Robert J. O'Neill Jr. is past executive director of the International City/County Management Association. He retired from the organization in December 2016.

From 1997 to 2000, O'Neill served as Fairfax County, Va., executive, where he was credited with developing a series of strategies aimed at revitalizing older residential communities and commercial areas as well as launching a series of initiatives focused on performance and results management.

O'Neill's "reinvention" of the government of Hampton, Va., as city manager from 1984 to 1997, was widely recognized; his many accomplishments included downtown- and waterfront-revitalization initiatives as well as development of a nationally recognized youth-at-risk program.

Bob O'Neill
March 30, 2016

What the Presidential Candidates Should Be Talking About

Policies are one thing. Implementing them is another. The next president needs to pay attention to our intergovernmental system.
September 25, 2015

The Next Big Thing in Local Government

Many challenges lie ahead. Cities and counties will need to collaborate and innovate as never before.
June 9, 2015

Public Services and the Wonders of the Third Week in August

There are times when transportation and other infrastructure work just as they should. Smart cities look for ways to make that happen all the time.
December 3, 2014

The Critical Ingredients of Community Resiliency

Communities that cultivate a network of institutions and pay attention to the "3 Es" of resiliency will be better able to respond and adapt to new challenges.
September 8, 2014

Performance Management in Government: The Old Is New Again

As they deploy modern, data-driven tools for public-sector efficiency, today's government leaders are building on work that began many decades ago.
April 29, 2014

Why the Cult of Personality is the Wrong Leadership Model for Government

To sustain excellence over time, governments need to build leadership at all levels of their organizations.
October 30, 2013

Local Governments' Enduring Reinvention Imperative

It's been 20 years since "Reinventing Government" was published. The book's lessons continue to resonate among innovative governments across the country.
July 24, 2013

Public Services and the Limits of Specialization

The challenges facing today's governments require a management approach that cuts across disciplines and departments.
May 1, 2013

Local Government in an Era of Creative Destruction

The challenges that lie ahead can be expected to produce plenty of innovation, but they will test the leadership capacity of elected and appointed officials.
January 2, 2013

Is It Time for a Set of 'Localist Papers'?

In the Federalist Papers, the Founders articulated their goals for a new system of government. Today's local governments need something similar to be ready to deal with the challenges they face.
October 17, 2012

Making Citizens Part of Government

Local governments are leading the way in engaging the public in decision-making. More and more, technology is the key.
June 27, 2012

The Coming Decade of Local Government

Our cities and counties enjoy the highest level of citizen trust of any level of government. That’s why they will lead the way despite the fiscal challenges to come.
January 25, 2012

A Decade of Living Dangerously

The fiscal challenges facing local governments won't go away soon. Here's why that's a good thing.
August 24, 2011

A New Model for Management

Today’s most effective leaders are very different from the public administrators of the past. The challenges have changed, and the old rules no longer apply.
January 5, 2011

Maintaining the Public Trust While Making Tough Choices

ICMA's executive director discusses his organization's guidelines to ensuring fair compensation.
September 13, 2010

Energy Sustainability Down Under

The U.S. can learn a lot from other parts of the world about promoting energy sustainable communities.

Building Better Communities by Aligning Interests

Local government leaders have the tenure and familiarity with a place to create and sustain communities.

How Top Performers Thrive

A new book takes the mystery out of what separates top performers from everybody else, and reveals the keys to high performance.

An Opportunity for Creative Destruction

The economic crisis has ushered in permanent changes by empowering managers to challenge assumptions.

Supporting Top Performers

The key is creating meaningful value -- and sustaining it.

Retaining Top Performers

The key to retaining government's best people is knowing what makes them tick: They want to make a difference, and they thrive on complex tasks.

Stimulating Main Street

Most infrastructure is local. That's where stimulus spending can do the most the quickest.

Excelling in Times of Fiscal Distress

There are no miracle cures. The key is focusing on the strategic big picture.

Now Is the Time for Collaboration

Economic policies are unlikely to succeed if they are driven by the federal government alone. It is clear that states, regions and local governments have a vital role to play.

A Roadmap to Measuring Performance

Since 1994, the Center for Performance Measurement, created by ICMA, has helped participating jurisdictions improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their public services through the collection, analysis and application of performance information.

Fueling the New Creative Economy

Robert O'Neill identifies eight insights learned from communities that have, or hope to, build diversified, successful economies.

Baseball and the Limits of Conventional Wisdom

Does the latest management trend -- evidence-based management -- complement or confuse our current management practices?

Looking Out for Tomorrow's Public Servants

Identifying creative approaches is imperative to attract and develop a cadre of skilled, committed, and trained individuals to serve in state and local government.

A New Alliance for Innovation

State and local governments invest only a fraction of what the private sector does in research and development. To make up for that lack of investment, states and localities need a new approach to research, innovation, and the development of best practices.

Sustaining Community; Sustaining Our Profession

Federal, state, and local officials must make the ecological choices that address current needs and enhance the livability of our communities today without compromising the capacity of future generations to do the same.

A New Model for Disaster Response

It is time to move away from a "command and control" approach to a disaster-assistance system that relies instead on a network of partnerships.

Professionals Must Make Noise About Making a Difference in State and Local Government

Government employees' contributions to their organizations revolve around six key areas of commitment.

Trust, Leadership, and Courage: Keys to Local Innovation

The federal government's long-range financial projections demand that local and regional governments create innovative ways to address challenges and opportunities.