Required Courses

Council-Staff Relationships
This course explores the unique perspectives of municipal elected officials and staff and how a greater understanding of each other's perspectives can reduce friction and misunderstanding and result in improved public service delivery. The distinction between policy making and administration and other council-staff related issues are explored using exercises, case studies and group discussion.

Economic Development
This course provides a basic overview of the economic development process, with a focus on the strategies, resources and programs employed by the state of Georgia to assist communities in achieving success in today's global economy. Topics such as community development building blocks, business development strategies, regional cooperation, and the role of local leadership in economic development are covered.
 
Emergency Management
This course is aimed at providing municipal elected officials with a general understanding of the roles of local, state and federal government in responding to and helping communities recover from both natural and man-made disasters. The function of local emergency management agencies and important legal and financial issues that arise during times of emergency and disaster are also discussed.
 
Excellence in Utilities
This course provides a general overview of the operation of municipal utilities such as gas, electric, water and cable. Topics include managing an enterprise fund, regulatory requirements, hiring and retaining competent employees, setting and maintaining competitive rates, finance and accounting considerations and customer service.
 
Ethics
This course examines the importance of ethical conduct in the administration of one's public duties and how ethical lapses can severely damage the reputation of both individual officeholders and the city. An overview of state ethics laws and regulations that apply to municipal officials, including campaign financing and private interest disclosure requirements, is provided. Ethical dilemmas that often confront public officials and the value of strong local ethics ordinances are also discussed.
 
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 staffs, the role of the personnel manager, establishing and adhering to sound personnel policies and procedures and dealing with the media.

Managing Meetings and Parliamentary Procedures
This course teaches elected officials how to conduct more effective and orderly meetings. A major focus of the course is the proper use of parliamentary procedure. Participants are also taught how to sell ideas, manage conflict and promote consensus.
 
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.
 
Newly Elected Officials Institute
This two-day course provides a general overview of the function of municipal government in Georgia and the role and responsibilities of mayor and councilmembers. The course provides an introduction to key issues such as ethics, municipal finance, personnel management, planning and zoning, open meetings and open records, and parliamentary procedure. This course is required by state law for municipal elected officials elected after July 1, 1991.
 
Open Meetings/Open Records
This course familiarizes municipal elected officials with Georgia's open meetings and open records laws and the potential consequences for failing to adhere to them. Hypothetical scenarios are used to give participants a better understanding of their responsibilities and obligations for complying with these statutes.
 
Planning and Zoning
This course examines the difficult choices elected officials encounter in stimulating economic well-being, protecting public infrastructure investment, and maintaining environmental integrity. It examines legal considerations for planning and zoning, the role of the mayor and council, and practical steps for maintaining a comprehensive plan and effective zoning procedures. In addition, the course highlights issues, barriers and policy solutions associated with efforts to achieve desirable patterns of development.
 
Taxation 101 - The Basics
This course will give municipal elected officials a broad understanding of the fundamentals of local government taxation including property tax, occupation tax, hotel-motel tax, sales and use and alcohol beverage excise tax. Participants will gain an understanding to tax language, appropriate usage of revenues and will be better prepared to communicate tax issues to constituents and make prudent decisions related to revenue expenditures.