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32 years at the Kansas helm, Ernie Mosher steps down.

There were only about a thousand delegates at the first NLC convention E.A. (Ernie) Mosher attended. That was in 1952, when the National League of Cities was still known as the American Municipal Association, and eight years before Mosher began his career with the League of Kansas Municipalities.

This year, he ends it, after nearly 32 years as the Kansas executive director.

Among the highlights of that career, he says, are promoting voter approval of a home rule constitutional amendment for Kansas and heavy involvement in creating Kansas public employee retirement system.

During his nearly 32 years as the Kansas league's executive director, he served three terms on the NCL Board of Directors and four times on the Nominating Committee.

Mosher began his career in local government in 1948 as a part-time research assistant for the League of Wisconsin Municipalities while he was studying political science at the University of Wisconsin. In 1952, after graduate study at the school of Public Administration at Wayne State University in Detroit, he began eight years as the Assistant Director of League of Wisconsin Municipalities. Then, in 1960, he took over as the executive director of the League of Kansas Municipalities.

From that vantage point, Mosher has seen considerable growth in the professional administration of city government. Nearly 85 percent of people in Kansas cities live in cities with city managers or city administrative officers, he says.

"What's relevant there is the increased capacity of local officials to govern. The professionalization of city government administration has provided the opportunity, time and attention for mayors and other elected officials to focus on policy and governance.

"Years ago at NLC conventions, a good ideal of the program material was related to the operation of city government. Now, it's related to leadership, policy, governance."

The next five years, he says, will be the most difficult five year period in history because of basic financial and economic concerns.

"But there are reasons for optimism--the increasing number of people who care, the increasing number who think in terms of a sense of community, who think that what happens to their city government affects their personal life.

"One of NLC's fundamental missions is to create a sense of community among American cities, which translates into state and federal legislative objectives. If people really believe that their cities are important to their lives, they will make sure that the people they elect will be receptive to that which creates strong communities."

What's next? Mosher says he has no firm plans, except that he will spend the next three months working part-time on state legislation for the Kansas League.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Page, Clint
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Dec 16, 1991
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