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Plan Now to Participate in the LGA Municipal Intern Program

Paid internships provide students who are considering a career in government an opportunity for real world experience. Local governments have also found that internships are a great way to get projects completed by enthusiastic students anxious to show what they can do.

Each year, the Local Government Academy brings students and potential employers together at the Municipal Internship Fair.  The next fair will be on March 30, 2017, from 12pm – 2:30pm, in the Kurtzman Room of the William Pitt Union, University of Pittsburgh. Click here to add the intern fair to your calendar.

Interested undergraduate and graduate students are invited to register to participate in the 2017 Municipal Intern Program.

Municipalities, authorities and Councils of Governments in Allegheny, Butler and Washington counties, or municipalities under Act 47, or participating in the state’s DCED Early Intervention Program, are encouraged to participate.  Click here for more information or to submit a project application.

Look for an announcement of the selected projects early in March, 2017.


Managing Marcellus: Understanding Pipelines-What Local Governments and Planners Need to Know

pipeline-geology-largeIn-person Session:
Thursday September 29, 2016
6PM to 8:30PM

Washington & Jefferson College
Burnett Center (Yost Auditorium)
292 E Wheeling St.
Washington, PA 15301 (map)

Register now! $50 for the 4 session course (scholarships are available).

Pipeline development has the potential to be the most lasting impact incurred by local communities experiencing unconventional gas development.  In this series, Local Government Academy and Center for Energy Policy and Management at Washington and Jefferson College present a detailed consideration of what local governments and planners need to know.

“Understanding Pipelines” kicks off September 29, 2016 at the Yost Auditorium on the campus of Washington and Jefferson College.  At that in-person program, participants will build their understanding of pipelines from a systems point of view.  What are pipelines and why do we need them?  How do the pipelines in Pennsylvania fit in the the larger national and even international network?

This session will be followed by a series of webinars designed to build off of the introductory program.

  • October 14, 2016, 12:00 – 1:00PM Webinar – “Pipeline Safety and Quantifying Risk”
    • Are Pipelines Safe?
    • Who oversees the safety of pipelines? Fed/State/Local roles
    • Emergency Responders – Best Practices and lessons learned from recent examples such as Salem Township
  • October 21, 2016, 12:00 – 1:00PM  Webinar – “Benefiting Your Community: What to Expect and What to Request in the Process of Pipeline Development
    • Land use and future development implications
    • Development Considerations – local ordinances, SALDO, zoning
    • Community Engagement
  • October 28, 12:00 – 1:00PM Webinar – “Shedding Light on the Pipeline Development Process”
    • What is the Regulatory Framework that reviews/permits/supervises pipelines?  What factors do they consider, such as cultural and historic resources and endangered species?
    • How are pipelines designed, routed and maintained?
    • How do pipelines impact the environment?

Click here to access LGA’s Course Catalog. Add “Managing Marcellus: Understanding Pipelines – What Local Governments and Planners Need to Know” to your shopping cart.

Scholarships and discounts are available to communities on this list . If your community is eligible, contact Justin Philman at or 412-586-5659 for the coupon code to use during checkout.

PA Conservation Explorer Tool

explorer toolClick here to register for this archived webinar, recorded July 27, 2016.

This presentation will introduce participants to the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program (PNHP) and the award-winning Pennsylvania Conservation Explorer, an online tool for conservation planning and PNDI environmental review.

The tool provides access to biodiversity information, leading to better planning and fewer project impacts on rare, threatened, endangered species and resources of special concern.

Participants will learn how to

  • Generate custom conservation planning reports
  • Create PNDI receipts for pre-screening land use changes and ground-disturbing projects
  • Search the online map for natural resource features and their attributes

Registered users of the tool can explore areas for potential impacts to rare, threatened and endangered species habitats. Topics covered in this webinar will include:

  • Mapping, searching and changing base layers;
  • Displaying and sharing conservation information for planning and environmental reviews;
  • Querying the map for protected lands, species habitats, and high-value surface water resources;
  • Compiling natural heritage area inventory reports;
  • Importing shapefiles and map services to perform project screenings;
  • Previewing screening areas and analysis layers;
  • Viewing submitted projects and their status; and
  • Uploading project documents for review.

Kent Taylor is a Natural Resources Program Specialist at the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), Bureau of Forestry in Harrisburg. He has 23 years of experience working for state and local governments and non-profit organizations in six U.S. states and three foreign countries.

As Associate Director at Openlands in Chicago, Kent was one of the coauthors of the award-winning Chicago Wilderness’ Biodiversity Recovery Plan, and he led one of the first regional metropolitan-area water trails projects in the U.S.

Since 2004, Kent has led numerous projects to automate web mapping applications in health, environmental protection, natural resources, and recreational trails and greenways. Kent has served on several advisory boards and is currently helping lead an effort to develop the 1,300-mile September Eleventh National Memorial Trail.

This presentation is available at no charge, but you must register through LGA Online (first time users to LGA Online will need to set up a user account then click “I Have an Enrollment Key” at the bottom. Returning users can just sign in).

Act Now to Share Your Transportation Needs

Transportation is an issue that affects all of our communities.  That is why Local Government Academy is partnering with the Regional rtaTransportation Alliance of SWPA, a new public-private effort to improve transportation for our business and residents in the 10-county greater Pittsburgh region, to ask you, the municipal leadership of our region, to share your thoughts about the most important unaddressed transportation priorities for your area and constituents.

Beyond maintenance, are there projects that would have a large impact on your community that lack funding?  Is there a transit improvement that would make a big difference to your community?  Is there a policy change or jurisdiction-coordination opportunity?

Please let us know your opinion about what the two top priority transportation needs are for your community.  Please share your ideas using the link to the online form below by Friday, September 16th 2016.

Click here to share your top two transportation ideas

It’s very important that your local perspective is included in this regional process so that it can reflect the different mobility and connectivity needs in the region.

The Allegheny Conference on Community Development is providing staff support for this initiative.  If you have any questions, please contact the RTA project manager Carly Dobbins-Bucklad at 412-281-4783 ext. 3117 or  More information about the Regional Transportation Alliance and this initiative is available at the website


Local Government Academy Executive Director Leaving Post

Susan Hockenberry, Executive Director of Local Government Academy, is leaving the post after 14 years.  Hockenberry will assume the responsibilities of the Quaker Valley Council of Governments in September.

“I treasure the work of the Academy and relationships we have built with local officials.  I am excited for this next chapter in my life and confident that a mission as compelling as LGA’s will find future success with renewed energy as a result of this transition,” Hockenberry said.

Hockenberry came to LGA in 2002 after serving as the Director of Administration and Finance at O’Hara Township for a number of years prior.  During her tenure the Academy grew in both support and programming and now serves the 10-county region through its Newly Elected Officials Course and a variety of online offerings.

“Susan has made significant contributions to LGA,” said Art Tintori, Local Government Academy Board Chairman. “Her drive and dedication in promoting excellence in local government has elevated the organization. It is with warmest personal regards that we wish Susan success as she assumes her new position.”

The current course catalog allows LGA to continue to provide training to local communities after Hockenberry’s departure.  The Academy Board of Directors will examine a number of options for the future, including conducting a search for a new Executive Director.

Fraud Overview and Prevention

GasbFree online course, available now!

CPA Tim Morgus, of Maher Duessel CPAs, presents “Fraud Overview and Prevention.” Fraud is an intentional act involving deception to obtain an unjust or illegal advantage. Local governments experiencing fraud face loss of assets, fiscal position and public trust. External audits do not protect against fraud, as such local government officials need to know how to spot and combat fraud.

This 30 minute presentation is available at no charge, but you must register through LGA Online (first time users to LGA Online will need to set up a user account then click “I Have an Enrollment Key” at the bottom. Returning users can just sign in).

2016 Recognition Luncheon Photos

On Thursday, August 11, 2016, the Local Government Academy’s annual Recognition Luncheon was held at the Engineer’s Society of Western Pennsylvania. Recognized among the audience of over 100 were LGA’s donors, instructors, municipal interns, the Allegheny League of Municipalities’ Banner Communities, and communities that have earned certification through the Pennsylvania Sustainable Community Certification.

Click on any image to enlarge.

2016 Municipal Internship Program Video

On Thursday, August 11, 2016, the attendees of Local Government Academy’s Annual Recognition Luncheon watched the debut of this year’s Municipal Intern Program video. Twelve municipalities chose interns from over 200 applications to participate through the summer in projects dedicated to improving their communities. Throughout the internship, the selected interns collected photo and video footage detailing their involvement and experience.

The following interns and municipalities participated in the 2016 Municipal Intern Projects program:

  • Eliza Donohue, Carnegie Mellon University, Ross Township
  • Alan Druga, Carnegie Mellon University, McKees Rocks Borough
  • Hannah Grippo, Westminister College, New Castle City
  • Lara Konefal-Shaer, Carnegie Mellon University, Bellevue Borough
  • Dalton Leedy, California University of Pennsylvania, Charleroi Borough
  • Kelsey Lorence, Carnegie Mellon University, Winfield Township
  • Adam Mark, University of Pittsburgh, South Park Township
  • Skylar Roth, Penn State University, Harrison Township
  • Nico Russo, Thiel College, Greenville Borough
  • Emily Schnarre, University of Alabama, Cranberry Township
  • Leah Scott, Carnegie Mellon University, Baldwin Borough
  • Victoria Vernet, Seton Hill University, Donora Borough

The video, composed by LGA’s own intern, Yunzhi Zheng, premiered to an audience of over a hundred Advocates for Good Government, program instructors, community representatives, board of directors, and others, who were also recognized at the luncheon.  Thanks to all who helped to make the Recognition Luncheon, and the 2016 Municipal Intern Program, a success!

Standing Tall program featured expert knowledge and real world application

Standing Tall: Fostering Tree Health and Community Well-Being featured a panel of local government officials and “tree experts” presenting an informative program featuring an overview on the benefits of a municipal forestry program and advice on the best way to develop, nurture and sustain the street trees and tree canopy of your community. It was held on July 7, 2016 in Sewickley. In addition to offering introductory instruction, participants received guidance on resources and expertise to engage when developing their own program and participated on a walking tour to see Sewickley’s efforts in action.20160707_114102

Topics included:

  • Tree species selection & climate change preparation
  • Dealing with Invasives and Pests
  • Pruning, care of mature trees, and tree removal
  • Salt application
  • TreeVitalize program
  • Allegheny Watershed Alliance and Allegheny Conservation District resources

Many thanks to our speakers:
Kevin Flannery, Borough Manager, Sewickley Borough
Rebecca Zeyzus, Allegheny Watershed Alliance
Brian Wolyniak, Urban Forester, Penn State Extension
Joe Stavish, Tree Pittsburgh, Community Education Coordinator
Burlton Griffith, Arborist, Bartlett Tree Experts
Charlie Kirkpatrick, Allegheny County Conservation District
Jim Edson, Bartlett Tree Experts.

This program was offered in partnership with Allegheny County Conservation District, American Public Works Association – Western PA Chapter, Governors Center for Local Government Services/DCED as part of the Sustainable Development Academy, a joint program of Local Government Academy and Sustainable Pittsburgh.  Many thanks to Sewickley Borough for hosting this program.

Correction to the 2016 Event Postcard – Grant Seekers Workshop

Please take note of the correction regarding the 2016 LGA Event Postcard: the Grant Seekers Workshop program as previously listed for July 9-10 is incorrect. The dates for the program are as follows:

Monday, July 18, 2016- 9AM to 4PM
Wednesday, July 20, 2016- 9AM to 12PM

For all additional information regarding the program, click here.