Getting Started with Climate Action

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Local governments in the United States vary drastically in their efforts to address climate change - while large urban centers often have extensive sustainability programs and processes in place, ICMA survey research suggests that only around 30% of municipalities have adopted any sort of plan. Factors hindering sustainability efforts are myriad, but often include lack of funding and/or dedicated staff, lack of information on how to proceed, and lack of community support. Despite these hurdles, there are still actions virtually any jurisdiction can take to begin preparing their communities for future climate-related challenges, even in areas where public opinion is divided on the topic.

In this webinar, you'll join three speakers from ICMA's Sustainable Communities Advisory Committee as they discuss the steps their municipalities have taken to address climate change, and what you can do to get started. Topics will include:

  • How to build a framework for action
  • How to identify projects that are good for the budget and good for the environment
  • How to win over reluctant elected officials, staff, and/or citizens
  • Engagement strategies for building community support
  • How to fund your efforts and find other resources to help

ICMA Practice Areas: [6] Strategic Leadership; [7] Strategic Planning; [8] Policy Facilitation and Implementation

Dawn Ashbacher

Sustainability Program Manager, Frederick County, MD

Dawn Ashbacher is the Sustainability Program Manager for Frederick County, MD.  She has over 15 years of experience in local governments of all sizes, including being a town manager of a town of 5,000. Recognizing the need and the challenge, she has been focusing on sustainability issues in local government for the last three years. She is currently helping to create Frederick County‚Äôs first-ever Climate and Energy Department. Dawn is a past chair of the ICMA Sustainable Communities Advisory Committee and is interested in pragmatic ways to support ICMA members in dealing with our changing climate.

Thom Moton, ICMA-CM

Deputy City Manager, Wilmington, NC

Thom joined the City of Wilmington in April 2018 as Deputy City Manager overseeing the Operations/ Capital Improvement Program portfolio.  He started his public service career as a Management Analyst in 1996 at the Dallas County Juvenile Department in Dallas, TX.  He began is city management career in 1997 as Assistant City Manager of the City of Corsicana, Tx.  He has worked as Assistant City Manager in University City, MO; Greenville, NC; and Rocky Mount, NC. Additionally, he served as City of Greenville, NC Interim City Manager and City Manager in Broken Arrow, OK. 

He is a graduate of the University of North Texas with BBA and MPA degrees and he completed the coursework toward a doctorate in Philosophy in Public Policy and Political Economy at the University of Texas at Dallas. 

He holds membership in the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) as a credential manager, and in the North Carolina City/County Management Association (NCCCMA).  He is a former member of the North Texas Finance Officers Association and the Government Finance Officers Association.  Moton enjoys volunteering in his employing communities, and he serves currently on the Cape Fear Council of Governments Homeless Continuum of Care Board of Directors.

 He is a self-described family guy and enjoys traveling, performing arts, music, golfing, exercising, yardwork, and mentoring others. 

Aaron Burnett, ICMA-CM

City Administrator, Mason City, IA

Aaron began his service with the City of Mason City in 2018 and has been in city management since 2010 working previously for both Keokuk, Iowa and Humboldt, Iowa. As the first administrator for the City of Keokuk, he established a strong culture of professional city management within the city and received the Iowa City Manager of the Year award for 2017. Additionally, Aaron has been recognized by the International City/County Management Association with the designation of Credentialed Manager.

Prior to his work in local government, he was a legislative assistant to both Congressman Latham and Congressman Nussle. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa and has a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Michael Scanlon

City Manager, Osawatomie, KS

Mike Scanlon has been in local government for more than 35 years. He's worked in a diverse set of communities from Columbia, Missouri a Town and Gown community to Basalt Colorado which is classified Mountain Resort. He was one of the founding members of our Sustainability Committee and attended the 2006 Sustainability Retreat in Phoenix that began ICMAs journey into issues of sustainability and climate change. The communities he's served have done green infrastructure, participated in Bus Rapid Transit, developed micro-hydro projects, conceived and will be building a solar array for his current community for both power generation and   "peak shaving" savings.  Additionally Mike has worked as Development Director for the Roaring Fork Valley Habitat for Humanity and built one of the first Net-Zero Affordable Housing projects in the United States just outside Basalt, Colorado.  Two years ago Mike came back to Kansas and is now serving as the City Manager for Osawatomie, KS. In January of this year Mike was appointed to the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka that serves Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado. Mike believes that issues of Affordable Housing, Climate Change and Social Equity are intertwined and you can't start solving for one if you don't understand the others. 


Getting Started with Climate Action
03/31/2022 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  90 minutes
03/31/2022 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  90 minutes
Evaluation Survey
15 Questions
Live Viewing: 1.50 ICMA CE credits and certificate available
Live Viewing: 1.50 ICMA CE credits and certificate available