“Grace Under Pressure”

More than 100 local government and school district leaders met at Hudson Valley Community College today for a summit titled Grace Under Pressure: Innovation in a Time of Forced Efficiencies.

The event is part of a series of Municipal Innovation Summits hosted throughout New York by the state’s largest municipal associations: the New York State School Boards Association, the Association of Counties, the Conference of Mayors and the Association of Towns. The first summit was held last month in Syracuse, a third is planned for June 19 in Huntington, Long Island.

Stephen Acquario, NYSAC Executive Director, explained, “Local leaders are under a tremendous amount of pressure to do more with less. Today’s summit brought those leaders together for the first time to talk about shared service delivery, innovative solutions, and government efficiency.”

“The core concept is that we can help local officials identify cost-saving opportunities by providing information about existing inter-municipal agreements and other joint ventures – formal and informal, one-time events and ongoing partnerships. The goal of the MIX is to create a statewide network to share information about collaborations taking place between and among school districts and municipal governments,” said Tim Kremer, NYSSBA Executive Director.

As the pressures on school and local government budgets continues to rise, the state’s municipal associations joined forces to develop the Municipal Innovation Exchange (The MIX), a forum for municipalities and school districts to share best practices in collaborative service sharing. This is the first time in New York State history that the groups have come together in this way to find solutions to the common problems facing towns, villages, cities, counties, and schools alike.

According to Peter Baynes, NYCOM Executive Director, “The summits offer school and local government leaders the ability to learn about successful shared services initiatives, connect with one-another, and deliver high-quality services at an affordable cost.”

The Association of Towns Executive Director Gerry Geist said, “Even when local government leaders want to work together, we often run into one barrier or another. One of the most important results of this collaborative work is to identify the barriers and challenges that are standing in the way to being more efficient. Then our state leaders need to implement reforms that will enable us to overcome those barriers.”

The Capital Region summit included discussions on collaborative service sharing and presentations by some of the state’s leading experts on shared services and government spending. (Full agenda available here.)

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