Newly elected officials got off to a strong start in their city leadership role by attending this comprehensive training in January. Below are presentations and handouts from the event.
The Big Picture: Your Role as a City Leader
This presentation offered a 20,000-foot view of the responsibilities of a new city official. It provided insights into the dynamic tensions of public office—and how as an elected official, you can broaden your perspective to balance your goals with the best interests of the community.
What City Councils Can & Cannot Do
City officials are both empowered and confined by law in their responsibilities. This session offered a practical look at a city council’s authority and limitations, what to keep in mind as you deal with common issues and decisions, and where to go for help when you need it.
Demystifying Public Finance
In this session, attendees learned the “nuts and bolts” of city finance and your role in budget planning and management. The session covered municipal finance basics, how the property tax system works, and ways to plan for big multiple-year capital expenditures—like replacing, repairing, and maintaining infrastructure. It also provided information about commonly used financing tools to fund local improvements and economic development. Attendees also learned why transparency and communication are important.
Bridging Divides: What to Do When People Disagree
What do you do when emotions run high? This session offered tips on how to de-escalate difficult situations and move from conflict to effective solutions on challenging public issues. Attendees learned to identify what other people actually need to move forward even when they aren't saying it. The session also covered how to articulate what one needs in way that makes difficult people responsive. It also explored ways to manage high emotions and develop solutions that get implemented because they integrate the needs of everyone involved.
Making Decisions That Are Legal, Ethical, and Transparent
This session explored the ethical responsibilities and realities of public office and how to avoid legal landmines and negative perceptions that could get you and your city in trouble. It covered important issues like the Open Meeting Law, data practices, and conflict of interest. It also covered legal requirements and other factors to consider as you navigate these kinds of situations.