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Women Mayors Discuss Public Employee Benefits, Leadership Opportunities

By Joan Crigger
January 28, 2013

The Women Mayors met on opening day of the 81st Winter Meeting of The U.S. Conference of Mayors. Miramar Mayor Lori Moseley, Chair of the Women Mayors, opened the session with brief remarks and then introduced Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran to talk to the mayors about moving up in the leadership of Conference of Mayors.

Cochran presented a brief history of the Women Mayors and said that the Caucus was founded by Senator Dianne Feinstein, then mayor of San Francisco, to bring women together and move them into the leadership of the Conference of Mayors.

Cochran encouraged women mayors to participate in the Caucus and said there are numerous ways to be a part of the Conference of Mayors—11 standing committees and numerous task forces. In addition, he said, you must make yourself visible to the other mayors.

The point of entry into the leadership is the Advisory Board, Cochran noted. The President appoints a Nominating Committee in April for elections to be held in June at the Annual Conference of Mayors. Past Presidents are always on the Nominating Committee. He encouraged them to run. Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth B. Kautz, a former President, told them to keep on applying even if they do not make the cut. Then, once you are on the Advisory Board, the next step is a Trustee. The top three officers come directly from the Trustees—Second Vice President, First Vice President and President.

“We are a bipartisan organization,” Cochran said, with two Democrats and one Republican always in the top three positions. The current officers are Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, President and a Democrat, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, First Vice President and a Republican, and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Second Vice President and a Democrat.

Moseley added some information about the number of women currently in the elected leadership:

  • of 13 Trustees, four are women.

  • of 29 Advisory Board members, only three are women.

“Shame on us,” Moseley said. “Last year, only one woman mayor put her name forward to the Nominating Committee. That cannot happen again. You must put your name in and continue to apply if you don’t make the cut.”

Conference of Mayors President Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, then told the Women Mayors that he had talked with Moseley and Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz, Vice Chair of the Women Mayors, about Women Mayors being very visible in the Conference of Mayors and that he was committed to make that happen.

Immediately following Nutter, Great-West Retirement Services Vice President for Client Relations Amy Heyel addressed the Women Mayors about empowering mayors regarding public sector workers and retirement preparation. She said there was a huge misperception about public sector workers being financially ready when they retire. However, she said, nearly 74 percent of workers are not saving. Heyel indicated that the numbers are even worse for women. “What can you do about this? When you return home, meet with your finance director and ask to look at the statistics of your public workforce. If you have any problems, I can help you interpret the numbers,” she said.

Moseley then announced that the Women Mayors would have an election in June for a new chair and vice chair. She appointed Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence as Chair, along with Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin and Edison Mayor Toni Ricigliano. Moseley said she will send out a notice in March. If you are interested in serving as Vice Chair, please let them know.

Next, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn provided an update on Human Trafficking from his presentation at the Annual Conference of Mayors last June.