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About the Management Assistant Program

Introduction to the Management Assistant Program

Established in 1980, the City of Long Beach Management Assistant Program is the longest-running nationally ranked municipal management development program in California.The Management Assistant Program is designed to attract, develop and retain innovative local government practitioners. It offers an intense and fulfilling paid one-year apprenticeship to individuals who have earned (or will earn by June 2021) a Master's Degree in Public Administration, Public Policy, Business Administration, Urban Planning or a related field and have 6 months of paid or voluntary experience in government, finance, legislation, research or statistical analysis.

The program consists of four, three-month department rotations. Management Assistants will have one rotation each in the City Manager's Office and the Department of Financial Management. The other two rotations will be in areas where the City Manager has identified critical projects that the Management Assistant can help support, while meeting the interests of the program participants.These assignments are designed to give the Management Assistant a broad, positive experience in municipal government while providing resources to areas the City Manager has determined to be high priority. Dedicated rotation programs with the Harbor Department, Community Development, or Water Department may also be available.

A Day in the Life of a Management Assistant

On a daily basis Management Assistants are asked to perform a variety of tasks.These may include attending meetings with staff at multiple levels of the organization, analyzing current City policies and procedures, writing memos to managers and supervisors, preparing council correspondence, researching best practices and other background material, coordinating meetings, preparing presentations, working with consultants, preparing Request for Proposals (RFP), attending community meetings, or conducting site visits.

Management Assistants also attend City Council, management policy, project-specific and department specific meetings. They may also attend in-house, local and regional professional conferences during the year, as well as receive mentoring from a Department Director who helps provide professional guidance and advice.

Examples of Assignments

Management Assistants are considered key members of the City management team and are given assignments in critical areas that develop report writing, research, presentation and analytical skills to prepare them for a successful career in city management.The City is currently undergoing considerable transformation, as it strives to resolve financial challenges while fostering an environment of governmental transparency and optimization. Participants in the program have played an important role in this process.

Each department rotation is unique and host departments involve Management Assistants in a range of projects and processes, from budget development and analysis to optimization projects and City-wide strategic initiatives. For example, the Management Assistant assigned to a rotation in the Department of Development Services may work on optimizing the permit process whereas the Management Assistant assigned to the Department of Health & Human Services may work on coordinating bio-terrorism efforts across the City. Another Management Assistant assigned to the City Manager’s Office may work on an implementation plan for the citywide performance management initiative whereas another Management Assistant assigned to the Department of Public Works may work on optimizing the City’s towing operations.

Examples of Past Projects

Previous Management Assistants have assisted in:

  • Developing and implementing the Financial Strategic Plan, a comprehensive plan to address the City’s structural deficit
  • Developing a new Performance Management Program for City operations
  • Providing project management for major optimization studies including Fire Services, Code Enforcement, Emergency Dispatch, Fleet Services, Crossing Guards, and Reprographics, Technology Services, Development Permit & Business License Process, City Communications and Health Insurance
  • Preparing the annual budget as part of the Budget Office team
  • Preparing reports for the Mayor and City Council regarding various policy issues
  • Presenting information to various boards, commissions and neighborhood associations as part of the City’s enhanced focus on community outreach
  • Leading key technology initiatives including customer relationship management and workforce projects