International City/County Management Association Salutes Member-Volunteer Joaquin “Jay” Gonzalez

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This post originally appeared on the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Blog. We invite you to learn more about the ICMA.


ICMA members have generously shared their time and expertise in support of ICMA’s global programs. Some have served directly as volunteer advisers on projects around the world. Others have shared indirectly by “lending” their technical experts for volunteer assignments in the field.  Over a period of months, ICMA Academic Member [and Executive Master of Public Administration Chair and Professor at GGU] Joaquin “Jay” Gonzalez (at right in the photo above) spent many weeks in Tanzania on the Enabling Growth through Investment and Enterprise (ENGINE) project, which is designed to increase private-sector investment leading to inclusive, broad-based economic growth in three agricultural regions and in Zanzibar.

Gonzalez worked with the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture in Morogoro, assisting in efforts to build its credibility with the private sector. Bringing public- and private-sector actors together, he facilitated an agreement by the municipal council to reduce a service levy on local businesses — a move that encouraged greater compliance by small businesses and improved tax collection by the municipality. In addition to his volunteer work on behalf of the ENGINE project, he has been an active volunteer supporter of the ICMA China Center.

Gonzalez is the faculty adviser for the ICMA Student Chapter at GGU. He recruited GGU students for a study tour to China in April 2017 and shared his technical expertise in local government during meetings and forums.


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City of American Canyon Appoints EMPA Student as City Manager

The American Canyon City Council has appointed Jason B. Holley as its City Manager. He is currently pursuing an Executive Master of Public Administration degree from Golden Gate University and graduates next year. Holley decided to pursue the degree to augment his prior technical training in pursuit of broader city management roles. The City of American Canyon has a population of 20,000 and is located in the southern end of Napa Valley.

Holley had served as the Interim City Manager for the past six months and previously served as the Public Works Director/City Engineer since 2013. Holley is also California Registered Civil Engineer, an ICC Certified Building Official, and California Office of Emergency Services Disaster Service Worker.

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Jason Holley (EMPA, ’19)

During Holley’s tenure as Public Works Director, the City of American Canyon implemented an award-winning response to the California drought. The “Zero Water Footprint” Policy facilitated $2.0M in private capital funding and resulted in a 25% reduction in water demand. He also oversaw the development the Long-Range Capital Improvement Program, the Traffic Impact Fee Nexus Study, and the Measure T Implementation Plan to improve street maintenance.

“We want to congratulate Jason Holley on his recent appointment,” says Dr. Mick McGee, Associate Professor of Public Administration at GGU. “He distinguished himself as the Interim City Manager during the North Bay Fires last October. We wish him the very best of success as he tackles the many challenges of his new job.”


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Public Administration in Action: GGU Student Responds to North Bay Fires

Most all students at GGU have every-day responsibilities such as taking care of children or holding down a full-time job. One student of the Executive Master in Public Administration (EMPA) program, Jason Holley, had to respond to a dramatic outside circumstance when the North Bay fires began to ravage a large portion of Napa County last month.

As the Interim City Manager of Napa County’s City of American Canyon, he collaborated with the County’s Emergency Management staff on the opening of an emergency shelter and facilitated real-time communication with residents. Reducing panic and giving citizens options could save lives.

To add to the pressure, shelters at neighboring counties were full, wind-whipped flames were approaching his Napa County home, and he was in his first week in his new role at the City of American Canyon. “It made for a very chaotic first week on the job!” The shelter was open for six days and housed as many as 68 people who were evacuated from their homes.


“All those entering the EMPA program are contacted to address the balance between the demands of coursework and quality of life.”

—Dr. Mick McGee, Associate Professor of Public Administration


Fortunately, the fires did not reach his home or the City of American Canyon. He was also delighted to see, “the extraordinary volunteer effort of the citizens as the community come together, rather than fractured, in a time of crisis.”

Work-Life Balance for GGU Students

Two years in a row, GGU has won a national award for its dedication to adult learners who have outside family and work commitments. “All those entering the EMPA program are contacted to address the balance between the demands of coursework and quality of life,” says Dr. Mick McGee, Associate Professor of Public Administration at GGU. “All obstacles to satisfactory completion of coursework are addressed, and solutions established. Accommodations are always made in favor of the student.”


“It is the goal of all the EMPA instructors to provide instruction and innovative ideas that students can use the next month, week, or day. Especially in a time of crisis.”

—Dr. Mick McGee, Associate Professor of Public Administration


The North Bay fires were not the only crisis to affect EMPA students this fall. Two online students living in Florida and North Carolina were affected by Hurricane Irma. Over the years, military service members or FBI agents have duties that take them away from their online or in-person classroom.

Dr. McGee continues: “It is the goal of all the EMPA instructors to provide instruction and innovative ideas that students can use the next month, week, or day. Especially in a time of crisis.”



About Jason Holley

Jason Holley is completing an Executive Masters of Public Administration at Golden Gate University, with an eye toward expanding his knowledge beyond his roots as an engineering and design expert. A graduate of Polytechnic San Luis Obispo with a B.S. degree in Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering, he has worked for the City of Napa and joined American Canyon in 2013, where he began as public works director–managing the county’s utilities, enginering, financial and technology departments. During his tenure, the City implemented an award-winning “Zero Water Footprint” Policy that facilitated $2.0M in private capital funding resulting in a 25% reduction in water demand city-wide in response to the drought. He is a California Registered Civil Engineer, an ICC Certified Building Official, and California Office of Emergency Services Disaster Service Worker.


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Golden Gate University Ranked #1 in US for Adult Learners for Second Consecutive Year

For the second consecutive year, Washington Monthly ranks Golden Gate University America’s #1 School for Adult Learners in its annual College Guide and Rankings.

How GGU Was Chosen

To compile the rankings, Washington Monthly reviewed data from the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) survey, the department’s new College Scorecard database and the College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges.

The metrics that determined GGU’s rating include:

  • ease of transfer/enrollment
  • flexibility of programs
  • services available for adult learners
  • percent of adult students (age 25+)
  • mean earnings of adult students ten years after entering college
  • loan repayment of adult students five years after entering repayment
  • tuition and fees for in-district students

Read the article in Washington Monthly >>

McFarland Publishing Contracts Public Administration Professors to Pen Five Books

By Joaquin Gonzalez, Mayor George Christopher Professor of Public Administration at the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University

McFarland Publishing has contracted four GGU Public Administration professors and me to write five more books on Public Administration. This publishing house, a leader in academic and nonfiction titles, recognizes GGU’s unique capacity to contribute to real-world solutions for the Public Administration community around the world. No public administration program in the San Francisco Bay Area has been granted such trust, confidence, and respect. I am proud to say that my co-authors/co- editors are also graduates of GGU’s Public Administration program.

These five publications–as yet untitled–will cover street-level policy concerns that are intriguing and controversial:

Spring 2018: GGU Ageno School of Business Associate Professor and GGU alum Dr. Mick McGee (MPA, DPA) and I team up for an eye-opening compilation on legalized marijuana and what cities are doing to manage this “growth” industry.

Fall 2018: This book will focus on how cities, states, and the Feds are helping veterans—especially in this period of mass drawdown—that I will co-edit with Dr. McGee and GGU alum Roger Kemp (MBA, MPA, DPA) who is a distinguished adjunct professor here.

Spring 2019: Dr. McGee and I examine what cities are doing to reduce or entirely eliminate chronic homelessness.

Fall 2019: Dr. McGee and I dive into the topic of needle exchange programs and including the opioid crisis, as well as how citizens and communities are acting on this serious concern.

Spring 2020: Dr. Kemp and I are joined by another GGU alum, Willie Britt (DPA), for a book that examines senior-citizen services.

As seasoned public affairs experts, we will bring together a vast network of colleagues from universities, to governments, to journalists. However, a bulk of the writing will come from practitioners from the field who are active members of leading public administration organizations such as the International City/County Management Association, American Society for Public Administration, and the American Planning Association. Many of the articles have been vetted by cutting-edge professional publications like Governing, Planning, PM Magazine, and PA Times. Some Doctor of Public Administration and Executive Master of Public Administration alums have also agreed to contribute their research papers as chapters in these volumes.

…if you visit the GGU library, you will see a wall of books written by our faculty and alumni.

Five Publications Add to GGU’s Existing Body of Work

In my close to two decades at GGU, I am always asked by curious students, colleagues, and community members: “Do you write books too? You know like famous professors?” My answer has always been a humble, “Yes.” And, usually, I add that if you visit the GGU library, you will see a wall of books written by our faculty and alumni.

In the last two years, Dr. Kemp and I have authored Immigration and American Cities, Corruption and America’s Cities, Privatization in Practice, and Small Town Economic Development (with long-time Connecticut economic development manager Jonathan Rosenthal). Before the end of the year, our latest project on Cities, Citizens, and Eminent Domain will join this series.

Why do we write these kinds of books?

There is an increasing demand from classrooms and citizens for discussions on up-to-date, practical, and hands-on experiences and innovations in the Public Administration field. Walking down city streets, you will notice that America’s economic growth has not benefited everybody. While there are Americans who are getting more affluent, there are also many who are living on the streets or dealing with drug abuse and other social ills. For instance, while we know that concerns relating to our aging population will catch up with us, our cities were are not prepared for the massive return of U.S. veterans.

Thus, we must share not only the basics and the classics of our professions but also share practical nationwide solutions that work and expose those that do not work. Community leaders and regular citizens want to read about them so they can make smart suggestions at town hall meetings and better engage politicians and hold them accountable.

After browsing through GGU faculty publications, you will notice that many of our publications delve into real-life practices in business and other fields like mine. Most of our publications are more readable by what I would call the broader “Amazon.com audience”—not just students, but even “Regular Joes”. I like it that way.


About Dr. Joaquin Jay Gonzalez

About Joaquin Jay Gonzalez III, PhD, is Mayor George Christopher Professor of Public Administration at the Ageno School of Business of Golden Gate University, San Francisco, California. He has taught at the University of San Francisco, the National University of Singapore, and De La Salle University (Manila). He was Commissioner for Immigrant Rights for the City and County of San Francisco for close to a decade and has worked for the World Bank (Washington, DC) and the Institute On Governance (Canada).

Jay is the author of more than a dozen books including the recent Corruption and American Cities: Essays and Case Studies in Ethical Accountability. Gonzalez has also written a book on the theme of boxing, From Pancho to Pacquiao: Philippine Boxing in and Out of the Ring, and has demonstrated his boxing moves while training American soldiers on Philippine Relations.


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What Matters Most In Public Administration: Ethics Or Loyalty?

By Joaquin Gonzales, Mayor George Christopher Professor of Public Administration at the Ageno School of Business of Golden Gate University

Loyalty in business is to the owner(s) of the company. Loyalty in government is to the U.S. Constitution and the American people. President Trump wanted the former when he invited the then FBI Director James Comey to the White House for a one-on-one dinner. Comey gave him the latter.

At Golden Gate University, we think that the most important duty of a public official is to be an ethical public servant. Unlike other universities that make ethics the last course in a Public Administration degree program, we put it first.

Almost all cities, states, and federal agencies make employees take an ethics training course prior to assuming office – just as it is mandatory for non-government employees to take sexual harassment training. At the training, public servants learn that loyalty in business is different from loyalty in government. For instance, at a restaurant or hotel, tipping is accepted for good service. At City Hall, you are not allowed to receive a tip for good service. In government, as a public servant you and your family are not supposed to bid for business contracts in the agency where you work. Whistleblowers are encouraged and protected by the law. If members of the public witness abuse of power or authority, it is their civic duty to report it.

From Trumps’ behavior, according to Comey’s testimony, President Trump and his team should have been given a public ethics training course!

Unlike other universities that make ethics the last course in a Public Administration degree program, we put it first.

When I was serving as commissioner for the City and County of San Francisco, I — along with my fellow public servants  had to sit down and participate in an ethics training class held by the City Attorney’s office. Corruption and ethical accountability is a key topic of discussion in GGU’s Executive Master of Public Administration classes, because the temptation to abuse power and steal from the public purse are great. Therefore, everyone from citizens to public employees should know the rules and be vigilant.

We had to attend ethics training every year as a public official or face consequences from the City’s Ethics Commission. As in my case, Trump is answerable to a number of government bodies, including the Congress and the Judiciary as co-equal bodies that checks and balances presidential power. That’s good because it shows the respect of the Constitution is alive and well somewhere.

For more about this issue, please see my recent interview: “BA’s Political Commentator on James Comey Testimony,” The Filipino Channel (TFC), ABS-CBN News, and KTSF Channel 26.


About Joaquin Jay Gonzalez

About Joaquin Jay Gonzalez III, PhD, is Mayor George Christopher Professor of Public Administration at the Ageno School of Business of Golden Gate University, San Francisco, California. He has taught at the University of San Francisco, the National University of Singapore, and De La Salle University (Manila). He was Commissioner for Immigrant Rights for the City and County of San Francisco for close to a decade and has worked for the World Bank (Washington, DC) and the Institute On Governance (Canada). Jay is the author of more than a dozen books including Corruption and American Cities: Essays and Case Studies in Ethical Accountability.

Professor Jay Gonzalez Trains American Soldiers on Philippine Relations

Diplomacy in the Boxing Ring

Golden Gate University Professor Jay Gonzalez is Chair of the Department of Public Administration, who has provided consulting to governments, nonprofits, corporations, and the military over his 18-year career. He also describes himself as a product of the Philippine ROTC system established by the U.S Army.

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Recently, Dr. Gonzalez gave a presentation called “Philippines: Country Briefing” to officers of the U.S. Army’s 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington, who will be deploying for Pacific Pathways, which are joint military exercises between the United States and Asia-Pacific allies.

Through the Naval Postgraduate School’s Leadership and Sustained Peace Program, he teaches U.S. armed forces personnel how to better relate to their Filipino military and civilian counterparts. His work helps operational and strategic effectiveness, reduces miscommunication, and fosters cross-cultural understanding.

A boxing lesson is also part of the training. Dr. Gonzalez says: “Boxing is big in the Philippines and I learned my boxing from there. Since my country brief is about the Philippines I usually provide them with a couple of boxing combinations: jab, straight, uppercut, and overhand right! It makes for better bonding between our troops and their Philippine counterparts.”

Other outside-the-ring topics he discussed were the ups-and-downs of U.S.-Philippines relations (and whether President Trump and Philippine President Duterte will be able to work together); Philippine security assessment including communist and Muslim insurgencies; terrorist extremist groups; and Philippine culture, history, religion, politics, geography.

GGU Connection

51-jukvhjolDr. Gonzalez says: “You cannot talk about Public administration without knowing about national defense, foreign relations, politics, and cross-cultural communication. GGU has an Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) program with a Law Enforcement and Security concentration. ‘Security’ means national security and helping our Asian-Pacific allies to go after terrorist networks before they get to the United States. In the EMPA, we have faculty members and students (a lot!) who are military veterans. Discussing military and veterans’ issues is an important part of our classroom experience.”

Dr. Gonzalez has written extensively on Philippine boxing and diplomacy, soft power diplomacy or public diplomacy, including his book From Pancho to Pacquiao: Philippine Boxing in and Out of the Ring.


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GGU Corruption Expert Weighs in on Nationwide City Corruption and Police Body Cameras in San Francisco

In 2016, the San Francisco Police Commission announced plans to introduce  body cameras to the San Francisco Police Department. Speaking at Golden Gate University this month, Dr. Joaquin “Jay” Gonzalez – a worldwide authority on city corruption – said that emerging technologies like body cameras are needed to help monitor police and reduce tragic incidents and cover-ups.

Corruption BookThe new book he co-edited, Corruption and American Cities: Essays and Case Studies in Ethical Accountability, covers police issues in a number of articles including Body-Worn Cameras: Using the Wealth of Data Efficiently by Paul Figueroa, former Assistant Chief of Police in Oakland, California and Coffee and Doughnuts: Building Accountability by Nova Southeastern University Professor John J. Carroll.

Co-edited by GGU distinguished adjunct professor Roger L. Kemp, Corruption and American Cities offers 60 articles by practitioners, scholars, and journalists who investigate the reasons behind corruption and presents guidelines for better accountability. Beyond police issues, the articles cover corrupt practices that range from embezzlement, graft, bribery, kickbacks, extortion, nepotism and patronage to the misuse of funds, vehicles, equipment, supplies and other public resources.

The key to greater ethics and accountability in government is a mix of old and new school approaches, from FBI stings to a report card system.

Gonzalez said that increasing news reports on corrupt activities have reduced people’s trust of government. Citing Chapman University’s 2016 Survey of American Fears, he noted that Americans named “corrupt government officials” as their biggest fear out of 88 topics. That’s above terrorism, biological warfare, and economic collapse.

Gonzalez underscored that the key to greater ethics and accountability in government is a mix of old and new school approaches, from FBI stings to a report card system.

If you are interested in being a committed professional who will be part of the solution to municipal corruption, you can check out GGU’s Executive Master of Public Administration program where Gonzalez mentors the next generation of leaders.

More About the Authors

Joaquin Jay Gonzalez III, Ph.D., is Mayor George Christopher Professor of Government and Russell T. Sharpe Professor of Business at Golden Gate University. He has worked on government reform, integrity, and ethics training projects with the World Bank, the Institute on Governance (Canada), the Inter-American Development Bank, and the governments of the U.S., Philippines, Singapore, and China.

Roger L. Kemp, Ph.D., has been a city manager on both the East and West coasts for more than 25 years and holds International City/County Management Association credentials. He has taught at the University of California, Rutgers University, the University of New Haven, and the University of Connecticut. He is a distinguished adjunct professor in the Executive MPA Program at Golden Gate University.

Joaquin “Jay” Gonzalez: Public Administration Superstar

In the last 50 years, thousands have successfully completed our public administration program resulting in over 7,000 alumni.

Today, Joaquin “Jay” Gonzalez serves as a Public Administration Professor and Chair providing the Edward S. Ageno School of Business with the support needed to further develop Northern California’s oldest public administration program that now offers a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration Leadership and an Executive Master of Public Administration.

Professor Gonzalez holds a Ph.D. from the University of Utah, an MPA from the University of the Philippines-Diliman and a BA from De La Salle University. With over 20 years of experience, Dr.Gonzalez has earned many accomplishments throughout his career. He is a Mayor George Christopher Professor of Government and Society as well as a Russell T. Sharpe Professor of Business. He has authored numerous publications which include 15 books, 20 book chapters, and 30 journal articles that have been translated in Chinese, Korean, and Spanish. Two of his most recent works include Privatization in Practice: Reports on Trends, Cases and Debates in Public Service by Business and Nonprofits & Immigration and America’s Cities: A Handbook on Evolving Services.

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Dr. Gonzalez speaking at an event

In addition to being a published author, Dr. Gonzalez lends his expertise as a guest speaker attending many events, globally and locally, and even speaking at U.S. military bases. He has also appeared as a commentator on various news outlets including The Filipino Channel and local outlets covering topics such as the upcoming U.S. presidential election and corruption in the U.S

This fall, Professor Gonzalez will instruct two courses which include EMPA 301: Research Methods and Analysis applying his real-word experience to the classroom.

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Dr. Gonzalez

To learn more about our public administration superstar, visit his featured profile.