Mayor, city clerk put training to work for city
Two Basehor city officials say they are reaping the benefits of continuing education.
Mayor Chris Garcia and City Clerk Mary Ann Mogle recently completed Level 1 of the Municipal Leadership Academy through the League of Kansas Municipalities. The training offers courses in finance, personnel and ethics, among others. It also offers elected and appointed city officials the opportunity for networking.
"They offer different courses for elected officials to attend for better knowledge of your position," Garcia said.
A different three to four hour class is offered each month in different cities across the state along with elective courses for credits.
Officials must earn 40 credits to complete Level 1, which often takes several years to finish.
Garcia and Mogle graduated in a ceremony in Topeka two weeks ago. Garcia completed the course in two years; Mogle completed it in four years.
"Some classes are only offered once a year, so if you missed that particular class, you had to wait another year to get in," Mogle said. "It's very difficult to get out of the office to go. Most of the classes we took were on Saturdays."
Both Garcia and Mogle were impressed with different classes during their training. The annual Mayor's Conference was something Garcia said was the most beneficial to him and his position with the city.
"You learn the role of the mayor and you get to sit down and discuss different situations with other mayors," he said. "I think we all in our particular cities think that we are the only ones dealing with these issues. It kind of helped to have an ear to listen."
Mogle said the classes dealing with open meetings and open records were the most helpful to her and her position, but meeting and talking with city officials from other cities in the state was the most valuable overall. Because of the networking she built through the training, she has been able to call other cities to ask questions about ordinances and certain situations.
"The best part of this was the networking you build," Mogle said. "There was a lot of open discussion, which was fantastic. I haven't run across a city that couldn't help me."
In turn, the city of Basehor has been able to help other cities. Mogle said more than 20 e-mails from other cities show up in her inbox per week asking questions ranging from regulating fireworks stands to wage plans and cell phone usage.
"I can turn around and send them our policies that we have just recently adopted," she said. "A lot of the information that is included in these policies I learned at these training sessions."
The pair has already begun working on the Level 2 requirements of the training, which focuses on city officials' participation in government activities. It requires another 30 credits. They may also choose to move onto Level 3 after completing Level 2.
"I think it's some good groundwork for elected officials," Garcia said. "You always need to keep learning."