Training Program Q&A

October 8, 2014

State law mandates that city officials in various elected and appointed positions attend and complete training courses pertaining to the basic performance of their duties. Beyond mandatory training, there are numerous courses available to city officials who want to learn more about local government finance, economic development, ethics and other areas of personal and professional development. City officials should be aware of the training requirement pertaining to their positions, as well as other opportunities that are available to them.

What training is required for newly elected officials?
The 1990 Georgia General Assembly passed legislation requiring city officials elected after July 1, 1991, to complete training on matters pertaining to the administration and operations of municipal governments. GMA, working with the University of Georgia’ s Carl Vinson Institute of Government (CVIOG), conducts the Newly Elected Officials Institute, which is designed to provide an orientation to municipal government in Georgia. Topics include the role of the mayor and council; the legal, ethical and financial aspects of city government; and intergovernmental relations and working together within the city council. 

As a newly elected official, how long after I take office do I have to complete the newly elected training course?
This course must be taken within the first 12 months of taking office. Typically the course is offered in February and/or March of each year, depending on the number of newly elected officials. If an elected official has served before and has been reelected, he or she must take the Newly Elected Officials Institute again if they have been out of office for more than four years. Even though officials with prior service experience are familiar with what the job entails, the Newly Elected Officials Institute is updated each year to reflect new laws, policies and procedures that elected officials need to be aware of.

What is the Municipal Training Institute?
GMA offers the Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute for Elected Officials, which is a series of training programs designed to help mayors, council members and city managers/administrators and assistant city managers/administrators enhance their knowledge and skills. Classes are offered in conjunction with GMA meetings as well as in “stand-alone” offerings throughout the year. The classes are voluntary and offer elected officials the opportunity to obtain training beyond what is required by state law. By completing this additional training, elected officials can earn a Certificate of Recognition, Certificate of Achievement, Certificate of Excellence, Certificate of Distinction or Certificate of Dedication.
  • Certificate of Recognition
    Requires 42 hours of training, including at least 18 hours from the required
    list and the Newly Elected Officials Institute. 
  • Certificate of Achievement
    Requires 72 hours of training, including at least 36 hours from the required
    list and the Newly Elected Officials Institute. 
  • Certificate of Excellence
    Requires 120 hours of training, including at least 54 hours from the required
    list, the Newly Elected Officials Institute and the Robert E. Knox, Jr. Municipal
    Leadership Institute. 
  • Certificate of Distinction
    Requires 204 hours of training, including at least 72 hours from the required
    list, the Newly Elected Officials Institute, and the Robert E. Knox, Jr. Municipal 
    Leadership Institute.
  • Certificate of Dedication
    Requires 276 hours of training, including at least 108 hours from the required
    list, 18 hours of which must be from a new Advanced Leadership track, and the Robert E. Knox, Jr. Municipal Leadership Institute. After obtaining the
    Certificate of Dedication, officials must complete nine hours of continuing
    education each year to maintain the certificate
I am working on my Certificate of Recognition and I would like to confirm the number of hours I have completed. How do I get a copy of my transcript?
City officials may request a transcript at any time during the year, or they may access their transcript on the GMA website. You may use your user name and password to go on-line and view your transcript at any time. If you do not have a user name and password, you may call Irish Thomas at GMA at 404-688-0472 for assistance with setting up a new user name and password. 

I have more than 42 hours of training, yet I have never received my Certificate of Recognition. Why?
To receive the Certificate of Recognition, you must complete 42 hours of training, including at least 18 hours from the required list and the Newly Elected Officials Institute. If you have not completed the Newly Elected Officials Institute or have not completed at least 18 hours from the required course list, you are not yet eligible.

The Robert E. Knox, Jr. Municipal Leadership Institute is a multi-day training, but still only provides six hours of credit. Why?
The Municipal Training Board has considered this issue on many occasions. The purpose of the training program is to provide well-rounded knowledge to city officials. Therefore, they do not want to give more than six hours of credit for any the program. After attending the Knox Leadership Institute, most attendees feel that the privilege of attending is worth the extra time required.

I have taken Economic Development on two different occasions, but credit is only showing on my transcript for one time. Why is my second attendance not reflected?
You may only receive credit for taking a class one time. This even applies to the Newly Elected Officials Institute should you be required to take it a second time.  The exception is the Heart and Soul Downtown Workshop, as each of these class offerings is unique.

May I receive credit towards a certificate for a course that I have taken outside of the Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute program?
No, only classes offered through the Municipal Training Institute may be applied to the Training Institute's Certificate program.

Can municipal appointed staff attain the Municipal Training Certificates?
Only elected officials and since January 2017, city managers/administrators and assistant city managers/administrators, are eligible for Municipal Training Institute certificates. Municipal staff may register for Municipal Training Institute classes, although since space is limited, preference is given to elected officials. Numerous training opportunities for municipal staff are available through the UGA Carl Vinson Institute of Government. More information can be found on the CVIOG website.

The class I signed up for is full; is there a wait list or should I take another course?
Most classes are limited to 60 participants. Some are limited to 35 participants and 40 participants. GMA usually accepts 66 registrations in anticipation of cancellations and no-shows, therefore a waitlist is not usually kept. If your class is full, the best option is to select another class. 

How can I be sure to get into the class I need?
The best way to be sure you get into the class you need is to register as soon as registration for the training opens.

What are the requirements for serving on the Municipal Training Board?
The Municipal Training Board has one representative from each of the twelve GMA Districts and two at large posts. These representatives serve a four-year term. To be considered for the position, you must have at least 42 hours of training. You may notify your current district representative, or staff from GMA or the Carl Vinson Institute of your interest. Training board solicitations are periodically emailed when vacancies occur.

In addition to newly elected officials, what other municipal staff must obtain training to fulfill the requirements for their positions?
Various municipal employees are required by state law to obtain customized training to help them perform basic job functions and maintain certifications. Examples of municipal appointed officials for whom training is a requirement include police officers and communications officers; firefighters; landfill operators; paramedics; water distribution and wastewater system operators and managers; municipal court judges, and city clerks.

Where can I find more information about GMA’s Municipal Training Institute and other training opportunities?
For more information and questions about the training classes that are offered by GMA, please see the Training Brochure or contact Aileen Harris, GMA's Training Manager at (678) 686-6293.

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