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May 1, 2013
By Kayla Johnson
The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension will offer the Local Leaders' Institute on May 18-19 in Elko. The Institute, a new pilot program, is designed to enhance the knowledge of elected and appointed officials, government staff and other community leaders on the ins-and-outs of local government in Nevada.
In partnership with the Nevada Chapter of the American Planning Association, Frederick Steinmann, Eureka County Extension educator, helped to create the Local Leaders' Institute, a program to educate community leaders in four Nevada locations - Washoe, Elko, Eureka and Clark Counties. By mid-2014, Steinmann hopes the pilot program will become a full institute and be used as the primary training format to disseminate this type of information to all parts of the state. Nye and Lyon Counties have already requested to the Institute also be offered in their counties.
According to Steinmann, one of the workshop's objectives is to reduce conflict between staff and elected officials over procedural matters pertaining to government management and administration, and to get everyone speaking the same language.
"A tension was identified between elected officials and staff - a tension that ultimately has hurt government efficiency and effectiveness in Nevada," Steinmann said. "A lot of it is really that they don't have common background and training to deal with the issues they face."
After offering the Institute for the first time in Washoe County in February, Steinmann said those who attended gave it high marks for getting everyone on the same page and providing useful information on various concepts. Steinmann has also added some presentations on planning and zoning, ethics, Home Rule vs. Dillon's Law and local government economic development after getting feedback from that first offering.
The special guest presenter for the Washoe session was Chester Newland, a leading expert on public administration who served as a former advisor to President Lyndon B. Johnson. Newland will also be speaking at the Institute offered in Elko May 18-19. Dagny Stapleton, a City of Reno planning commissioner who attended the Institute in Washoe County, was especially impressed by Newland's presentation and found the entire Institute to be helpful.
"The workshop provided really insightful information and fantastic guest speakers," Stapleton said. "Chester Newland was an outstanding guest speaker and to hear first-hand his experience on federal policy was really interesting and a great opportunity to be a part of."
The registration fee for the Institute in Elko is $75 and includes lunch, snacks and refreshments, and course materials. Space is limited to 50 participants and will be provided to attendees on a first-come, first-served basis. The Institute will be held in the Humboldt Room of the Hilton Garden Inn Elko, 3650 E. Idaho St. To register, contact Steinmann at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-237-5326.
Cooperative Extension will offer the next two sessions of Local Leaders' Institute workshops in Eureka and Las Vegas in late summer or early fall.