The Delta State University Local Government Leadership Institute is bettering local government officials through workshops and training.
Dr. Temika Simmons, program director for the Center of Community and Economic Development, appeared before the Cleveland Board of Aldermen to invite them to the DSU Winning the Race Conference on March 26-27 as well as to their new leadership program.
"We have a brand new program at Delta State, primarily put into place because you as elected officials and DSU President (Bill) LaForge has said 'What can Delta State do to help us do our jobs better.'"
Simmons explained the program provides basic governance training for elected officials across the Mississippi Delta, all the way up to DeSoto County.
"We’re focusing on the six counties around the university. We offer our trainings every month, every third Thursday. CMO elective credits offered for sessions and Mayor (Billy) Nowell joined in the first session with a peer talk about the best practices," she said.
"We discuss basic governance, forms and functions, and on the 15th we’ll cover how cities and towns make money and talk about how you can find money in spaces you didn’t think you could find money before," she said.
Simmons also encouraged feedback.
"We are here to serve you. If you see something you'd like to attend we’d love for you to join us. If there's a topic you think would be really helpful in terms of training please let us know we are here to make this program fit your needs," she said.
Alderman Robert Sanders said, "Let me commend you and your staff." He held up a binder he received at the previous training. "This is the notebook you get with your name on it. This is great for all of us," he said.
Simmons explained a perk to the training.
"We do have Delta Dollars which is our incentive program. For every elective official from your group or city, you get a $25 credit towards registration at MML or for an Office Depot gift card. You've had Mayor Nowell and Mr. Sanders attend so you already have $50. The more you come the more dollars will be available," she said.
According to their website, the purpose of the Local Government Leadership Institute is to assist and support local officials of the Mississippi Delta in addressing governance challenges by providing activities, basic training, and helpful tools to run their municipalities effectively and efficiently.
Delta counties served include Bolivar, Coahoma, Sunflower, Washington, Issaquena, Sharkey, Quitman, Tallahatchie, Leflore, Humphries, Yazoo, Warren, Desoto, Tate, Tunica, Panola, Carroll, and Holmes.