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GMA 2017 Mayors' Day Conference

GMA's 2017 Mayors' Day Conference will take place January 20-23 in Atlanta at the Marriott Marquis.

Online Registration

  1. Register for the Mayors' Day Conference.
  2. Book your room at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

Optional Paper Registration

For those desiring to pay by check, you may download and print the full registration form.


All changes or cancellations must be submitted in writing to dcarrington@gmanet.com. Requests for cancellation for registrations made using a credit card must be submitted on the Request for Cancellation and Refund form.

Schedule and Course Descriptions

2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Municipal Training Institute
(Three hour credits provided to attendees)
8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Municipal Training Institute
(Six hour credits provided to attendees)
3:45 pm – 5:15 pm
GMA Board of Directors’ Meeting
7:00 am – 7:45 am
Worship Service
8:00 am – 9:00 am
Federal Policy Council Meeting
(Light Breakfast Included)
8:00 am – 9:00 am
Orientation for First Time Attendees
(Light Breakfast Included)
Newly elected officials and first time attendees are encouraged to attend.
9:15 am – 10:15 am
Policy Committee Meetings
(2 Committees)
10:30 am – 11:30 am
Policy Committee Meetings
(2 Committees)
11:45 am – 1:30 pm
Awards Luncheon
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Policy Committee Meetings
(2 Committees)
3:15 pm – 4:15 pm
Legislative Policy Council Meeting
4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
District Networking Event
Before you head out to dinner, join us for fellowship during this district event.
7:30 am – 9:00 am
Capitol Connection:
Legislative Networking Breakfast
9:30 am – 12:30 am
Municipal Training Institute
(Three hour credits provided to attendees)
Capitol Visits and Take Your Legislator to Lunch
Friday, January 20
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Beyond the Beltway: Influencing Federal Policy through Grassroots Engagement
This course provides information about Congress, Federal agencies and how municipal officials can engage most effectively with leaders at the federal level to advocate for municipal priorities. Participants will obtain tips for communicating with members of Congress and engage in role playing exercises to hone their negotiating skills. Participants will also hear firsthand from members of Georgia’s Congressional delegation and/or key Congressional legislative staff about why it’s so important for city officials to stay in touch with federal leaders.
Sold Out! Critical Issues Course - Living Beyond Expectations: The Opportunities and Challenges of the Growing Senior Population
Advances in technology and health care are prolonging the life of many Americans. It is estimated that over the next several years, between 8,000 and 10,000 Baby Boomers a day will reach the age of 65. By 2029, it is estimated that this group will make up 20 percent of the U.S. population. This course will examine the implications that this large segment of the population has on cities and how municipal leaders can prepare for the aging population.
Open Records*
This course will familiarize municipal officials with Georgia’s open records law and the potential consequences for failing to adhere to it. Hypothetical scenarios will be used to give participants a better understanding of their responsibilities and obligations for complying with these statutes.
Public Policy Development and Implementation*
Developing policy to advance the vision of the city is one of the most important duties that a mayor and council perform. This course is designed to give municipal officials an understanding of the importance of that function and the role of the elected officials and professional staff in developing, implementing and evaluating those policies. Participants will learn how to effectively use policy-making models in the development of practical public policy that will benefit their communities and constituents.
Roles and Responsibility of Council and Staff*
Cities are complex organizations and they face different issues and problems than private sector organizations. While elected officials have the responsibility to develop policies to effectively address these issues and problems, they typically must rely on public sector employees to implement them. In this class, the different perspectives of council and staff are explored in order to identify ways for them to collaborate in addressing public problems.
Saturday, January 21
8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Building a Hometown Connection: GMA Lobbying 101
This course provides an overview of the state legislative process and helps city officials understand how they can be effective advocates of issues imp ortant to their community and cities throughout the state. Participants receive ideas for establishing productive year-round relationships with members of the General Assembly as well as practical lobbying tips they can use during the legislative session. The course also includes a hands-on exercise using real-life legislative scenarios.
Community and Media Relations*
This course examines the importance of building effective working relationships with the media and the role the media plays in informing the public and shaping their opinion of municipal governments. Advice for repairing poor relationships is provided, along with insights on when and how to speak with reporters, especially during times of crisis.
Sold Out! Conflict Resolution*
This course explores strategies and techniques for successfully resolving conflict through negotiation and mediation. Emphasis is placed on identifying the sources of conflict and the personality styles of the parties involved.
Downtown Development Authority Basic Training
This course is primarily directed at those who serve on Downtown Development Authorities, but is open to all city officials. Topics include: management of downtown as a valuable resource; the role of the authority, board members and staff; DDA laws; and the day-to-day operations of a Downtown Development Authority.
Environmental Sustainability
Local governments are faced with myriad environmental challenges that affect quality of life, public health and economic vitality. This course explores some of the most pressing environmental issues local governments in Georgia currently face—such as water quality, water quantity, energy conservation and hazardous waste and ways municipal officials are finding to solve them. The course focuses on projects such as brownfields redevelopment and green infrastructure that promote both environmental sustainability as well as community revitalization.
Human Resources I*
This course provides an overview of state and federal personnel law that apply to municipal governments and the basics of human resource management. Key topics include day-to-day issues facing human resource staff, the role of the personnel manager, establishing and adhering to sound personnel policies and procedures, and dealing with the media.
Law Enforcement Services: Trends and Best Practices
This course familiarizes municipal officials with the basic concepts of law enforcement. In addition to reviewing applicable laws, funding mechanisms and staffing models, the course addresses emerging public safety issues, trends and innovations.
Making Citizen Engagement Work In Our Communities*
This course explores the importance of getting citizens engaged in the process of governance. The course exposes officials to the concept of deliberative forums, a method of citizen engagement that brings diverse community interests together to explore policy options and share insights, ideas and suggestions in a structured setting. Participants will receive tips, tools and other resources for recruiting citizens, creating productive conversations, and encouraging citizens to be involved in local problem solving.
Money, Money, Money… Money! : Funding City Projects and Programs Through Grants and Loans
With limited ability to generate increased revenues from taxes and user fees, city officials often seek grant and low-interest loan opportunities to help address a range of capital improvement and operational needs. This course will detail some of the state, federal and foundation funding sources available to municipalities in Georgia and offer advice on how to write strong grant applications. Additionally, the course will provide an introduction to some reporting and administrative responsibilities the city may have once funding has been awarded.
Municipal Finance I*
This course is intended to serve as a basic primer on municipal finance issues that all mayors and councilmembers should understand. Included in this general overview is a discussion of the budget process, the revenue sources available to cities, purchasing policies and financing capital improvements.
Municipal Law*
This course reviews the sources and limitations of authority granted to municipal governments by the federal and state constitutions, as well as statutes enacted by the U.S. Congress and Georgia General Assembly. The role and function of the municipal charter is also discussed. Other key topics covered during this course include municipal contracts, annexation, legal aspects of boards and authorities and the personal liability of public officials.
Sold Out! Public Problems, Democratic Decisions: The Governing Role of Mayors and Councilmembers*

This course helps public officials explore the democratic context of leading and governing. It addresses the role of elected officials in a democratic society, the relationship between elected and appointed officials, the core values underlying public problems and choices, and the reasons why councils can make better choices than individuals. The goals of this course are to help public officials better understand their roles in leading and governing their communities, to develop a better understanding of what councils do and why, and to develop practical skills in public problem solving and decision making.

Participants will learn how to use public problems to discuss the kind of community they want to build and how to ensure that their choices and decisions preserve the fundamental goals of our democratic society.

Revitalizing Neighborhoods
This course provides an overview of the tools and resources available to cities interested in effectively responding to neighborhood problems such as dilapidated and unsafe structures, unsightly property, junk automobiles, weeds, trash and other nuisances. Topics include Georgia’s Urban Redevelopment law, code enforcement and land bank authorities.
Clerks Class: Council/Commission Staff Relations (elective)
(Only Clerks will receive credit for this course. It will not count towards credit for an elected official or manager.)
The relationship between the council or commission and the staff has a direct impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of local government operations. The clerk's position is unique in that it represents an important connecting point between elected officials and staff members. In this elective course, the organizational and interpersonal factors that shape that relationship will be explored. Clerks will have the opportunity to reflect on the commissioner/council-staff relationship in their local government while considering techniques to improve or sustain a positive, productive relationship. Expected roles and interactions by clerks with elected officials and staff, forms of government, and effective communication methods will be covered.
Monday, January 23
9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Changing Demographics and Best Practices
Georgia’s demographics are constantly shifting, impacting cities. Georgia’s population is getting older and increasingly representing the cultures of many nationalities and interests. This course will examine the cultural and aging trends in Georgia and explore the implications of these changing demographics for cities, both in terms of challenges and opportunities. Time will be allocated for representatives from communities that have been significantly impacted by these trends to share their insights and suggestions.
Civics for Local Government
This course provides important information for elected officials and staff relating to the proper protocol in the display and location of the American flag and other flags in government buildings, appropriate recognition of the American flag when entering a room, proper programming of the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem into city-sponsored events and other local civic programs. This course will provide the basic protocol information and activities to make the learning meaningful for participants. Knowing what to do, why and First Amendment implications is important to our cities and our citizens.
Employee Benefits 101 (Retirement)
This course targets municipal elected officials and staff. It will provide a general overview of retirement plans that cities can offer to employees and explain the differences between various plan types, such as defined benefit, defined contribution and deferred compensation plans and how these plans function and are administered.
Sold Out! Municipal Courts Post-Ferguson: Promoting Justice, Protecting City Assets * **(new)
This course provides an orientation on the basic operation of municipal courts with respect to the adjudication and enforcement of traffic offenses, certain misdemeanors and municipal ordinance violations. While providing a basic introduction to municipal courts, this course will also delve into the responsibilities and requirements elected officials need to know to ensure their municipal courts are providing proper constitutional protections to members of the public in the court. Specifically, this course will look at the role of municipal courts, law enforcement, and municipal elected officials in the justice system in light of recent monumental and precedential legal issues that have arisen throughout the country. Additionally, this course will analyze the responsibilities of the court, contracted parties, and elected officials under Georgia law, with a focus on criminal justice reform changes enacted by the Georgia legislature.
Open Meetings*
This course familiarizes municipal officials with Georgia’s open meetings law and the potential consequences for failing to adhere to it. Hypothetical scenarios are used to give participants a better understanding of their responsibilities and obligations for complying with these statutes.
For more information about GMA's Mayors' Day Conference, please contact:
November 9, 2016
While GMA’s 2017 Mayors’ Day conference will take place at a new location—the Atlanta Marriott Mar­quis—participants will still be provided the same un­matched training, networking opportunities, policy updates and fellowship as in years past.
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