A significant aspect of an elected official's duties is understanding the structure of state government, the state statutes that govern municipalities, and local officials" authority to create policy for their city or town. In creating laws or policies for their municipality, elected officials also need to understand how the policies they create impact their communities and city operations.
Jeff Shacker, field services manager for the Municipal Association, said that a frequent question he is asked by municipal officials is, "Why can't we as a city do a particular thing we want to do?" Most of the time, the answer is simply that state law does not allow it.
A great tool to learn about municipal governance is the newly released Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government on-demand course "Municipal Governance and Policy." Through videos, interactive activities and simple quizzing, the course gives each participant a good, general understanding of how the laws of the state and their municipalities are structured.
"Municipal Governance and Policy" is the fourth in a series of five MEO courses that are offered online. The final course in the series, "The Freedom of Information Act in SC," will be available in December.
The ability to take required courses for the Municipal Elected Officials Institute on demand is a great option for municipal elected officials to get training without having to wait for the once-a-year broadcast sessions. The on-demand sessions give officials the opportunity to complete the classes quicker and the classes are available 24/7.
Councilmember Jan Wiles from Holly Hill said, "I just finished the online course "Forms of Municipal Government." It was wonderful! First of all, it was the most interesting material so far. But being able to replay parts is a huge plus! A big thanks for having this on demand."
These courses are also broadcast once each year to the offices of the regional councils of governments. These sessions offer officials the added benefit of interacting with other elected officials from the area. Beginning in March, these broadcasts will be held from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. instead of at night. The Association will mail the 2015 schedule with more details in December. This information will also be available on the website.
To graduate from the Institute, elected officials must complete these five courses as well as Session A and Session B which are offered each year in Columbia, the day before the Hometown Legislative Action Day. Officials who want to graduate at the 2015 Hometown Legislative Action Day but need to take one or more on-demand courses, must complete the course(s) by Monday, January 19 in order to graduate on February 4. Individual MEO Institute transcripts are available on the Association's website once the individual logs in with his username and password.
For more information, contact Urica Floyd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 803.354.4754.