SHERIDAN — The Northeast Wyoming Municipal Leadership group comprised of leaders from 15 regional communities ranging from Douglas to Gillette to Sheridan, was recognized for its collaborative leadership efforts at the Wyoming Association of Municipalities convention held in Riverton late last week.
“NEWY was recognized by folks in WAM this last convention as being pretty active and as a model for the rest of the state to aspire to in order to make our organization a little stronger,” Sheridan City Clerk Scott Badley said.
According to Sheridan Mayor Dave Kinskey, NEWY is comprised of what is known as Region 2 in WAM.
There are four other regions and Kinskey said he hopes they will adopt a similar approach to regional and statewide leadership that can effectively serve Wyoming’s cities and towns into the future.
“There’s a lot of good people out of the northeast that have been an effective and unifying voice within what can otherwise be a chaotic assembly of diverse interests,” Kinskey said about NEWY’s presence at the WAM convention. “Folks from the northeast have advocated to other regions that they should do like we’re doing and get your own act together locally and then bring that so we have five voices coming to the table, not 99.”
One of the main purposes of annual summer WAM conventions is to compile a legislative agenda that WAM staff will promote at the next legislative session for Wyoming. This is done in order to advocate for laws that will benefit a majority of Wyoming’s 99 incorporated cities and towns and to oppose laws that could be detrimental to municipal interests, according to the WAM website.
While such goals are good in theory, Kinskey said WAM conventions had historically been a free-for-alls where dozens of resolutions for what to bring to legislators were proposed — and passed — because everyone was too nice to suggest an idea may not be worth pursuing. Kinskey said the past couple years have been better and he attributes that in great part to the unified and streamlined leadership offered by NEWY.
“Our debates can often be candid, but never uncivil,” Kinskey said about NEWY leadership working together. “We all work to try to understand that we have to recognize our mutual interests and set aside as many of our differences as we can and unify in a single position where we can.”