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Statewide Public Administration Leadership Programs Launched

Meinders School of Business exterior

Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business will begin offering a certificate program in public administration leadership in September. In partnership with the Oklahoma Academy and the Oklahoma Municipal League, the non-partisan initiative is designed to educate all citizens who are interested in seeking an elective office in Oklahoma.

Fall 2018 classes will include a municipalities track for those interested in city offices. The classes will be offered on the OCU campus and will be live-streamed in CareerTechs throughout Oklahoma.

Steve Agee, dean of OCU’s Meinders School of Business, said the innovative program is the first of its kind in Oklahoma and is one of just a few in the country. Agee said elected candidates are legally required to complete training after elections, but that this program will provide training for citizens before they file for office.

“I encourage anyone who is interested in running for office to take the class,” Agee said. “It will really enhance your knowledge of public service and administration.”

Julie Knutson, president and CEO of The Oklahoma Academy, said the program will be a long-term benefit for Oklahoma.

“This is an important step for Oklahoma candidates, and an opportunity to learn what is required of someone holding office,” she said. “It is also of great benefit in the long-run for Oklahoma. The Academy discussed aspects of this in our latest Town Hall Conference addressing improving the election process and voting. If candidates are knowledgeable about the office they are seeking and what will be expected of them in holding that office, they are a step ahead, and importantly, voters can have more confidence in the candidate.”

Mike Fina, executive director of the Oklahoma Municipal League, said that the organization is honored to work alongside Oklahoma City University and the Oklahoma Academy in the initiative.

"As the number of candidates filing for municipal offices across the state increases, we are finding that many are unaware of the duties and legal implications in representing a municipality," Fina said. "OML strongly believes this program will prepare our future elected officials to be better public servants for their communities. It is hard to imagine a better group of partners to help create and administer this program.”

The municipalities course, which was designed with input from the Municipal League and Oklahoma City Manager James Couch, contains seven modules focused on management and governance of municipalities; campaign finance, open meetings and records and ethics; labor relations and communications; financing municipal government, land use, TIFs and economic incentives and development; and negotiation and dispute resolution.

The first sessions will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each Saturday from Sept. 8 to Oct. 20. No prerequisites are required. Cost is $250 and includes a completion certificate. Scholarships are available. For more information or to enroll, contact Melissa Cory at 405-208-5540 or email mcory@okcu.edu.