Required Courses

State Mandated Training for Municipal Elected Officials 


Newly Elected Officials Institute
This day and a half course provides a general overview of the function of municipal government in Georgia and the roles and responsibilities of mayors and councilmembers. The course includes an introduction to key issues such as ethics, municipal finance, planning and zoning, open meetings, open records, and parliamentary procedures. All municipal elected officials taking office since July 1, 1990 are required by state law to complete the Newly Elected Officials Institute.



Required Courses for Municipal Training Institute Certificates 


Economic Development (six hour course)
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 (six hour course)
This course is aimed at providing municipal 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.


Ethics (six hour course)
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 (six hour course)
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.  This class is also available as an online course.


Municipal Finance I (six hour course)
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 (six hour course)
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.


Open Meetings (three hour course)

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.


Open Records (three hour course)
This course familiarizes municipal officials with Georgia's open records 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.


Practices for Successful Meetings -formerly Managing Meetings and Parliamentary Procedures (three hour course)
The success of a city is often gauged by how its city council meetings are perceived by the citizens. This course is designed to give elected officials and others a practical understanding of the most commonly-used procedures available to govern meetings. The basic tenants of Robert’s Rules of Order, as well as alternatives to Robert’s, are taught in a manner that seeks to arm presiding officials with the tools necessary to run successful and productive gatherings of their elected officials and other meetings necessary to operate their cities.


Planning and Zoning (six hour course)
This course examines the difficult choices municipal 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.


Public Policy Development and Implementation (three hour course)

Developing policy to advance the vision of the city is the most important activity 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.


Public Problems, Democratic Decisions - The Governing Role of Mayors and Councilmembers (six hour course)

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.


Roles and Responsibilities of Council and Staff -formerly Council - Staff Relationships (three hour course)

Cities are complex organizations that 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.


Taxation 101 - The Basics (six hour course)
This course gives municipal officials a broad understanding of the fundamentals of local government taxation, including property tax, occupation tax, hotel-motel tax, sales and use tax, and alcohol beverage excise tax. Participants will gain an understanding of tax language and appropriate usage of revenues, preparing them to communicate tax issues to constituents and make prudent decisions related to expenditures.