Distinguished Service Award – Rod Gould


After 35 years of government service, including 29 years in city management, a colleague describes Rod Gould as an ambassador for public service, guru of best management practices, and mentor extraordinaire. The cities he served — Santa Monica, Monrovia, San Rafael, Poway, and Walnut Creek — all were beneficiaries of his forward-thinking approaches to service delivery, finances, sustainability, capital projects, police reform, civic engagement, transportation issues, and ensuring public access to high-speed Wi-Fi.

Mr. Gould enjoys serving in professional associations for the perspective it provides of local government management and its many practitioners. He has served as ICMA Vice President, president of the League of California Cities – City Managers Department, and as a member of the league’s board. He currently serves on the boards of the Institute for Local Government, Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University, and SAGE Publication’s State and Local Government Review.

He has taught at the University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy, San Francisco State University, and California State University, Long Beach in the MPA programs and the Stanford Local
Government Institute, and has served as city manager in residence at Stanford, Pepperdine, USC, Cornell, and Berkeley. “I am thrilled by the energy, enthusiasm, and smarts of today’s MPA students” says Gould. “Their many strengths and skills auger well for public management in the future.”

Mr. Gould provides professional training and consults with local governments. “Helping my active colleagues and staff to solve or manage pressing problems has multiple rewards,” he says. He is a senior partner with Management Partners, serving local governments; director of training for the Center for Public Safety Management; and a director of the HdL Companies. Mr. Gould has published articles in Public Management, Western City, and Governing magazines, and presented on issues in emergency preparedness, civic engagement, good governance, police reform, pension reform, and council-manager relations. He has received numerous awards, including the Cal-ICMA Hall of Fame Award for Ethics and the Wes McClure Manager of Distinction Award by the League of California Cities.

At this point in his encore career, Mr. Gould enjoys blending teaching, consulting, training, mentoring, and coaching, particularly to support those rising in the profession. Although local government management is one of the most demanding professions in society, he believes that it truly offers some of the greatest opportunities for service and fulfillment.

Read the award excerpt here.