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Essentials of Municipal Government sell out across state 

  

 A group of elected officials set community values and deal with budget cuts at the New Bern Essentials of Municipal Government during Budgetopolis, a simulation game from the UNC School of Government. Photo credit: Jessica Wells.

Roughly 800 local government officials participated in the 2014 Essentials of Municipal Government courses this winter. Courses were held in Asheville, New Bern, Chapel Hill, Hickory and Wilmington in January and February this year, and all but one session sold out.

Essentials is a two-day course for managers and elected officials held throughout the state after November elections. The course is offered by the League and the UNC School of Government and provides veteran and newly elected officials with an overview of municipal government in North Carolina and fulfills state-mandated ethics training.

Attendees are able to meet with School of Government and League staff to learn more about the resources that each organization provides. Staff led sessions on what municipalities do, the roles and responsibilities of the board, ethics, planning and financial management.

Every year, the course begins with a LeaderShop where officials can brush up on essential skills. This year’s LeaderShop topic was public speaking. The program focused on how to cope with nervous energy, long windedness, awkwardness and improving body language, voice and use of space.

At the end of the session, attendees participate in Budgetopolis, a budget simulation created by the School of Government. Players break off into their own communities and go through a round of tough budget cuts that challenge their community’s values and board relations.

“Often times, communities don’t take the time to sit down and discuss what their core values and priorities are,” League Director of Member Services Rob Shepherd said. “Budgetopolis helps to demonstrate the value of governing bodies taking the time to develop their communities’ values and priorities back home so that everyone is on the same page.”

Attendees also received Local Elected Leaders Academy credits for participation in the course or the LeaderShop. The Academy is a partnership between the League, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners and the School of Government that recognizes officials who attend training or meetings for professional development. Members will earn recognition and certificates at the League’s Annual Conference based on how many Academy credits they earn.  

For more information on training opportunities and the Local Elected Leaders Academy, contact Shepherd.