Municipal Track

Municipal Track Core Classes

Fellows in the municipal track complete nine core classes.
 

  • Basics of Risk Management
  • Conducting Effective Meetings
  • Consensus and Team Building
  • Employment Issues
  • Ethics
  • Municipal Budgeting
  • Open Meetings
  • Public Information Act
  • Structure of Municipal Government

In addition to the nine core classes, Municipal fellows are required to complete five elective classes of their choice.  Descriptions of the required core classes are listed below.

Basics of Risk Management

One of the main responsibilities of local governments is to protect its residents from risk to themselves and their property. Risk may result from a number of sources, including fire, crime, automobile accidents, harm to the infrastructure, or as a result of waste disposal. This class is designed to sharpen the awareness of officials that local government activities are subject to risks that may result in significant loss. Through learning about steps to reduce and control loss exposure and tools for identifying hazards, government officials can learn how to avoid the consequences of taking unneccessary risk.

Conducting Effective Meetings

Conducting public business requires managing the issues that come before a public body. Building an agenda, promoting useful discussion, and providing a structure for decision-making are key goals for an effective meeting and for effective public officials. The instructor also covers the proper use of organized rules of order---known as parliamentary procedure---which allow all voices to be heard, but with debate that remains focused and civil.

Consensus and Team Building

This class introduces municipal leaders to the basic skills needed to successfully resolve conflict and build consensus within a local government setting. Particular emphasis is placed on developing ways to improve the design of public processes to enhance community involvement and satisfaction. This class is highly interactive and involves role play and small group work built around hypothetical situations that will seem familiar to anyone who has served as a local government official.

Employment Issues

This class provides an overview of preferred employment practices and of the legal restrictions involved in hiring, firing, promoting, and disciplining employees. The instructor addresses how positions should be advertised and interviews conducted. Also included are risk management techniques concerning proper supervision of employees.

Ethics

Officials should be knowledgeable of their public ethics ordinance, as generally required by state law. Many officials fill out the necessary forms and assume that they have complied with the law. But are their day-to-day actions living up to the intent of the law? There is often a fine line between legal and ethical behavior, and this class illustrates the differences through real-life scenarios and small group discussions.

Municipal Budgeting

This class provides an overview of municipal budgeting, including: the legal, policy, and procedural framework of municipal budgets; ways in which the budget is a tool for resource allocation and financial management; steps in the budget process; and key issues involved in budget preparation, adoption, and implementation. Beuget organization and formats, revenue sources, and revenue expenditure forecasting are also covered.

Open Meetings

This class provides an overview of Maryland's Open Meetings Law, which guides public officials in the requirements for providing public notice of decision-making functions and for closing meetings when appropriate. A knowledgeable expert focuses on the law's application to municipalities, including some of the cases and complaints that have come before the Compliance Board.

Public Information Act

What kind of information should be release to the public upon request? Many difficulties can be avoided by knowing the answer. This class helps officials and staff at all levels who must deal with the public by educating them about the state law governing the handling of public records. The class includes small roundtable discussions using real-life scenarios to further illustrate appropriate responses to requests from the public or the press.

Structure of Municipal Government

This class addresses the various forms of municipal government practiced in Maryland and relates the structures to municipal government operations, including the relationship between the legislative and administrative functions. The class also covers municipal charters and the powers and limitations of municipalities.