Leadership Fayette transforms for 2014 graduates

The Leadership Fayette Class of 2014 poses for a graduation photo by the Chamber of Commerce.

The Fayette Chamber of Commerce honored the Leadership Fayette Class of 2014 at a luncheon and graduation ceremony Aug. 21. The class comprised Fayette County business and community leaders who participated in the eight-month leadership program designed to increase their knowledge and awareness of how our community works and build relationships with local leaders. The program highlighted the interdependencies between sectors of the local economy and the interrelationships of local issues, challenges and opportunities.

Each full day session took place in different venues around the county correlating with the session themes. Covering topics such as education, healthcare, justice and law enforcement, civil discourse, economic development and cultural competencies took participants to Fayette County High School, Fayetteville’s Historic Courthouse, Fayette Senior Services, NCR, Piedmont Fayette Hospital, the Fayette Justice Center, the Fayette County Jail and the Fayette Chamber. Session information was presented in a variety of formats and the class heard from business and civic leaders from across the county and region, such as Doug Hooker, Director, Atlanta Regional Commission; Chris Clark, President and CEO, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Joseph Barrow, Superintendent, Fayette County Schools; Maritza Soto Keen, Public Services Associate, J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development; Michael Burnett, CEO, Piedmont Fayette Hospital; The Honorable Jason B. Thompson; Cal Beverly, Publisher, The Citizen Newspapers; and Fayette County Sheriff Barry Babb.

“Lifelong learning is the hallmark of successful communities for the 21st century,” said Dr. Tim Hynes, President of Clayton State University and Leadership Fayette Program co-chair. “Leadership Fayette took advantage of the multiple places in our community in which current leaders—in education, law enforcement and justice administration, non-profit services, economic development, for example—help frame questions future Fayette leaders must ask and answer. Within those questions and answers will come a Fayette County whose best days are yet to come.”

In addition to attending program sessions, class participants were required to complete a class project considered to be the capstone to the Leadership Fayette experience. The 2014 class project evaluated the civic health—the overall engagement of citizens in a community—of Fayette County. The class segmented into groups focusing on four key areas of Fayette’s civic health: social connectedness, community involvement, political action and confidence in institutions. It was quickly discovered that very little civic health data was available on the county level and as a result the class developed and administered a local public survey, said Fayette Chamber of Commerce Communications Manager Paige Muh.

Muh said survey results helped the class provide a foundation for understanding strengths and weaknesses related to Fayette County’s civic health. In a final class presentation, each group presented a recommendation to enhance civic health in their focus area. Specific recommendations included proposed programs to encourage resident engagement with one another, to leverage ways to connect citizens and non-profit agencies, to encourage youth engagement through service learning opportunities, and to inform and encourage citizens to have positive civil discourse and vote.

Kimberly Schnoes, Financial Planner with Peachtree Planning Corporation and Leadership Fayette co-chair noted that the future strength and competitiveness of Fayette County relies upon the civic health of the community and engagement of its citizens.

“Attention to civic health provides opportunities for collaboration between citizens, businesses, schools, safety net organizations and government officials,” Schnoes said. “Collaborative success results in less duplication of community programming, assists in recruiting businesses, improves educational opportunities, leads to safer communities and enhances the health and well-being of citizens.”

Though their program has ended, the 2014 class members intend to meet in the future to determine if one or more of their recommendations can be put in place to benefit the Fayette community, perhaps in concert with the Fayette Visioning Initiative.

During the ceremony held at This Is It Event Center, Hynes, Schnoes and Virginia Gibbs of the Fayette Chamber awarded each graduate with a commemorative gift recognizing their achievement. Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America was also recognized for their sponsorship of this prestigious program.

The Leadership Fayette program has been developing county leaders for more than 30 years. In 2013, the program underwent a transformation. With oversight by Schnoes, Hynes and Gibbs, the program broadened in scope and focus, offering more in depth leadership development and interactive activities. The 2014 class was the first class to graduate from this expanded program.

moelarrycurly
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Is that BOC Barlow

in the back of that photo? Did he spend $795. of our tax dollars to attend this class? Really?

NUK_1
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you sure that is Barlow?

There is a guy in the back row with some resemblance, but not the glazed-over and foggy look.

moelarrycurly
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No, I'm not sure

That's why I asked. Might not be. If not, hey, we just saved $795! Sure seems to be a similarity.

Husband and Fat...
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Striking resemblance

If he crocks and we need a body double, we got our man.

Husband and Fat...
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He takes all classes

I would bet his expenses double some of the others.

What benefit does his taking all these classes bring FC?

moelarrycurly
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You know

if you are on the BOC, how much leadership training is needed? You are at the top of the government heap already for the county, am I right? On second thought, don't answer that.

These classes should be limited to business owners...period, in my opinion.

Husband and Fat...
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Training

There are mandatory BOC training classes and continuing ed classes they have to take. From what many have observed, Barlow is taking every class that fits in his retired/unemployed schedule permits. With each class comes reimbersible expenses, not including any costs for the class.

At some point someone has to ask how each class is benefiting the county by Barlow taking it. Some who work at the county seem to think that he is taking these to pad his resume for the next election.

Whoever runs against him next should be able to pull an open records report to see how much his expenses are costing the county compared to the other commissioners who seem to be more careful with the county's funds.

I would bet that he gets more free meals or county reimbursed meals than all of the rest. Can you say DeKalb?

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