After serving as Interim Executive Director since mid-September, I am now in the “passing the torch” phase. Throughout this time, my goal has been to provide the new Executive Director with an operational base that will allow LGA to fulfill its mission in as many ways as possible.
During my service as Interim, I was lucky to have excellent staff support from Sarah Godfrey, our Web Developer and Social Media Coordinator, and the LGA Board of Directors who have demonstrated outstanding commitment and energy to ensure that this organization thrives as we move forward with new leadership. We have used this interim time to build the tools our new Executive Director, our staff and our many volunteers and board of directors will need to ensure that LGA will continue to meet the educational needs of today’s local governments and change as those needs change.
I am excited about the future for LGA with the selection of Ms. Joy M. Ruff, AICP, as the new leadership for LGA. She comes to us at a time when there is intense pressure on local government to take on more responsibilities and to do more than before.
Throughout her career, Joy has worked with municipalities across the Commonwealth. She has a depth of experience addressing the issues affecting local governments on a daily basis. As a planning consultant and Local Government Specialist for DCED, Joy has seen first-hand the benefits that our programming and educational offerings provide. I know that her passion for Excellence in Local Government will drive LGA forward It is with great pleasure that I and the Board welcome her as the Executive Director for the Local Government Academy.
Now, I want you to meet her.
– Preston Shimer
Hello to all the friends of LGA. I am thrilled to assume the mantle of Executive Director for the Local Government Academy. Leading an organization as important as LGA brings not only a feeling of immense responsibility but also genuine excitement at the opportunity. Knowing that LGA is evolving in terms of its programming and delivery of educational programs to address modern challenges and needs gives me the feeling of anticipation for what the future will hold.
The importance of LGA cannot be understated. Our role as a non-partisan provider of educational programming specific to issues of importance to local government is more relevant than ever. As LGA kicks off another year of the incredibly popular Municipal Intern Program, I will have the honor of meeting graduate and undergraduate students who understand this need and are seeking intern opportunities with municipalities that would like to have professional-level assistance on a project. Local leaders should have received the notice for local governments to submit proposals for our municipal Internship program, but if not please reach out to us for more information.
Demonstrating our ongoing relevance, we will roll-out the 2019-2020 Newly Elected Officials course in November to continue our longstanding tradition of setting a solid foundation for incoming municipal officials. This course, which is designed specifically for local elected officials in Pennsylvania, builds a solid foundation of knowledge and skills of participants so that they may serve the public more effectively. This election season could see the largest class of newly elected officials in LGA’s 30+ history, and I hope you will help make that happen.
My focus for the first year will be to build on the existing programs already scheduled for 2020 and work to bring new program content to make LGA the go-to organization for local government education. Additionally, LGA, like many local governments, will implement cost efficiencies and maximize our resources as we seek out new opportunities to grow revenue. One of our most successful events is our annual golf outing on May 11, and I’ve heard many of you are eager to hit the course! I can’t wait to meet you in person and hope you will consider sponsorship or signing up to play.
I encourage you to contact me with your thoughts and any concerns you may have about the demands facing local government and hope you will share your ideas of how LGA can support you to Promote Excellence in Local Government. I look forward to serving you as we work together to increase the knowledge and enhance the abilities of elected officials, municipal staff, and the public. With your help, LGA will continue our work to promote the strong and responsive local government systems that are necessary for healthy and vibrant communities.
Joy has more than 23 years of experience in municipal planning, community development, and public involvement that spans public, private, and non-profit sectors. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh and a M.A. in Communication Studies from California University of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and has led planning and community engagement efforts across Pennsylvania focusing on issues of importance to local governments.
Joy is a member of the Board of Directors for The Calliope House and is a founding member of the Society of Women Environmental Professionals – Three Rivers Chapter, where she serves as the Program & Events Committee Chair. She is also a member of, and volunteers for, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Her commitment to the community is underscored through pro-bono services to the Mt. Lebanon Partnership and the Montour Trail Council to support strategic planning efforts.