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Contemplating Governing

What is it like to serve in local office?gavel

Contemplating Governing is an introduction to serving in local government. These sessions will help individuals decide if local government service is right for them and encourage responsible campaigning. Contemplating Governing is not political training. Instead, it focuses on the tasks and issues facing local government in the 21st century. This program provides citizens the chance to consider the opportunities, challenges, requirements and reasons to serve in local elected office. Topics include:

  • Understanding the Pennsylvania local government environment, including powers and duties of various boards and commissions, such as city and borough councils, township commissioners or supervisors and school boards.
  • Overcoming obstacles to running and meeting legal requirements.
  • Determining what is a responsible campaign pledge.
  • Understanding local government taxation and services.
  • Measuring board effectiveness.
  • Local government’s important role in community sustainability.

About Contemplating Governing

Cultivating leadership – Both elected officials and the general public should be on the lookout for future community leaders. Succession planning is an ongoing consideration for all organizations, both public and private. Municipal officials, are you encouraging citizens to step up and get involved in their communities? By encouraging them to consider elected office, you are performing a valuable service to your constituents.

Certificate of Achievement – Participants’ time and effort will be recognized at the end of the course. Those completing the entire course will receive a certificate of achievement.

Pledge to Excellence – Candidates for local office are encouraged to sign the Academy’s Pledge to Excellence, demonstrating their commitment to good government and their pursuit of excellence while in office. Candidates – click here for more information and to sign the Pledge to Excellence. To see a list of candidates who have signed the Pledge to Excellence, go to Candidates List.

After the Election – LGA will be here to support candidates transition to office after the general election through the Newly Elected Officials Course. This one-of-a kind course, unique in Pennsylvania for its scope and content, is held following every local election. The Newly Elected Officials Course provides a comprehensive review of the basic duties of municipal officials, taught by experts in their fields.

2015 Contemplating Governing

Some of the 2015 Contemplating Governing participants.

Local Government Academy recognizes and thanks the following Advocates for Good Government for their support of Contemplating Governing:

Allegheny County
Babst Calland
Campbell, Durrant, Beatty, Palombo & Miller, P.C.
Gateway Engineers
Janney, Montgomery, Scott LLC
Law Offices of Wayne D. Gerhold
Marher Dussel, Certified Public Accountants
McGrail & Associates LLC
People’s Natural Gas

Contemplating Governing is offered with promotional support from the following organizations:

3 Rivers Wet Weather, Inc.
Allegheny County Library Association
Allegheny League of Municipalities
Allegheny Valley North Council of Governments
Association for PA Municipal Management, Western PA Chapter
Bayer Center for Non-Profit Management
Beaver County Regional Council of Governments
Butler County Council of Governments
Charwest Council of Governments
CONNECT – Congress of Neighboring Communities
CORO – Center for Civic Leadership
Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania
League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh
Mon Valley Initiative
Pennsylvania Center for Women & Politics
Pennsylvania Economy League of Southwestern PA
Quaker Valley Council of Governments
Steel Valley Council of Governments
Sustainable Pittsburgh
Turtle Creek Valley Council of Governments
Twin Rivers Council of Governments

LGA is proud to have bi-partisan support for Contemplating Governing, including the endorsements of:

  • Nancy Patton Mills, chairwoman, Democratic Committee of Allegheny County
  • James Roddey, chairman, Republican Committee of Allegheny County

Read about Contemplating Governing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Started in January 2009, Local Government Academy’s first-ever program for potential candidates for local office was a success, thanks to the support of the program’s donors, partners and instructors. Here are some statistics about the program and its participants:

  • Two 3-part programs offered in Pittsburgh and Greensburg.
  • 43 individuals from Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Fayette and Westmoreland counties.
  • 29 jurisdictions – 55% urban boroughs or cities; 45% suburban townships or home rule municipalities.
  • Bi-partisan:  46% Democratic, 48% Republican and 6% Independent or Other.
  • Diversity:  34% female, 8% African American.
  • Education/Profession:  75% with Bachelors degrees or higher; 70% management or professional listed as occupation.
  • Increase in knowledge of participants (% of change):
Filing requirements for candidates 60%
Who’s Who in local government 25%
Powers and duties of PA municipalities 55%
Community sustainability 42%
Measuring board effectiveness 56%
Intergovernmental cooperation 61%