The creation of an institute of government has been part of the Virginia Local Government Management Association's (VLGMA's) strategic plan for over 10 years. The managers envisioned the institute as a resource for tackling an array of problems facing their localities in the 90s.
In June 1993, the VLGMA approved a proposal to create an institute of government for Virginia, within a university setting, that would significantly expand the technical assistance, training, and research opportunities for government officials and employees.
The managers were convinced that a general purpose, well-financed institute was a critical step to reinventing government in Virginia and removing the barriers to lean, responsive, high-performance governments.
The Virginia Municipal League (VML), the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo), and the Local Government Attorneys of Virginia, Inc. (LGA), formed a consortium with VLGMA in order to craft a proposal for the General Assembly. Delegate Mary Christian and Senator Hunter Andrews introduced a bill to create the Institute during the 1994 legislative session.
The new Institute was intended to be a united effort that would draw upon the expertise of all institutions of higher learning and professional and government associations throughout the state.
The key components of the Institute's creation were:
The state legislature appropriated $350,000 per year for the 1994–96 biennium with the understanding that there would local government participation through membership dues. The budget amendment creating the Institute states that the appropriation is to establish and operate "as the independent Institute of Government at the University of Virginia Center for Public Service."