On Dec. 2, the Town of Payson graduated 26 students from its first annual Citizens Leadership Academy. This festive occasion was also attended by council members, staff and representatives from Arizona Public Service Company, which co-sponsored the program.
The town plans on holding a citizens academy each fall. The 2004 class attended eight sessions covering all of the major functions of Payson town government, with the following schedule:
Sept. 16 -- Orientation, with presentations by the mayor and council members; general information about the structure of town government; presentations by town manager, clerk, attorney and human resources department
Sept. 30 -- Finance and budget; library; airport;
Oct. 7 -- Planning; building; economic development;
Oct. 21 -- Fire department; parks and recreation;
Nov. 4 -- Police department;
Nov. 6 -- Facilities tour;
Nov. 17 -- Public works; water; engineering;
Dec. 2 -- Boards, commissions and committees; community volunteerism; graduation
Each session included snacks, soft drinks and water. Meals were also included with the Oct. 21, Nov. 6 and Dec. 2 sessions. Department heads taught classes in their areas of expertise and distributed detailed information about the operation of their respective departments.
The Nov. 6 facilities tour, which was held in conjunction with the town's open house, included Fire Station 11 on Main Street, the Parks and Recreation office at Green Valley Park, Payson Municipal Airport and the new Public Works building. Students also received a presentation from the town hydrogeologist Mike Ploughe on exploring for groundwater.
Registration for the 2005 class will begin in late spring. Adding to the great success we enjoyed with the inaugural class, we are planning to make the 2005 session even bigger and better. So watch and listen for registration information for next year's academy in the Payson Roundup, the town's quarterly newsletter Payson Insight, and local radio and television outfits.