Officials attend good governance school at BGSU Firelands

More than 20 area officials returned to school earlier this month, enrolling in a course designed to build better government.
Andy Ouriel
Jan 27, 2013


Each participant coughed up $250 in tuition costs for a nine-week academy offered at BGSU Firelands.

A weekly class, which began Jan. 17, focuses on refining skills government officials need to manage efficient operations.

"I absolutely think the program will be worthwhile," said Kelly Cusack, BGSU Firelands educational outreach assistant director, who's also coordinating the academy. "People seem hungry for it and the content we are delivering will be both relevant and practical."

Among the lessons scheduled include:

• Creating an environment of trust while maintaining a high ethical standard.

• Ensuring taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and efficiently.

• Engaging in effective communication with colleagues and residents while developing relationships with the press.

"I feel it's a good thing to learn more," Erie County recorder Barb Sessler said, who's attending the class. "Sometimes in these classes, you can pick up something that will be helpful for work."

Also enrolled in the class are 10 community watchdogs and area activists seeking to understand how governments should run.

"It's an investment for myself," Perkins Township resident Kathie Mueller said. "With different stakeholders together, there might be different ideas being brainstormed that can be productive to move this community forward."

For the list of the 32 local officials and community members attending the class, pick up a copy of Sunday's Register.




I did not realize there were that many watchdogs out there. Maybe some of them will take a run for elected office? Too bad the classes were not held stictly as a community service instead of charging a fee, maybe more would have attended. I think the fee is too high. Someone is making a substantial amount of money off these classes.


You can bet it isn't the instructor. As a past college instructor, I can tell you it seldom filters down that


Educate yourself, then. Education should not be the cheapest thing in town. There are plenty of things on the Internet or in any public library that you could actually learn these things for yourself IF you had the drive to do it. You want to be taught? It costs money.


If that instructor makes at the very least $8 an hour, in a 4 hr class in 9 weeks that totals $288.00. Nothing is free,


To whom are you speaking, luvblues2, dark or me? I know nothing about education is free! Believe me, I watched students walk out at graduation terribly in debt....with a piece of paper to prove it. Its called a degree!


Not you, wiredmama. Darkhorse thinks we go to school and we are to expect the electricity, the plumbing, and all the other amenities besides the instructor's time should be handed out for no cost?


I am going to skool (sic) at the young age of 54 because my talents in welding, mechanical abilities, construction, and CAD design weren't any longer needed in 2008. No-one is going to hire anyone my age to do that job anymore. Just way too many out of work. Not to mention, They want to "mold" the young ones. The older ones "know" too much about how the system worx.


I understand that feeling. If I COULD go back to work, I would have to go back to school again. But at age 62 I don't know that I could handle it in my field. I LOVE school, but wow, retention at my age and the testing. I would need CHEMISTRY and a PHYSICS II class. Nope, don't think I could handle that one. LOL the "old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be". LOL


Nah, comes turning on an old vacuum tube type of TV where it had to warm up first. The brain starts sparking again. :) not everything is just "same old, I know the routine" anymore..


Are the elected officials paying out of their own pockets or is this on the taxpayer's "dime"?


Re-read, samiam:

"Each participant coughed up $250 in tuition costs for a nine-week academy offered at BGSU Firelands."


Most of these "officials" pay for the course and then get their money back from their towns, or counties, or whomever they work for. It is just like a lot of politicians. Freebies are nothing new. Not saying that it isn't a good thing that they take these courses, just that most of them don't pay for the course out of their own pockets.


I believe the Sandusky Commissioners are being paid for on OUR dime. If you remember, did Sharon Johnson not mention that in her blog last week, that the commissioners were all going and it was paid for by the city as continuing education????? I remember reading it somewhere and I thought it was there. I will have to go look.

Julie R.

Say what? No prosecutors or judges in Erie County were interested in attending these classes so they could learn how to create an environment of trust while maintaining a HIGH ETHICAL standard?

Second Opinion

Start by dealing with this impeachable charge. Nobel Peace Prize nominee has some frightening information concerning our government, all the way to the top.


Six City Commissioners attended the class with the city picking up the costs. Three or four of the commissioners decided to reimburse the city which was strictly their choice. It is training that should be charged to the city. The commissioners have an allowance for training expenditures. No one should dispute that it is money well spent. I think BGSU could have kept the cost down. As a community service, they could have written it off. I noticed not one County Commissioner attended? You are never too experienced to pick something up from the class.


"THEY" could have written it off to whom, Darkhorse? Santa Clause? The ones who paid from their own pocket are the responsible ones. The gov't in this USA was never intended to be a "full time, paid for, show up when you want, we got your back, kick back and relax, you have the best of everything type of job, even after you quit or retire", Darkhorse.

And actually, the ones that reimbursed the city are probably the ones who have been attending the classes.


Good lord, $250 for a class that could simply be titled "Common Sense & Common Courtesy!" Why DON'T officials communicate with others on their team? Why DON'T officials communicate with constituents? Why AREN'T officials ethical or efficient? I'm guessing that 99% of the time it's not because they're stupid, but rather because they're "too important" to be bothered.

Training on ordinances and laws? Yes. Training on the Constitution? Dear god, YES! But training on how to be a regular human being and competent employee (generally, not specific to job duties)? Sheesh. MORE taxpayer dollars being misspent...



The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

As an attendee (who probably falls under "area activist") I can say that at least the first course that has been presented so far was very well done and informational. The things discussed opened my eyes to what is out there and how you can engage in official business responsibly. I am looking forward to the others and to emerge from this a better person and way to support wise decisions or act appropriately if I see something amiss.

If an official decided to reimburse the city, that is great, but as a "guy on the inside" I feel confident that the CE (continuing education) budget for city officials is not being squandered on this program. At least at the start, but if the coming weeks are the same or better this would be a wise investment in local officials. So many other professions require CE credits, it is half-surprising that no such upkeep is actually demanded by law or the public of their leaders and funds are just left floating in a pool for "whenever". But, because it is voluntary it means more for those that can attend and it is up to them to not just use what they learn but share it with others who can't make it for one reason or another. That way everyone wins and the $250/head actually spreads out to $250 for four or five people learning the lesson.


@the Hero Zone...if the "elected officials" learn ANYTHING about "engaging responsibly in official business" and start conducting themselves as such many of us would be more than happy to see it. Right now they do not do that. Especially in the way they treat each other. I would be happy to see them act "responsibly" with each other and get things done in a timely manner. Case in point: The police chief selection which has been an onging challenge and has YET to come to a close.

Julie R.

If the recorder's office wants to maintain an environment of trust, why don't they have documents pertaining to acts upon property online like other counties do? Why also are the recorder's online records so misleading? If property is transferred under a power of attorney, why isn't that stated on the online records?

Same with the auditor's office. If property is not owned jointly and the 1st owner's half is transferred seven months before her death under a quitclaims deed and a power of attorney, why does the auditor's online records try to make it look like the property was owned jointly and transferred over to the other owner after the 1st owner's death?

Not that it really makes any difference because title companies don't rely on those false and misleading online records, anyway.