Writer: Roger Nielsen
Almost 200 newly elected mayors and council members from cities across the state got a comprehensive introduction to municipal governance during two days of training sponsored by the Institute of Government and the Georgia Municipal Association.
City officials attended a series of training sessions focused on building the knowledge they need to deal effectively with the challenges of municipal governance at the Newly Elected Municipal Officials Institute, held at the Macon CentrePlex Feb. 23–24. The two-day institute provided an overview of how municipal governments function in Georgia and an examination of the roles and responsibilities of mayors and council members.
Training sessions covered key issues such as policymaking, municipal finances, and planning and zoning. In addition to Institute faculty, training sessions were presented by GMA staff and veteran city officials. The gathering also offered 170 mayors and council members the opportunity to network and learn about local government resources.
Stockbridge Mayor Judy Neal pointed out that the training provided practical knowledge that helps municipal leaders address the issues they face every day. “The excellent trainers not only taught us valuable information, but they also gave us examples of how to apply the knowledge we gained. Personally, I left Macon more confident in my mayoral position realizing that GMA and the Carl Vinson Institute are always available for additional coaching when exceptional challenges occur,” she said.
Jasper City Councilman Sonny Proctor said training helped him learn about municipal government functions that incoming elected officials may not know about. “I thought it was a very good program. Before I took office, there was very little information about functions that are critical to the system. The Newly Elected Officials Institute help me learn about the nuts and bolts of city government,” he said.
The courses fulfilled state-mandated training for newly elected city officials and provided an introduction to the continuing education courses GMA and the Institute offer through the Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute. Courses offered through the Holtz Institute allow municipal officials to progress through a series of certifications in recognition of their commitment to lifelong learning.