On Thursday June 7, 2016, DCP Associate Director Bill Froehlich traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia, with Elon Simms (Columbus (Ohio) Director of Community Affairs) and Jackie Fisher (a recent Moritz College of Law graduate), to facilitate the Midland Simulation for thirty-three city managers from across the country. The training session was part of the International City / County Management Association’s Senior Executive Institute – a week-long training for experienced city and county managers at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.
The Midland Simulation exposes community leaders to ongoing civil unrest. When used in conjunction with the Divided Community Project’s Community Assessment and Preparedness Test (CPAT is funded by the AAA-ICDR Foundation), the simulation is an engaging catalyst for conversations about community division, and planning in advance of civil unrest.
City managers from California, Texas, Virginia, Idaho, Utah, and a handful of other states played the role of elected big-city and suburban leaders, appointed civil servants, and community leaders, as their fictitious community faced a series of divisive events. Immediately after the three-hour simulation DCP staff used the CPAT as a tool to discuss ideas for planning in advance of civil unrest. City managers discussed
- The value of building relationships, trust, and resilience before a crisis. Many city managers noted that it is too late to build relationships during a crisis.
- The importance of developing a plan for delivering a unified community message – one which unites the community in the face of a crisis.
- Ideas for finding common community values.
- Challenges community leaders face with respect to fake news and social media, as well as opportunities for using social media as a tool to transparently communicate with residents.
- How to leverage relationships to spread accurate information.
Sincere thanks to ICMA for inviting DCP to run the Midland Simulation. We are particularly grateful to ICMA Director of Leadership Development, Felicia Logan, for organizing the program and for live tweeting (her tweets are posted above) during the simulation. If your community is interested in the Community Assessment and Preparedness Test (at no cost) or running the Midland Simulation, contact DCP Associate Director Bill Froehlich at 614.688.4192 or email@example.com.