Public seminars on function of local government to begin Thursday

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COLUMBIA - A series of seminars on the many functions of local government in Columbia kicks off Thursday afternoon.

The seminars, which are booked for the month, will take place each Thursday afternoon in October and are being led by the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy.

Thursday's seminar will feature Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid and City Manager Mike Matthes. But, throughout October, the following speakers will present:

  • October 8: Police Chief Ken Burton, Citizens Police Review Board Member Kate Busch
  • October 15: Fire Chief Randy White, a representative from Columbia/Boone County Office of Emergancy Management
  • October 22: Parks and Recreation Director Mike Griggs, a representative from the Columbia/Boone County Department of of Public Health and Human Services
  • October 29: Community Development Director Tim Teddy, Regional Economic Development Inc. Director Stacey Button

MU Graduate Instructor Dana Angello is at the helm of each session. 

"I am very passionate about educating people about government and getting them involved, so we can hold government accountable," Angello said.

Angello said there are few programs available to educate and inform the public on the purpose of local government. 

"It's so difficult to find information about local government; there are very few classes on it," Angello said. "Hopefully that will spur them to become more engaged citizens."

Angello thinks local government influences the lives of Columbia residents more so than any other level of government. She said she wants people to leave the sessions feeling more equipped to work with and understand how local government works. 

"They'll have more of a context on how government is supposed to run, or understand where they can go if they have a complaint, or how to participate someway in the democratic process," Angello said. 

Angello said she hopes those who attend the seminars have an epiphany on how local government plays a role in their daily lives. 

"Hopefully, they have an 'ah-ha' moment of how much it affects their life," Angello said. "Maybe realizing that there were some things they were confused about, that they no longer are."

Angello said each seminar is going to start off with attendees getting to know one another, followed by presentations from the speakers, and ending with question and answer sessions.

Angello said each session is capped at 20 people due to budgetary concerns, and all seminars are currently full.

"I hope in the future, we'll have a larger budget or maybe we can find ways to cut the cost a little bit," Angello said.