Mike Brown is the Government Affairs Director of the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture, and
Business of both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. The two COLABs are
separate nonpartisan, non- profit government watchdogs and advocates representing
farmers, ranchers, vineyards, developers, professional firms, contractors, and publicly
spirited citizens who oppose increased government regulation, fees, and taxes.
He is a graduate of the California State University at Northridge, BA in Government, and
the University of Texas at Austin, MA in Public Administration. He went on to a 42 year
career in local government management including service as Deputy City Manager of
Hartford, Connecticut, Chief Deputy Commissioner of the Connecticut State Department of
Housing, City Manager of Berkeley, City Manager of Tucson, and, most recently, County
Executive Officer for Santa Barbara County, from which he retired after 14 years. He is a
Credentialed Manager of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
and has pursued further training over his career at the University Of Arizona Eller College
Of Management, The UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy, The NYU Real Estate
Institute, and the Yale School of Management.
Examples of his many awards, include the ICMA Distinguished Budget Award ( 14 years
consecutive in Santa Barbara County ) ; The American Society For Public Administration
Award for Teaching and Implementing Performance Measurement, (2004); An Honorary
Doctorate in Public Administration from the Tucson University (1996); four time winner of
the ICMA Center For Performance Management Award For Use Of Performance
Measures, and a Carnegie-Mellon University Award for Innovative Use Of Information
Technology. He was selected by his peers to serve as Chairman of ICMA’s Center for
Performance Management for over a decade and to be a member of the National Advisory
Commission on Performance Management.
Brown is an advocate (and former practitioner) for governments using structured
management systems which include performance measurement, process improvement,
structured project management, performance budgeting, and performance based
compensation. Brown is also a government reform advocate who supports separation of
politics from administration and believes that professional officials and staff experts should
refrain from participation in politics ( other than to vote). Reciprocally, elected officials
should allow professionals to develop analysis and policy recommendations free from
political interference. The governing body of a public agency can then select from a choice
of policy alternatives uncontaminated by a particular faction, party, or dominant individual.