Oklahoma City University offering class to prepare students for city government roles

OKLAHOMA CITY – In a year when dozens of teachers decided to leave the classroom and run for a government office, a local university is offering a course to help prepare students for roles within city and state governments.

Officials say that candidates are often elected to serve on city councils and boards without a basic understanding of issues public officials must address on a weekly basis.

Now, Oklahoma City University is launching a program designed to educate citizens interested in running for elected positions in municipal government.

The Leadership & Public Administration Municipalities Certificate Program is a series of weekend classes being offered this fall on the OCU. They will also be live-streamed for people who cannot attend.

“We need a program that will educate and prepare people for the roles and responsibilities of elected office before they are elected,” Steve Agee, dean of OCU’s Meinders School of Business, said. “That would allow them to avoid having to learn about the job at the same time they’re making important decisions that impact municipal government.”

The series will cover topics including:

  • Management and governance of municipalities
  • Campaign finance, disclosure/reporting laws, open records and open meeting laws, ethics
  • Labor relations and communications in municipal government
  • Financing municipal government
  • Land use
  • TIFs, economic incentives and economic development
  • Negotiation and dispute resolution.

“The program’s ultimate goal is to provide voters with candidates who fully understand the jobs they’re running for,” said program co-founder Frank Merrick. “We need city council candidates who are informed, collaborative and prepared to address tough issues.”

The classes will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Saturday from Sept. 8 through Oct. 20. The cost is $250 for the entire program.

For more information, call (405) 208-5540. The deadline to enroll is Aug. 25.