Small Town News


Mayors graduate civic academy

Cottonwood Journal Extra of Cottonwood, Arizona

- Advertisement -

Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens and Jerome Mayor Nikki Check were among a group of individuals from across Arizona to graduate from the Fall 2012 class at the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy in Phoenix.

The class, held each fall and spring, is a collaboration between the Flinn Foundation in Phoenix and the Thomas R. Brown Foundation in Tucson.

The goal of the academy is essentially to train people from around Arizona about the long-term issues facing the state as a whole and to prepare people to take state leadership positions, whether those include a statewide office or a seat on a commission or board.

Nancy Welch is director of the nonpartisan Arizona Center for Civic Leadership, the agency that administers the academy.

"Today we have [several] individuals who have participated in the Academy, learning the essential details of critical issues that confront Arizona - how those issues are intertwined and what real-world challenges stand in the way of addressing them," Welch said, adding they hope to have even more participants prepared to tackle state-level issues in the future.

The academy covers several issues over the course of the program, including an education on agencies like the Arizona Department of Economic Security and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state's Medicaid agency.

The program draws on the public and private sector with the insights of public-policy experts, scholars, current and former agency directors, elected officials and others.

"I think the main focus is civil discussion and civil action," Joens said. "We can all look around and see examples of leaders at the state, and sometimes local level, that do not practice civility in their interactions with each other and the public."

Joens said she appreciated the breadth of issues discussed at the academy.

"We learned a lot about analysis of issues; how to analyze data for a positive outcome," Joens said. "We learned a lot of factual information about higher education, K-12, civic leadership qualities, the state budget, Arizona's economy, international issues that affect Arizona, building quality communities, being a public servant and what that means, and so on."

Joens said that she felt the academy was a wonderful opportunity for other people in the Verde Valley to investigate as well as others across the state.

"Attending the academy was a wonderful and enlightening experience, and I plan to give back in the future by seeking to serve a board or commission at the state level," Joens said.

Past graduates of the program include Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor Chip Davis and Clarkdale Mayor

Doug Von Gausig.

"The academy convinced me that it is urgent to gather people together to address Arizona's future," Von Gausig said following his graduation from the program. "It was clear during our classes that the fellows of this academy are exactly the sort who are interested in solving our challenges.

"Only when more like-minded people begin to serve will we be capable not only of solving our current problems, but advancing with prosperity and dignity into the coming years."

Mark Lineberger can be reached at 567-3341 or email


"We learned a lot about analysis of issues; how to analyze data for a positive outcome."

Diane Joens

Mayor of Cottonwood

Copyright 2013 Cottonwood Journal Extra, Cottonwood, Arizona. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: January 2, 2013

More from Cottonwood Journal Extra