01/27/14 — City seeks to teach, recruit to boards

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City seeks to teach, recruit to boards

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on January 27, 2014 1:46 PM

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Goldsboro officials are beginning a new program to help educate people about city government and possibly get them more involved.

Starting in March, a new city program will be available to teach residents about how local government works.

The free school of government is a collaboration between Assistant City Manager Angel Wright-Lanier and Community Affairs Director LaTerrie Ward.

The program will consist of eight classes lasting from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with a break in the middle, once a week.

Each class will feature guests from different city departments highlighting what each one does, Mrs. Wright-Lanier said.

The goal, she explained, is to not only educate people what government actually does, but also about how they can become more involved in it.

"I attended the town of Cary school of government and it increased my desire to serve on a board," she said.

The city is hoping that the same will be true for those that go through Goldsboro's school of government, which will begin March 13.

So far two applications have been turned in for the 20 slots ahead of the Feb. 28 deadline.

"We're not targeting a particular board," Mrs. Wright-Lanier said. "We want people to go where their interests are."

Some of the city boards and committees are inactive due to vacancies such as the appearance commission, which has eight vacancies, while others just don't have a full roster.

There are 24 vacancies across nine city boards.

There is one in each of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission, the Planning Commission, the Historic District Commission, the Municipal Golf Course Commission, and the Travel and Tourism Council.

The Community Affairs Commission has two vacancies. There are four vacancies on the Advisory Committee for Community Development, and five vacancies on the Mayor's Committee for Persons with Disabilities.

And while going through the school of government is not a requirement to serve on any of these commissions -- people can apply at any time at City Hall -- city officials do hope the classes will inspire new members.

But, Mrs. Wright-Lanier said, even if they don't end up filling the empty spots, if they can educate people about local government, then they will consider it a successful effort.

While the final schedule is not put together yet, Ms. Ward said that the details will be hammered out by Jan. 31.

The class size is limited to 20 for this first class, but future class sizes could be adjusted based on interest, she said.

Of the 20 slots, 16 are reserved for city residents.

The first class will be focused on the Mayor and City Manager's Office and will go down the line from there through various city departments.

The program is expected to cost between $2,500 and $3,000 and graduates of the program will receive a commemorative plaque.