Mike Huggins

Mike Huggins is a former city manager with over 30 years local government experience in management and city planning. He is an experienced trainer and facilitator and has led community initiatives about civic problem solving, strategic planning, fiscal sustainability, visioning, racism, and public services collaboration.

As Eau Claire City Manager, Mike led an organization of 500 employees and managed an annual budget of $125 million. To offset the cumulative loss of over $9 million in state shared revenues, he successfully implemented a continuous improvement process, expanded shared services delivery with other local governments, and instituted a strategic business planning process that integrated policy and operational priorities. He also guided City government through a major restructuring of its health insurance program that reduced costs from a projected increase of 56% in 2007 to 0% increases by 2010, accompanied by significant measurable increases in employee health.

Mike believes that the battle for democracy will be won or lost in local communities. His passion lies in coaching ordinary people to develop the skills and practices they need to build civic agency. He works with community organizations and local governments to embed participatory engagement practices in formal institutional structures and to strengthen the civic problem-solving skills of people to do meaningful public work. He also teaches an Honors course at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on “Doing Democracy: Building Civic Agency in Local Communities.”

In 2007 Mike helped convene a collaboration of local governments and community organizations to partner with the National Civic League to initiate the Clear Vision Eau Claire community visioning process. Mike continues to serve on the Clear Vision Board of Directors, which is holding a Community Empowerment Summit in October 2012 to update its action plan and to launch 15-20 citizen work groups to take action on community issues. In January 2012, Clear Vision was one of seven community organizations invited to participate in the inaugural Community Engagement Leadership Institute in Los Angeles coordinated by Community Partners and the Kellogg Foundation.

Mike serves as co-chair of the Alliance for Strong Communities, a Wisconsin regional network of local government, education, business, and labor organizations working to preserve the public services and infrastructure essential for families and businesses to thrive in local communities. He was one of two US participants at the 2007 International Champions of Participation Conference in London, and presented on the Clear Vision engagement process at the 2008 CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation Participatory Governance Conference in Glasgow. He has also presented on civic engagement, fiscal sustainability, and shared services delivery at national conferences in the US.

Mike was a charter member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and currently holds a Credentialed Manager designation from the International City/County Management Association. He has completed the Senior Executive Institute at the University of Virginia, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Certified Facilitator Program, and the Gamaliel Foundation National Leadership Training Program. In 2011 he was invited to participate in the Summer Institute for Civic Studies at Tisch College, Tufts University in Boston. In 2012 he will serve on the advisory panel for the Cultivating Community Engagement Program of the national Community Foundations Leading Change initiative.

Mike holds a Master of Arts in Urban Planning and a Master of Arts in Public Administration from the University of Kansas.


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