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 important 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.
Business Diplomacy and Protocol
This course exposes city officials to the fundamental elements of professional business etiquette and protocol. As part of the course, participants will be taught to how to make an entrance and work a room, handle introductions, remember names, and treat business prospects, as well as proper seating and dining protocol.
Changing Community Demographics and Best Practices
Formerly entitled "Cultural Diversity and Best Practices", this course examines the immigration and aging trends in Georgia and explores the implications of these changing demographic for cities, both in terms of challenges and opportunities. Time is allocated for representatives from communities that have been significantly impacted by these trends to share their insights and suggestions.
Circle of Excellence Course
This course is offered from time to time and is available only to city officials who have completed the requirements for a 120-hour Certificate of Excellence. Intended to enhance participants’ leadership skills, the course features nationally renowned speakers with special areas of expertise. Efforts are made to identify speakers who have authored a book on the course topic.
City, County and Regional Cooperation
This course, offered at a joint training session with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, provides participants with a general overview of the role and functions of municipal and county governments and explores the benefits of intergovernmental cooperation at the local and regional levels. Perspectives are shared by city and county elected officials and staff from jurisdictions that have created an environment of mutual trust and respect.
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.
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.
On occasion, GMA co-sponsors special one-time workshops and training events that address an important municipal issues or concerns. If designated as a "critical issue" by GMA, elected officials receive credit for attending. Participants are entitled to apply two of these courses toward their training certification.
Downtown Development Authorities
This course is primarily directed at those who serve on Downtown Development Authorities but is open to all elected officials. Topics include management of downtown as a valuable resource; the role of the authority and of board members and staff; DDA laws; and the day-to-day operations of an authority.
This course will explore the environmental issues citizens and elected officials of Georgia currently face such as water quality and quantity, energy conservation, air quality and the handling of solid and hazardous waste. Participants will learn from municipal elected and appointed officials what cities are doing to address these environmental challenges, how to get citizens engaged and how to communicate and promote the environmental message. Participants will also learn how to respond to the challenges of working with state agencies. In addition, resource materials related to state law, state policy and state resources will be provided for officials to take home in CD format.
Fire and Emergency Medical Services
This course will expose municipal elected officials to some of the basic concepts involved in providing municipal fire suppression, fire prevention, and emergency medical services. In addition to reviewing applicable laws and codes, the course will cover emerging issues and new technologies.
Housing Solutions for Cities: A Key Element to the Economic Development Strategy
This course provides officials with information about housing needs and issues, as well as programs and resources available to assist communities. Participants learn how their respective counties compare with the state as it relates to housing, family size, and income data, as well as how other cities have used available financing to leverage their housing efforts. Afternoon roundtable discussions provide answers to questions and a toolbox of ideas and resources, including names and phone numbers of persons who can help solve housing problems
Human Resources II
This course focuses on areas of human resource management such as performance appraisal systems; recruiting, interviewing, hiring and retaining staff; employee benefits; and employee training. The course builds on information provided in Human Resources I, but it is not a prerequisite for Human Resources II.
Law Enforcement Services: Trends and Best Practices
This course familiarizes municipal elected 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.
Leadership Institute Alumni Seminar
This course is offered from time to time and is only open to alumni of the annual Leadership Institute for Municipal Elected Officials. Aimed at renewing municipal officials’ commitment to leadership development, the course builds on the Leadership Institute’s themes although topics and course instructors vary from year to year.
Making Citizen Engagement Work in Our Communities
Have you ever wondered why it’s difficult to get citizens engaged in a positive way to contribute to the process of governance? This special course will explore the importance of getting citizens engaged. Participants will hear from city elected and appointed officials who are learning how to do it well. The course will also expose 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.
Managing Growth: Economic and Natural Resource Issues
This course shows city leaders how they can exert meaningful control over how their community grows. Topics include economic and ecological considerations, protecting water quality, regulatory initiatives and regionalization. Promoting infill development and redevelopment, preserving land and capturing private investment are also covered.
In June 2004, the Municipal Training Board approved the addition of selected mobile workshops to the training program. These workshops give participants an opportunity to visit other communities and see first-hand how they have successfully addressed a major issue or concern. One mobile workshop will be offered each year, and topics will vary depending on suggestions received from city officials.
Multi-day Economic Development Course
This course is conducted by the Georgia Academy of Economic Development. Participants must be nominated and attend four days of training over a four-month period. Team projects are required. For information on this course, please contact the Department of Community Affairs. Participants receive 12 units of credit for successfully completing this course.
Municipal Codes and Court: Enforcing Ordinances
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.
Municipal Finance II
This course emphasizes the importance of establishing sound financial policies and provides participants with a better understanding of how to read and understand audited city financial statements, assess the effectiveness of internal accounting controls, and manage a city's cash and investments. This course may be taken before or after Municipal Finance I, which is a required course.
Public Presentations and Meet the Media
This course teaches elected officials how to be more effective when speaking to groups or addressing the media. Techniques for developing presentation content and delivery, as well as tips for more effectively dealing with the media, are shared. As part of the course, participants make a brief presentation to their fellow city officials.
Recreation and Parks: Innovations and Best Practices
This course will expose municipal officials to some of the innovations and creative solutions that some of Georgia’s cities have initiated in the development of outdoor and indoor recreation facilities and parks, both active and passive. Participants will also learn how cities are taking advantage of creative ways of generating revenues to fund new and existing facilities and outdoor areas. Attendees will gain a better understanding of the recreation and parks opportunities for their cities and ways to build community support.
Retreats provide an opportunity for city councils to come together, apart from the regular meetings, to prepare for the future. The focus may be on teamwork, goal setting, or other city concerns. Each retreat is tailored to meet the individual city's needs. Credit is given for city council retreats facilitated by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Some cities have an annual retreat, but credit toward the Training Institute certificate is given for a maximum of two retreats.
Revitalizing Neighborhoods: Tools for Local Officials
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.
Risk Management and Insurance
This course provides a general introduction to the concepts of risk management and insurance. It reviews the current state of the insurance market both nationally and in Georgia and identifies alternative ways to cover municipal risks. In addition, the course focuses on the importance of loss control and safety training as a means of reducing insurance claims.
Robert E. Knox, Jr. Municipal Leadership Institute
This course is an intensive two and a half day seminar that focuses helping mayors and councilmembers enhance and sharpen their leadership skills. Offered twice a year, enrollment is limited so that participants can have a full exchange of ideas with faculty and other municipal elected officials. The Leadership Institute seminar is required for municipal officials to receive a Certificate of Excellence.
Social Media for Elected Officials
Technology impacts personal lives, work and local government. With the advent of an explosion in the common use of social media this course examines and defines what social media means, how social media can be used by local government including the risks and benefits of such usage. The legal basis for governmental use of social media is reviewed. Sample social media policies are examined and provided. Current law on employer and employee use of social media is explored. Demonstrations on making social media user friendly for both large and small governments are provided. Finally, the impact of records retention, open meetings and open records law are discussed if social media becomes a regular part of the local government’s operations.Strengthening Your Community by Strengthening Your Children and Families
This course examines how the well-being of children and families affects the success of community and economic development. The course reviews trends in Georgia and identifies specific strategies that officials can implement in their own communities. "Family Connections" and other state-run programs aimed at reducing the number of at-risk youth and juvenile delinquents are addressed. Problem issues such as teen pregnancies, truancy and teen drug and alcohol use are also discussed.
Technology Solutions for Cities: Innovations and Best Practices
Municipalities must look to new and emerging technologies as one of the primary ways of becoming more efficient and effective, especially in this challenging economic environment. The course will highlight some of the interesting and creative uses of technology that have enabled a number of Georgia’s cities to improve service delivery and responsiveness, as well as make their operations more transparent to the public. The costs and challenges of implementing these technological solutions will be examined. Participants will also learn about new technologies to anticipate in the future and how they may be applicable to municipal operations