LOXLEY, Alabama —Loxley Town Council member Katherine Breeden has received her award after earning the prestigious professional designation of Certified Municipal Official Emeritus, a highly regarded honor awarded to officials who have excelled beyond the requirements of the Basic and Advanced CMO programs.
To achieve this third level of the Alabama League of Municipalities’ CMO training program, a municipal official must earn the designation of Certified Municipal Official by completing 40 training credit hours conducted or endorsed by the League followed by an additional 40 training hours to receive an advanced certification.
“The CMO Emeritus designation recognizes mayors and council members who have excelled beyond the requirements of the basic and advanced programs,” according to a letter from the Alabama Municipalities. “It is a mark of distinguished service for officials who have spent several years of consistently obtaining training in municipal government and leadership.”
After receiving the designation in December 2019, Breeden was to be a member of the graduation class of the CMO Emeritus level and be recognized for her accomplishments during graduation ceremonies in 2020, but the ceremony was delayed because of COVID-19 concerns.
Attaining CMO Emeritus entails a minimum of 120 credit hours of Continuing CMO Education, plus 15 points. Points can be earned by serving on and attending meetings for a League Policy Committee; attending the League’s Annual Convention, Municipal Legislative Advocacy Session and the Municipal Leadership Institute; and by attending the Congress of Cities and the Congressional City Conference for the National League of Cities.
The certified training program for elected municipal officials was created in 1994 by the Alabama League of Municipalities, under the direction of its executive committee, to provide a specific curriculum cycle for municipal officials. Until that time, no formal training had been offered for elected officials.
The executive committee instituted a series of one-day continuing education programs designed for mayors and council members who voluntarily wished to receive formal training in municipal government. In 1998, the executive committee approved a series of training courses to be applied toward advanced certification and the CMO Emeritus designation was approved in 2015.
Because of her attendance at statewide and regional educational conferences, Breeden has received formal classroom training in subjects such as council meeting procedures, parliamentary procedure, the Open Meetings Act, public records, ordinance drafting, conflicts of interest, the State Ethics Law, duties of the mayor and council, tort liability, the competitive bid law, zoning and planning, annexation, municipal regulatory powers, municipal revenues and expenditures, personnel actions and leadership development.
“Graduates of all CMO levels spend many hours over several years attending day-long workshops and lectures on the finer points of municipal government,” said Ken Smith, executive director of the League of Municipalities. “Earning the CMO Emeritus designation is the epitome of this journey and a significant achievement. I commend our graduates for their dedication and motivation to become better informed, more effective municipal officials.”
The Alabama League of Municipalities was organized in 1935 and has served as the recognized voice of the cities and towns in Alabama. Through the years, the organization has steadily grown and now serves more than 440 municipalities.
This voluntary membership program brings officials of cities and towns together in fellowship of public services – which strengthens and guides local governments in a progressive, responsive fashion. The primary purpose of the League is to promote understanding of municipal government and administration in Alabama and thereby advance the welfare of the people of this state.