Ellen Saltzman, Clemson University, Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs; Mayor Joe McElveen, City of Sumter; Councilmember David P. Merchant, City of Sumter and Bill Tomes, University of South Carolina, Institute for Public Service and Policy Research
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Councilmember David P. Merchant from the City of Sumter graduated from the Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government on February 5. Graduates received their certificates during the Municipal Association of South Carolina's Hometown Legislative Action Day in Columbia.
Established in 1986, the Institute is a program of the Municipal Association of South Carolina
that gives municipal officials a strong foundation in the operation of local government. Participants learn about the role of elected officials and administrative staff and the relationships municipal officials have with other local governments, the state and federal government. The Institute includes two daylong sessions and three evening sessions.
"For more than 20 years, the Association has encouraged local elected officials to participate in the Institute, whether they are newly elected or have served for a while," said Miriam Hair, executive director of the Municipal Association. "This Institute gives elected leaders with diverse personal and professional backgrounds an understanding and overview of the details of running a local government."
Highlights of topics covered during the sessions include the Freedom of Information Act, ethics and accountability, budgeting, planning and zoning, human resources and economic development.
The Municipal Association plans and presents the Institute in cooperation with the University of South Carolina's Institute of Public Service and Policy Research and Clemson University's Strom Thurmond Institute.
The Institute draws its faculty from recognized local government leaders in South Carolina and other states, state officials, faculty and staff of the state's colleges and universities, and other guest lecturers.
In 2013, the Association began offering its first credited, on-demand course as part of the Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government as well as an Advanced Institute for MEO graduates.
The Advanced Institute provides elected officials who have graduated from the MEO Institute with an option for continuing education through classroom instruction, interaction with experienced peers and case studies.