Thomas, Jackson work toward advanced certifications

Published 3:58 pm Friday, November 1, 2019

Selma City Councilwomen Miah Jackson and Jannie Thomas have graduated from the Alabama League of Municipalities’ (ALM) Certified Municipal Official (CMO) Program, making them the only two officials elected in 2016 to take part in the training, and are currently working toward their advanced certification.

“State and federal law evolve and change frequently,” Jackson said. “It is extremely important to invest in opportunities for continuing education to ensure organizational policy, procedures and practices keep pace with legal updates as they occur. I learned a wealth of knowledge in various areas and have tried to bring this knowledge back to our local government.”

Both Jackson and Thomas graduated as members of the 24th graduating class of Certified Municipal Officials during a ceremony last month in Prattville and have so far earned 26 of the 40 hours required to earn an Advanced CMO Certification.

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According to a press release from the ALM, the certification class was established in 1994 to “complete the cycle of training for municipal officials and employees.”

“Until that time, no formal training had been offered for elected officials,” the press release stated. “The [ALM] Executive Committee instituted a series of one-day continuing education programs designed for mayors and councilmembers who voluntarily wish to receive formal training in municipal government.”

Upon graduating from the program, Thomas and Jackson received formal classroom training in subjects such as council meeting procedures, parliamentary procedure, the Open Meetings Act, public records, ordinance drafting, conflicts of interest, state ethics laws, duties of the mayor and council, municipal regulatory powers and more.

“All CMO graduates spend many hours over several years attending day-long workshops and lectures on the finer points of municipal government, said League of Municipalities Executive Director Ken Smith. “Earning the CMO designation is a significant achievement and I commend our graduates for their dedication and motivation to become better informed, more effective municipal officials.”

Thomas, who was the first of the two councilwomen to graduate from the program, said it gives municipal officials a chance to hear from other communities on the best practices that might be employed locally.

“[The program] is very important if you get elected as a leader,” Thomas said. “It’s best for you to know all the information on municipalities and legislature laws and the ‘dos and don’ts’ of a council person. They teach you a lot about how to make your city operate well as a leader. When you get elected, you need that training.”