Judy Stubbs, council member, Roswell, N.M was unanimously elected to serve as WMA chair, while Conrad Lee, mayor, Bellevue, Wash., was also unanimously elected to serve as WMA vice chair. Lou Ogden, mayor, Tualatin, Ore. will remain on the WMA board as the immediate past chair.
During the meeting, attendees shared the major issues facing their states and the board is now working to develop a list of the top three to five Western priority issues for 2012. Immediate Past Chair Odgen also suggested working with the other Western government associations to promote issues key to cities.
Keynote speaker Jim Rounds, senior vice president/senior economist, Elliott D. Pollock and Co., spoke on "Freudian Economics & Western Municipalities." Rounds has extensive expertise in matters of economics, finance, rural and urban economic development, public policy, taxation, real estate analysis, and litigation.
Rounds discussed how decisions on the U.S. markets have become more "psychological than economic" due to the focus on market ups and downs by pundits and lower than projected figures in some segments of the economy.
He presented his analysis on a "double dip" recession which evaluates real Gross Domestic Product, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale/retail sales and concluded that because the economy is seeing slow improvement in each of these major categories a “double dip” recession is unlikely.
While Rounds predicted that there would be more economic improvement by 2012 with a full recovery by 2015–16, Western states have seen considerably slower job growth than the rest of the country.