The annual event provides essential training on the role of elected officials and important policy issues, as well as an opportunity to network with colleagues. The substantive content addressed many of the major responsibilities of serving as a mayor or council member with expert presenters on a wide range of topics including open government laws, ethics, land use, city finance and how policies made at the state level affect cities.
The event kicked off Wednesday with a session on “Effective Advocacy & Key City Issues,” which covered the importance of working closely with state officials to develop effective city services and programs, followed by a “Basics Boot Camp” session reviewing some of the ground rules for new mayors and council members and how they can prepare for council meetings. The new mayors and council members were briefed on local government finance, the responsibilities of elected local government officials and strategies for balance budgeting and identifying fiscal distress.
Pasadena Mayor and League President Bill Bogaard’s remarks focused on the organization’s mission to strengthen California cities through advocacy and education and how to become involved.
“Participating in the League of California Cities is an opportunity to be informed about the critical issues facing cities. It’s a way to become a more effective elected official and advocate for my city and make a contribution to my city,” said President Bogaard.
Valuable sessions on legal powers and obligations, and tools and processes in land use planning were also on the Wednesday agenda.
Thursday’s sessions focused on practical tips for how elected officials and city staff can work together, communications and media where attendees learned about the variety of immediate informational sources including new forms of media that are important for cities to embrace, and a demonstration on how to run an effective city council meeting.
Friday featured a special session on Friday entitled “How to Build and Maintain the Public’s Trust: Practical Ethics and the Law.” This session provided attendees with certification to meet AB 1234, the state’s mandatory ethics training requirement for locally elected officials.