I haven’t updated since mid October. I had suspected that might happen when my workload expanded more rapidly than I had expected. Now that things are a bit more under control, lets talk about the rest of last month:
Every Area Development District in Kentucky has persons holding the same job title I do; Public Administration Specialist (PAS) (though whether I hold that title is sometimes up for debate as my e-mail signature, job description, and work tasks fall between Community Development Specialist and Public Administration Specialist). Every quarter or so, the PAS meet and discuss issues developing at their ADDs or issues affecting PAS directly. As part of those series of meetings, the PAS also have a retreat.
This year’s retreat was held in Lake Cumberland, a lovely park that looks like everyone forgot about (architecturally) since the 1970s. At one point it was described to me as having a certain The Shining element to it. I think that when it got dark, that became especially true. The rain and cloud cover over the three days we were there didn’t help either.
Putting aside the professional development that occurred at the retreat, I want to quickly relate a story from the trip:
We arrived at Lake Cumberland on Wendesday and had finished up for the day. The PAS chair told us that there was a lovely restaurant up the road. Through a cascade of wrong turns, weather, and the fact that a whole caravan of cars was being used to transport all of us to this place, we got a bit lost and ended up driving for an hour and forty minutes before arriving for dinner. Worse still, the time zone changes near Lake Cumberland and we arrived in Eastern Time standards about 40 minutes before the place closed. Thankfully the restaurant was accommodating and we had a nice dinner (I had a bourbon burger that was great). Upon leaving we immediately found the nearest (only) grocery store (Wal-Mart) and got enough “vittles” for the rest of the trip. I wasn’t about to make that drive again.
The PAS retreat centered on the implementation of KY House Bill 1, which induces new regulations of transparency on Special Government Entities (SPGEs). The part of the new law that affects me the most is the inclusion of SPGEs under their parent jurisdiction’s ethics authority. I currently staff the Northern Kentucky Regional Ethics Authority. The changes will likely mean additional work for us as we now need to collect ethics related materials from jurisdictions (counties and cities) and now SPGEs as sub-units of these jurisdictions.
We also had the opportunity to meet with some of the Judge Executives from Lake Cumberland area. They gave us insight into the various aspects of a Judge Executive’s needs and responsibilities at various stages of experience from newly elected or getting the hang of it all the way to “I’m so popular I’ll likely retire from this.” (Which, by the way, its always great to have a Judge Executive with that sort of political will in their community, it goes a long way to implementing projects and getting people excited).
All in all the trip was a nice reprieve from the urban life I enjoy so much in Cincinnati. The fresh air and dreary weather really reminded me of the fall in Youngstown.
CDBG Certified Administrator Training
The purpose of CDBG Certified Administrator Training (CDBG Training from here on), is to ensure that public service employees and/or elected officials are properly prepared to handle and execute CDBG money and projects. I spoke with a friend of mine at HUD and they indicated that not even they have to take tests on this stuff, but I think its good that the Dept. for Local Government in KY is proactive in this sort of training (large amounts of money are handled through CDBG, and it seems like a great idea to ensure that those handling it have been fully prepared).
The training was pretty intense, it consisted of 3 days of 8:30-5:30 class over two binders full of information and regulations concerning the use of CDBG funds and how to plan and implement CDBG projects. On the fourth day a 100 question test is given, consisting of true/false, short answer, and multiple choice questions with a 3.5 hour window for completion. I was among the first people to finish. Although we’re still waiting for results (that could take up to 90 days) I’m fairly confident I was able to pass the test.
While at CDBG training I met a Community Development Specialist from the Green River Area Development District. From our conversation it sounds as if Green River has some really interesting things going on and some great ideas planned for the future. I was glad to have made the connection as its rare to find people as passionate about their work as this person was.
Elections took place on Tuesday (11/5) this week, and I can’t say I was very happy with the results. With Mayor-elect John Cranley soon taking office, the future of the street car is in question. Say what you will about the streetcar, but I’m pretty certain I don’t want another half completed public transportation project in Cincinnati. Aaron Ren over at the Urbanophile has a great write up on Cincinnati’s Culture of Self-sabotage. Its worth reading if you’re not familiar with Cincinnati’s storied history of shooting itself in the foot.
Next week I’ll be going back to writing about brewing as we ramp up toward the colder weather. I believe we currently have a chili stout in the works and need to begin considering the beers we hope to have for our wedding in June.