The Association of Local Authorities in Iceland was founded in 1945 at the instigation of Mr. J, Gudmundsson, an official in charge of local authorities affairs. He was well acquainted with local authorities workers all over the country and had followed the trends in local authorities in the Nordic countries. He was convinced that those involved in local authorities needed a forum where they could discuss their work. At the end of 1941 he launched a magazine, "Sveitarstjornarmal" (Local Authorities Affairs), at his own expense. In his foreword to the first issue, he said:
I have started this publication with the intention that it may become the first step towards increased collaboration between those who are interested in local authorities matters, and to increase their knowledge in this field. It is my hope that it will be possible before long to found an association of Icelandic local authorities officials, which will then take over the publication of this magazine and appoint an editorial board, as is normally done for such periodicals that I am familiar with elsewhere.
In 1943 a three-man committee was appointed to consider whether it would be wise to establish an association of local authorities in Iceland. The other members, besides Mr. Gudmundsson, were Mr. G. Asbjoernsson, chairman of the Reykjavik City Council, and Mr. B. Johannesson, chairman of the Hafnarfjoerdur Municipal Council. The committee sent a questionnaire to all 218 local authorities in the country to find out their position. The initial response was poor, but after 53 local authorities had shown interest, the preparatory committee called a foundation meeting in spring 1945.
From the founding of The Association of Local Authorities in Iceland. The meeting was held in the house of Parliament, "Althingi", on June 11th 1945.
The foundation congress was held in Reykjavik 11th to 13th June 1945. It was convened in the chamber of the Lower House of the Althing in the Althing (parliament building) in Reykjavik, and the closing session took place at Thingvellir on June 13th after the committee of the Association of Local Authorities in Iceland has been elected. It consisted of Mr. J. Gudmundsson, who was chairman, Mr. K. Jonsson from Bessastadahreppur, Mr. S. Jonsson from Seltjarnarnes, Mr. B. Johannesson from Hafnarfjoerdur and Mr. H. H. Eiriksson from Reykjavik.
Mr. J. Gudmundsson served as chairman of the association′s committee until 1967, when Mr. P. Lindal took over, serving until 1978. Other chairmen have been: Mr. J. G. Tomasson 1978-1982, Mr. B. Fridfinnsson 1982-1987, Mr. S. Sigurdsson 1987-1990, Mr. V. Th. Vilhjalmsson 1990-2006 and Mr. H. Halldorsson since 2006.
In its first years, the association had no permanent staff. As chairman, Mr. J. Gudmundsson saw to all the work concurrent with his job as Secretary General in the Ministry of Social Affairs, and some people went so far as to say that he was the association.
The first paid employee of the Association of Local Authorities in Iceland was Mr. E. Palsson, a former mayor of Hafnarfjoerdur, and one of his main tasks as office manager was to edit and take care of the publication of the magazine "Sveitarstjornarmal".
Mr. J. Gudmundsson was in charge of the day-to-day work of the association, and was manager of the Emergency Relief Fund until February 1st 1967; he had then been the country′s main leader of local authorities employees and pioneer in local authorities affairs for three decades. When he retired, the Local Authorities′ Loan Fund was established and the functions of that fund, the Emergency Relief Fund and the association were merged under a single administration. Mr. M. E. Gudjonsson, a former mayor of Akureyri, was appointed manager of all three. He served in this capacity for nearly quarter of a century, until his death in May 1990.
In November 1st 1990 was Mr. Th. Skulason, a former mayor of Hvammstangi, engaged as manager of the Association of Local Authorities in Iceland. He retired on September 1st 2008.
Mr. Karl Bjornsson, was engaged as manager of the Association of Local Authorities in Iceland on September 1st 2008, and has served in the position since.