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North Adams' Newly Elected Councilors Attend MMA Workshops
Submitted Content,
02:30PM / Thursday, December 07, 2017
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This content was provided by Jason LaForest, a North Adams councilor-elect who attended the MMA workshops. 
ASHLAND, Mass. — Several councilors-elect from North Adams joined other newly elected councilors and aldermen from across the state at a training conference held by the Massachusetts Municipal Councillors Association, a member group of Massachusetts Municipal Association, on Dec. 2 at Framingham State University's Warren Conference Center in Ashland.
Councilors-elect Rebecca A. Cohen, Marie T. Harpin and Jason M. LaForest attended the training conference. They will be sworn in on the first of January at City Hall in North Adams.
Current City Councilor Lisa Blackmer, who serves as immediate past president of the MMA and MMCA second vice president, moderated the forum on open meeting and public record laws.
The conference included four workshop sessions: "You've Been Elected – Now What? Navigating Your Role as a Councillor"; "Introduction to Open Meeting and Public Records Laws"; "City Finance and Budgeting 101"; and "Navigating Constituent Services."
"The MMA training gave me a comprehensive overview of the laws, rules and policies that will help me to have confidence and understanding as a new city councillor," said Cohen.
Attendees also learned about best practices, management tools, and actions essential to running municipal government efficiently and effectively in challenging times. Workshop speakers offered training and advice on a full range of topics that the new local legislators will use to shape the future of Massachusetts communities.
"It is empowering to collaborate with new and experienced leaders from across the Commonwealth.  Small communities like the city of North Adams can only be made stronger by new councillors with strong working relationships with other officials from across the state," said LaForest.
"Now more than ever, it is essential for municipal leaders to come together to share ideas, strategies and best practices for managing and leading in difficult times. By participating in this important event, newly elected councillors and aldermen have shown their commitment to their community and effective public service. We applaud their dedication and hope the conference will help them as they provide leadership in communities across Massachusetts," said Geoffrey C. Beckwith, MMA executive director.
Noting the distance elected officials from North Adams must travel to collaborate with other elected officials in Boston, Harpin added that "I was happy to trek the 2 1/2-hour drive from the Berkshires to participate, learn and connect with leaders from throughout the state.  It was a well-rounded day of highly professional speakers, resources and networking."
The MMA is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan association of cities and towns that provides its member communities with a broad range of services, including lobbying and advocacy, training and education, publications, policy research, insurance programs and management assistance.
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