Staying for the Long Haul: Municipal Professionals
Cindy Kendall is an ISU Extension specialist for state and local government training programs. ISU Extension and Outreach has been providing continuing education and professional development to Iowa’s municipal clerks, secretaries, treasurers, recorders, and other local officials since 1975. Cindy says:
Our area of extension really focuses on state and local government programming. … This particular program has been identified as a need to local governments because of its interaction with all of the citizens within the state of Iowa. The clerks and finance officers in Iowa receive the training primarily in an institute and an academy, which we sponsor here in Ames every year.
We also have teamed up with other agencies, like the Iowa League of Cities. We do joint trainings in the area of budgeting each year for cities, and we do that in the field with six different sites. So we’ve gone across a large gamut of education delivery, and we see that future education delivery is going to be as diverse as it has been in the past.
Debra Hartman, Sheffield city clerk, has participated in the training. Debra says:
My job is very diversified … I do the utility billing. I do the annual report. I do the budget for the community. I can tell you what I’m going to do today, what I have planned to do today, but 99.9 percent of the time my plan is out the window in the first five minutes I come to work. Because in a small community, we do so many different jobs. That’s my job and I love it, though.
Training from Iowa State Extension is important and essential to all the city clerks, city managers, finance officers in the state of Iowa, because without them, all the new legislative issues that come up would not be available, and we don’t have any other venue to find out these issues. That is why Iowa State Extension continuing education is extremely important to all cities in the state of Iowa.
This program has been a benefit for citizens in Iowa for a very long time. It brings in people who may not necessarily be trained in this particular area, but it helps them to regain an education as well as leadership skills, that allow them to be active participants in the communities.
It has given us the opportunity to hone those skills for the long haul. It has given us the ability to do long-range planning in our communities, and make those communities places where we, and the next generation, are going to want to stay and live, in vital and vibrant communities.