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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 2023) a Master's Degree in Public Administration, Public Policy, Urban Planning, Business Administration, Organizational Leadership, Public Health, Social Work or a related field and have 6 months of paid or voluntary experience in government, public policy, finance, legislation, research or statistical analysis, program implementation, project management or equivalent experience.

The Management Assistant 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 in one of the City’s 22 Departments 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.

A Day in the Life of a Management Assistant

A day in the life of a Management Assistant is jam-packed with rotation assignments, a series of staff and project meetings, attendance at City Council meetings, and periodic evening meetings or weekend community events.

In Department rotations Management Assistants are asked to manage a variety of responsibilities. 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, developing programs, managing projects, designing and testing process improvements, drafting recommendations, coordinating meetings, preparing presentations, working with consultants, preparing Request for Proposals (RFP), attending community meetings, or conducting site visits.

Management Assistants also attend weekly evening City Council meetings, Department management meetings, project-specific and department specific meetings. Each Management Assistant will receive mentoring from a department director who will provide professional guidance and advice. Management Assistants are supported by a Program Manager with regular one-on-one and team check-in meetings along with regular meetings with a group of Management Assistant alumni. Management Assistants may also attend in-house, local and regional professional conferences and training sessions during the year.

Management Assistants also assist in the recruitment of the following year’s Program class by supporting the Management Assistant Program recruitment, reviewing applications, and helping to plan and support the assessment center and candidate tour.

The Management Assistant position is an unclassified exempt position, which is not eligible for overtime.

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 a cultural district or support commission staff whereas another Management Assistant assigned to the Department of Public Works may coordinate a wetlands restoration initiative.

Examples of Past Projects

Previous Management Assistants have assisted in:

  • Designing a Community Engagement plan for a business licensing ordinance
  • Developing and implementing the Financial Strategic Plan, a comprehensive plan to address the City’s structural deficit
  • Designing a Shared Housing Program to support operations at the Housing Authority of the City of Long Beach Researching and writing a supplier code of conduct policy
  • 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 (e.g. Cannabis taxation, Racial Equity and Reconciliation, Recovery, Community Crisis Response, etc.)
  • 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