Writer: Roger Nielsen
City officials from throughout Georgia enhanced their leadership skills and earned recognition for their commitment to professional development at the recent 2020 Cities United Summit training conference.
Cities United, formerly known as Mayors’ Day, was presented Jan. 24–27 in Atlanta by the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) in partnership with the Institute of Government.
Nearly 700 mayors, council members, city staff and other officials attended classes delivered by Institute faculty and other subject-matter experts on critical topics such as neighborhood revitalization, workforce development and citizen engagement. Classes were offered through the Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute, a continuing education program developed through a partnership between the Institute of Government and GMA.
In addition, participants received state government updates at the Capitol Connection Legislative Networking Breakfast, and more than 200 municipal officials were recognized with certificates at the Cities United awards luncheon.
Many of the classes offered at Cities United were presented by Institute faculty and explored topics that included budgeting, public works and policy development.
“Our training is structured around the Institute’s broader commitment to excellence in government,” said Mara Shaw, interim associate director of governmental training with the Institute. “With each hour they invested in training, our certificate recipients showed their own commitments to excellence in government.”
UGA Rural Development Manager Saralyn Stafford presented a class called “Funding City Projects and Programs Through Grants and Loans” to inform city officials about state, federal and foundation funding sources that can help support local capital improvement projects.
“Cash-strapped cities cannot always rely on taxes and fees to generate revenue for local projects,” Stafford said. “This funding knowledge does not just help metropolitan areas. Cities and towns in rural Georgia also can benefit from grants and low-interest loans that aid economic prosperity.”