LOXLEY — On March 29, the Loxley Civic Center was full of mayors, council members and other municipal employees from Atmore, Daphne, Elberta, Fairhope, Foley, Greensboro, Hartford, Loxley, Magnolia Springs, Mount Vernon, Orange Beach, Robertsdale …
LOXLEY — On March 29, the Loxley Civic Center was full of mayors, council members and other municipal employees from Atmore, Daphne, Elberta, Fairhope, Foley, Greensboro, Hartford, Loxley, Magnolia Springs, Mount Vernon, Orange Beach, Robertsdale and Spanish Fort, who gathered for a training session sponsored by the Alabama League of Municipalities and presented by Auburn University’s Center for Governmental Services.
Those who attended the day-long course earned six hours of basic and advanced credit toward the designation of Basic Certified Municipal Official or Advanced Certified Municipal Official. Those who have already attained those certifications earned six hours of continuing education credit.
Officials who complete 40 credit hours of training are awarded the professional designation of Certified Municipal Official. An additional 40 credit hours must be completed to gain the designation of Advanced Certified Municipal Official.
The first Elected Officials Training Program was held at the Adams Mark Hotel in 1994 and that same program was also offered in Birmingham, Montgomery and Huntsville. Each training session is offered in each of those locations to allow all the state’s elected officials and municipal employees to attend.
The training session for the southern part of the state was moved from Mobile to Loxley two years ago, after Katherine Breeden, who serves on the Loxley City Council, suggested the Loxley Civic Center as a good location because of its proximity to Interstate 10. She also organized the senior ladies of her church to prepare the food for the meetings.
Wallace Sabin, who is serving his second term on the Loxley City Council, said he always finds the training session informative.
“It’s real enlightening. I have yet to go to one where I didn’t learn something,” he said. “The more you go to these trainings, the more you learn and the better you can take care of your city.”
Robin Salter, Ph.D., Center for Governmental Services, Auburn University, spoke on the topic of Leading with Character and Integrity, followed by Gwen Hall, revenue director for the city of Mobile, who discussed Financial Management of Cities Resources. Her topic also included the issues of accountability and economic development.
Salter also presented a segment on how the actions of city personnel impact the mayor’s office. Lisa Powell, Ed.D. of Auburn University offered ideas on how to use the Internet for communication, dealing effectively with the media, communicating with constituents, communicating with a hostile audience and public presentation skills.
The program was divided into a morning session and an afternoon session by the lunch break, which allowed the municipal officials to mingle and talk. The buffet-style lunch, which included potato salad, corn salad, green beans, butter beans, peas, fried chicken, chicken dressing, cranberry sauce, corn bread, fresh bread, was prepared by the senior ladies of the Loxley Church of God, who also prepared iced tea, pound cake, coconut cake, blueberry topped cake and banana pudding.
Fairhope Mayor Tim Kant said each time a training program is held at the Loxley Civic Center, he looks forward to the lunch. “It’s always home cooked and it’s always good,” he said.
Robertsdale City Councilman Aubrey Grant was also quick to praise the cooking abilities of the ladies from the Loxley Church of God. “The food is always good here,” he said, as he made his way to the dessert table.
Debbie Quinn, who serves on the Fairhope City Council, said she is glad the sessions are now held in Loxley, rather than Mobile, and she too praised the efforts made by the ladies of the Loxley Church of God. “They can certainly cook,” she said, with a laugh.
Robertsdale Mayor Charles Murphy said the change of venue has been well recieved by all the participants. He praised Loxley for hosting the sessions and the cooks for their contributions.
Murphy said the training sessions are always very beneficial. “This is a very good program,” he said.
Sabin said he thinks the location, along with the delicious food served, has been a big draw for the training sessions since the venue was moved from Mobile.
“I’ve noticed a lot more people are coming now. Also, it saves the League a lot of money. The ladies from the church prepare the food, but they pay for it and it’s much better than what we got in Mobile,” he said.
Theresa Lloyd, program administrator for the Alabama League of Municipalities, who is responsible for organizing the events, said the move from Mobile to Loxley has been very well recieved by all the participants.