Waterloo mayor takes helm of Iowa League of Cities - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo mayor takes helm of Iowa League of Cities

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Waterloo Mayor Buck Clark will take his place Friday morning as board president of the Iowa League of Cities.

He's in Dubuque this week for the League's annual conference.

Clark will lead the nation's longest, continuously-operating municipal league, now in its 144th year.

"I've been on the board now for four years and was asked to consider this position and was honored to do so," Clark said Thursday. "I'm really thrilled and excited and honored to take over the helm."

Serving as league president will benefit all of Waterloo, Clark said, as the position allows him to partner with and learn from other big cities in Iowa.

"Having those relationships and having that ability to network with all of the officials in the state is really kind of a big deal," Clark said. "For a city to have the president of the board, it's important."

Nearly 500 city officials from all across the state are in Dubuque for the conference.

"The League of Cities plays a really important part in cities' participation in state government throughout the state," said Clark, who has served as the league's president elect for the past year. "We represent small towns and large towns and we do a lot of lobbying efforts for things that effect cities."

Clark must be re-elected mayor in order to continue serving the one-year term as league president. He's up for re-election this fall, facing 2009 mayoral contender Steve Schmitt.

Alan Kemp is the Iowa League of Cities' executive director and said the annual conference covers topics that can benefit cities big and small alike.

"We always talk about governance: How to be more effective in terms of governing a city," Kemp said. "We get down to more technical information: How do you comply with regulations like open meetings or water quality issues? We also try to give them a chance to learn more about what other communities are doing."

The Iowa League of Cities represents approximately 870 of Iowa's 945 cities.

City officials in Dubuque said they're excited to be hosting it this year.

"We have about a half a dozen locations that we can hold this conference around the state," Kemp said. "We tend to move it around because we want to give the cities the opportunity to showcase what they have done, and Dubuque's a perfect opportunity for that."

The Port of Dubuque's Grand River Center is the site of the three-day, city-centered conference.

This conference comes to Dubuque right on the heels of the Sustainable Communities Conference, which saw more than 500 people attending from 25 states, city public information officer Randy Gehl said.

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