FARMINGTON — The first graduates of Mayor Tommy Roberts' INSIGHT Citizen's Academy have a better idea of how their local government does its job providing services and preparing for the city's future.
The first class — with 15 graduates — were welcomed by the City Council at its Tuesday meeting.
“We gave citizens an opportunity for a more in-depth study of city government,” Roberts said. “I hope that they appreciate (city government) much more now.”
Roberts developed the idea while campaigning for mayor in 2010 in response to citizens' growing cynicism toward government. He modeled the program after the Citizens Police Academy and the Citizens Fire Academy.
Warren Rogers, of Farmington, was one of the graduates present Tuesday evening.
“It's just something that interested me,” he said. “I was surprised at what goes on with managing the energy flow of the city. It's mind-boggling.”
Learning about what the city's department directors do and what each department does was also impressive, Rogers said.
“I just give them high marks,” he said.
After a successful inaugural run, Roberts and city staff are planning for another session in the spring.
“I want to thank the members of the first class for stepping up and participating,” Roberts said.
Feedback for the free, seven week program is positive, he said.
Participants thought they had a much better understanding of what Farmington does and how municipal government works, said Elizabeth Isenberg, the city's government relations and special projects director.
Isenberg was in charge of the academy's day-to-day operations. She developed the academy's content, coordinated with the city's department heads and with class members.
“We learned a lot through this first class,” Roberts said. “I had my vision and Elizabeth really structured the program. She carried most of the burden. I was really pleased with her efforts.”
Isenberg said the graduates will be “great ambassadors in the community.”
“I thought (the academy) was very valuable,” she said. “They have a three inch binder full of information. It was a learning experience for me as well.”