dedicated staff and colleagues, the more I realize a city manager does not manage. He/she/they lead and build that leadership capacity within the organization and within the community they serve.

Last year I had the honor of participating in the Midwest Leadership Institute hosted by the Northern Illinois University Center for Government Studies, Morrison Associates and Limardi Consulting, LLC. Although we discussed many topics, one key comment affected me the most.

“The talents to lead an organization are exceedingly technical and broadly psychological. Sustained success comes to those leaders that can meld a disparate group of individuals into a team that can see a vision and accomplish a mission.” Such a powerful and true statement.

These words ring true for any leader, whether you are a city manager, the leader of a youth group, a volunteer coordinator or lead bank teller. This is the concept we continue to promote at the City of Rochelle, and I know is being promoted in the many organizations that serve our community.

Speaking of community, thank you to everyone who sold and purchased From the Heart calendars this year. It was our most successful year yet, and it is all due to the volunteers in the community that give their time and talents to a cause greater than themselves.

I have the pleasure of working with several of the groups that benefit from the calendar sales proceeds, and I know the dollars raised do great things in our community. Rochelle is blessed to have groups like Rotary, Golden K, the Rochelle Community Foundation and so many others whose missions are dedicated to serve others before themselves. 

We are so blessed to live in America. To have the freedom to make our own choices, to live our lives as we see fit, free of fear of being invaded or bombed like our fellow humans in the Ukraine. Let’s all work to make our community and country better. To lift each other up and stop tearing those down whom we disagree with or envy. Thank God for what you have, not what you don’t have.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” -Mahatma Gandhi

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”-Robert F. Kennedy

Jeffrey A. Fiegenschuh, MPA, ICMA-CM is the city manager of Rochelle.