Citizen’s Academy as community outreach


This fall, the City of Rochelle kicked off our first-ever Citizen’s Academy, a 10-week course aimed at introducing residents to city staff and the functions of each department.

On Aug. 26, we welcomed the inaugural class to city hall to spend an evening with Mayor John Bearrows, myself, City Clerk Sue Messer and Deputy City Clerk RoseMary Hueramo.

The diverse group of participants represents every different neighborhood and many employers throughout Rochelle. Some are newer to the community and some have lived in Rochelle for many years.

The participants asked thoughtful questions and received frank answers from the mayor and staff about many different projects and issues the city is currently engaged in. Mayor Bearrows shared how and why he began to participate in civic organizations, eventually leading into his role as mayor and we taught the basics of our city manager form of government.

The city clerk’s office shared the ins and outs of planning for a council meeting and how records are kept throughout the years. The class even enjoyed looking through the hand-written minutes books dating back to the early 1900s.

As we journey through each department, it is our hope that each resident will come away with an appreciation and understanding of the work our staff does each day. Citizens Academy is just one of many ways we look to engage residents and demonstrate transparency. 

If you missed registration for this fall’s Citizen’s Academy, watch in the newspaper and on our Facebook page for next year’s class! 

Jeffrey A. Fiegenschuh, MPA, ICMA-CM, is the City of Rochelle city manager.

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