Citizens graduate from second annual Alabaster Government Academy

Published 5:42 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Alabaster City Council took time to honor and recognize the residents who completed the city’s second annual Alabaster Government Academy during a regularly scheduled council meeting on March 11.

Over the past several months, members of the Alabaster Government Academy had the opportunity to learn about what it takes to keep the city running.

“This was a fantastic program,” said Jessica Mitchell, who participated in this year’s academy. “Highly recommend to all residents, especially if you vote. Come see how the city works and how your taxes are used for the residents.”

The second edition of the Alabaster Government Academy began on Sept. 14, 2023 and featured two classes each month until its conclusion in February.

“It’s really been awesome,” said Neal Wagner, Alabaster’s public relations manager. “We’ve had a lot of people participate this year.”

This year’s edition of the academy saw roughly 25-30 citizens participate in the program.

“We really had a great turnout and great interest during the application process last summer and for the most part, everyone who started the academy back in September of last year is finishing it tonight.”

During a meeting on March 11, Alabaster Mayor Scott Brakefield took time to honor and recognize those who completed the program with certificates.

“(We’re) super excited to recognize these people who have taken a few hours of their time to invest their time in our community and into our city and learn a little bit more about how we operate,” Brakefield said.

The very first edition of the academy started in 2022, and initially came about thanks to the efforts of Wagner as well as City Administrator Brian Binzer.

“You really get an inside scoop on how things operate,” Binzer said. “You get hands-on experience, like at the fire department (where you can) get up in a ladder track, you really get a flavor of how people do their jobs (in) the city.”

The class allows participants the chance to tour various city facilities, speak with employees and department heads and learn how Alabaster provides services to its residents and businesses.

“It is also a good point, when people finish the class, that we’ll have a pool of folks that we can put on our boards and authorities and maybe people in the future will want to seek higher office too,” Binzer said.

Wagner expressed his gratitude for all of the citizens who participated in the second edition of the program.

“I’m really thankful for everyone who took part in the program and appreciate their dedication to wanting to learn more about the city,” Wagner said.

Council President Sophie Martin thanked the citizens who participated in the program for their commitment and sacrifice and shared that she wished she had had the same opportunity.

The following individuals graduated from the 2023-2024 Alabaster Government Academy:

  • Ron Turney
  • Taylor Christensen
  • Mike Festino
  • Konnie Festino
  • Kimberly Rogers
  • Maria Elena Frias
  • Dan Jarnigan
  • Kelly Preveaux
  • Tim Mitchell
  • Jessica Mitchell
  • Chris Forbes
  • Angela Kemp
  • Peter Bevel
  • John Goldman
  • Dorothy Goldman
  • Shellie Suber
  • Yolanda Marshall
  • Meredith Currie
  • Jeremy Currie
  • Victor Thompson
  • Eva Thompson
  • Marion Lynn Stewart
  • Billy Stewart
  • Susan Alexander
  • Heidi Ramey
  • Belinda Oden

A special recognition was made during the meeting for Jerry Young who participated in this year’s class but died in January.

“Jerry was a great friend to not only our community but our school system,” Brakefield said. “(He’s) going to be deeply missed especially as we move through towards fall sports.”

After the city council meeting concluded, Councilmember Jamie Cole shared that the city plans to start a video series that features councilmembers and department heads and will serve as an online introduction to the some of the same topics the Alabaster Government Academy teaches, including how resolutions are drafted and passed.