“Nuts and bolts” of local government, sizzling dialog, and interactive fieldtrips are on agenda for Vice Mayor John DuBois.
Palmetto Bay’s first-term vice mayor presently is enrolled in a certificate course titled “Leaders of Excellence” that is specifically designed for early career elected officials. The unique program is offered through former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Katy Sorenson’s Good Government Initiative at the University of Miami.
DuBois is one of 18 public officials currently enrolled in Class III of the program. Fellow classmates include representatives of municipal and state offices in Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe, and Palm Beach County. The select group will meet for a total 60 hours of training in such areas as ethics, budget and finance, land use, and media relations. Instructors include University of Miami faculty, community leaders, public officials, and outside experts.
The course features case studies, instruction, and lively discussion, as well as informative off-site tours. In fact, the group just returned from a formal “field trip” to get an in-depth look at how Delray Beach’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) is creating a sustainable downtown that encourages economic growth. While there, the class met with Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein and former Mayor Tom Lynch who described their city’s evolution from blighted neighborhoods to a beautiful new downtown.
DuBois noted that this field trip was particularly valuable in light of Palmetto Bay’s recent downtown redevelopment initiative being studied by a task force of village stakeholders. “It’s not just classroom training,” DuBois said. “We are benefiting from class discussions that explore real-world issues that elected officials frequently encounter.
“It has been an enlightening and informative experience loaded with substantive material from a diverse and well-balanced group of participants,” he said. “Katy has facilitated an all-star lineup. I strongly recommend this course to my political colleagues who are in their first elected term.”
Sorenson, president and CEO of the Good Government Initiative at the University of Miami, most recently served on the Miami-Dade County Commission representing District 8. She also currently serves as chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Building Better Communities Bond Program of Miami-Dade County among many other leadership positions with local civic and educational organizations.
Sorenson said the goal of the program is to better prepare leaders for the decisions they face as elected officials and to help them develop a supportive cohort of smart, ethical, engaged office holders from Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Palm Beach Counties.
“Good government is the key to creating a community of lasting value for all residents,” Sorenson said. “It belongs to no party, nor to any particular ideology. Good government comes from leaders who are educated, transparent, have a clear political philosophy, and are able to communicate that philosophy to their constituents.”
DuBois is joined by fellow Class III participants from immediate neighboring areas include Cutler Bay Councilmember Peggy Bell, Homestead Councilmember Patricia Fairclough-McCormick, Coral Gables Commissioner Vince Lago, and Florida State Rep. Kionne McGhee. Palmetto Bay Mayor Shelly Stanczyk attended Class II in 2012.
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