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Mayor, Board, and Staff attend Essentials of Municipal Government in Hickory

by | Jan 12, 2018 | News


After the November elections, UNC School of Government and the North Carolina League of Municipalities jointly hold a two-day conference in five locations across the state for newly elected officials, veteran elected officials, and their managers.

Four of Davidson’s five town board members, its mayor, and several staff members attended this two-day program, “The Essentials of Municipal Government” in Hickory on Thursday and Friday, January 11 and 12. The first day focused on newly elected officials, but the organizers encouraged entire boards and managers to attend together. The second day was about working together as a board. Materials included the Handbook for North Carolina Mayors and Council Members, state-mandated ethics training, and “Budgetopolis”—a budget simulation.

The North Carolina League of Municipalities is a service and advocacy organization, representing nearly every city and town in North Carolina, helping them to more effectively and efficiently serve their residents.

For more than 100 years, the organization – as directed by its member municipalities – has worked to “promote good government and vibrant cities and towns.” They offer non-partisan advocacy, insurance, and a range of other services.

The mission of the UNC School of Government “is to improve the lives of North Carolinians by engaging in practical scholarship that helps public officials and citizens understand and improve state and local government.” Its stated values are that it is non-partisan, policy-neutral, and responsive. It is the largest university-based local government training, advisory, and research organization in the United States and serves more than 12,000 public officials each year.

“LeaderShop” was a course for Veteran Elected Officials with its 2018 Topic: Leading Change in Your Community and Region. This one-day program was open to both county and municipal veteran elected officials and their managers.

The course is described as, “Local governments can’t solve complex public problems alone.  Planning for safe and adequate water supplies, growing local economies, and even finding efficiencies in service delivery are issues that transcend jurisdictional or organizational boundaries.  No one organization has the power, resources, or ability to tackle these issues without involving others.  Please join us for an engaging workshop where you will learn how to extend your leadership to move beyond influencing issues within your city/county organization to influencing change in the broader community and region.  You will learn what it means to have a collaborative mindset; how to frame issues for broad appeal and support; ways to convene stakeholder groups; and how to formulate strategies that generate action and accountability for moving joint initiatives forward.”

The Agenda also included several presentations by Carl Stenberg and Frayda Bluestein of the School of Government and Kim Hibbard of the League of Municipalities, among others, about the various roles and responsibilities of elected officials, such as fiscal management and ethics.

Mayor Knox reflected on the two-day program, “There was a lot that we covered. Surprisingly, the Ethics part was one of the most informative. My main takeaway is how advantageous it was for us, as a newly elected group, to be able to problem-solve amongst ourselves, as well as share views with our counterparts in other communities. It’s amazing to see where priorities fall from one community to the next. School of Government does a great job not only in educating but in bringing to light real situations that we may experience.”

Marguerite Williams

Marguerite (Margo) Williams is a novelist ("Madame President"), editor, and business owner of A Way With Words. A 16-year member of the Davidson Town Board, she has lived in Davidson since 1977. Visit her at her website.

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