Mayors Study at K-School

Harvard students aren't the only ones studying government at the University.

On Thursday, newly elected mayors from around the country began a four day training session on city leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The meeting brought future leaders of Des Moines, lowa; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Tacoma, Wash.; and 16 other cities together with veteran mayors and Harvard professors for basic training.

"We've heard from the mayor of New Orleans, Boston and Philadelphia. Their experience should help us avoid some of the pitfalls of city government," said Brian Ebersole, mayor-elect of Tacoma, Wash., who was attending the seminar.

Barbara A. Larson, the newly-elected mayor of Kalamazoo, Mich., said she appreciated the opportunity to meet other new mayors.


"A lot of my thoughts, the things I've been thinking about for years, have been reinforced by other participants," she said.

Called the Seminar on Transition and leadership for Newly-Elected Mayors, the program is "designed to help the new mayor manage the transition from candidate to public official," according to a Kennedy School press release.

The newly elected mayors will study local governmental issues such as intergovernmental affairs, crime and public safety, housing and economic competitiveness and crisis manage- ment, the press release said.

"Each session has a Harvard faculty member from the Kennedy School [teaching it]. We also have participation from current and past mayors," said Steven R. Singer, director of communications and public affairs at the Kennedy School.

The event was organized by the Institute of Politics in conjunction with the U.S. Conference of Mayors. It has been held here every two years since 1975, said the press release.

Undergraduates working on the event said they appreciated the chance to meet with local politicians.

"We run a lot of conferences on federal government. This is a good chance for students to get a look at local government," said Jed A. Weiss '97, chair of the IOP's conference committee and student coordinator of the event.

Dan R. Wenzke '98, a student assistant for the event, agreed.

"I just think it's an incredible opportunity with people who are in hands-on government. I think it's important in developing a good perspective," Wenzke said.

"The mayors are very excited about getting into public service. This excitement rubs off on the students," Weiss said