The five new members of the Payson Town Council and four from the Star Valley council sat with 100 or so of their government peers from around the state during the Newly Elected Officials Program, sponsored by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
For two days, Rim Country's governance learned about state law and local government: the mechanics of budgets, the pitfalls of open meeting law violations and the process of lawmaking.
More importantly, the town's leaders learned to manage their personal lives with a class called, "The Effects of Public Office on Your Personal and Family Life."
"The most interesting (class) was Friday afternoon," said Councilor Ed Blair. "You'd think you'd get sleepy after lunch. Nobody got sleepy. The whole afternoon was about staying out of hot water and we all appreciated it very much."
Payson Mayor Bob Edwards said he paid particular attention to "How Cities Raise and Spend Revenue." The class covered everything from the council's role in the budget-making process to the methods towns use to raise money.
"Government mentality is you have to increase your budget based on inflation," Edwards said. "There tends to be a bloating of personnel. That's kind of normal because you don't have the pressure of profit. You don't have a bottom line in government."
Most of all, Edwards and Blair said the two-day workshop fostered camaraderie, and reassurance that Payson's problems are statewide problems.
"Two common things seem to be the availability of water and growth, and trying to put some control on that, and the two go hand in hand," Edwards said. "The public is getting aware. It's past due."
-- To reach Felicia Megdal call 474-5251, ext. 116, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.