The Town of Payson is proud to announce we have just completed our third annual Payson Citizens Leadership Academy. The academy, which we fondly call "Payson Government 101," was created as a result of a suggestion that arose during development of the Focus Future II economic development plan in 2004.
This year's academy ran from Aug. 17 through Nov. 9. It consisted of eight classroom sessions, held on weekday evenings, and a Saturday morning facilities tour. Classroom topics truly ran from A-Z, including airport, animal control, fire, parks and recreation, library, water, streets, human resources, and zoning.
So far, 71 Payson residents have completed the academy and they make a very diverse group. Graduates range in age from their early 20s to late 80s and include retirees, business owners and employees of non-profit organizations. Many recently moved to Payson, while others have called Payson home for more than 30 years.
One of the purposes of the academy has been to help develop local leaders for town council and membership on town boards, committees and commissions. Councilor Su Connell is a graduate of the first academy. Five other graduates have gone on to run for town council or be appointed to advisory bodies. Several graduates of this year's class have expressed an interest in town leadership positions.
As for those who do not run or office or step into positions of leadership, we believe an informed citizenry is essential to the proper functioning of representative democracy. Each of the graduates who have not yet sought appointed or elected positions have gained valuable information about how their local government operates.
Will there be another Payson Citizens Leadership Academy? The answer is a resounding "yes." The 2007 class will begin in August and will have room for 25 Payson residents.
Although we will not begin formally promoting the fourth annual program until next spring, applications may be submitted at any time.
Call (928) 474-5242 ext. 245 to get an application or for more information.
You may also download an application at the Town's Web site, paysonaz.us.
Town council and staff look forward to another successful Payson Citizens Leadership Academy next year.
We'd really like you to be part of it.