By Shaun Szkolnik for the Tribune
PINSON – As with any complex system a mastery of the workings of city government requires a mixture of experience and education. Experience, in this arena, comes with time on the job. Education comes from the Certified Municipal Official Program (CMO).
The CMO was established by the Alabama League of Municipalities back in 1994 and serves to provide formal training in municipal government to all elected municipal officials.
To be awarded the designation of Certified Municipal Official (CMO) the participant must pass 40 hours’ worth of coursework. The requirement for an Advanced CMO is eighty hours of coursework. To achieve the level of CMO Emeritus requires, at the very least, 120 hours of training.
The city of Pinson is fortunate to have two council members that have just achieved major milestones in this program. John Churchwell, Councilor from Place Four, has earned the level of CMO Emeritus and Robbie Robertson, Mayor Pro Tempore and Councilor from Place Three, has achieved the rank of Advanced CMO.
Roberts said, “They have a great team there at the League of Municipalities. It is a group of lawyers that come in and teach us these various things and that way we factor that into our equations are we are putting this together. It speeds the meetings up dramatically because we know some of the stuff that we should be steering towards and we don’t have to ask the city attorney as many questions.
“I think it’s really valuable in serving here. We have less disagreements because people know what the general direction was that the legislature had in mind to begin with.”
Churchwell said of his experiences in reaching the highest level of proficiency, “It does take a while to get through it. I’d say, probably about 14 years. Although it is getting better now that you don’t necessarily have to go to meetings. Now you can take courses over the Internet and earn credits that way. You don’t have to go to Montgomery or someplace else.”