Talent City Manager Jay Henry accepted into Harvard higher education program

TALENT — City Manager Jay Henry has been accepted into a three-week program for senior executives in state and local government at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government during June. Henry will pay the costs himself.

Coursework focuses on the demands made in recent decades by a skeptical public on executives in state and local governments, and how to address those demands, according to the school's website. Trust in government has plummeted as revenues have dropped and need for services has increased, the site states.

Henry has faced criticism from citizens over conduct of elections and handling of labor-management issues. Some City Council members have also questioned him in those areas.

"It will cover management issues and how to interact more effectively with the community and the (city) council," said Henry. "This course has been a goal of mine for the last 10 years."

Cost of the course is $11,200, which includes tuition, housing, curricular materials and most meals. It runs from June 6 through June 24.

"I didn't feel right about asking the city to pay for it, so I'm paying my way there and paying my tuition," said Henry. "I expect to return from this course with the best innovations and concepts in local government management to better assist my community in these difficult times."

The city manager added he is especially interested in learning how to more effectively work with elected officials and to focus on the best practices for the creation of public value.

Henry will be paid his salary while he attends the course, said Mayor Bill Cecil. The City Council was informed of the absence at its March 16 meeting. Police Chief Mike Moran will serve as acting city manager, Henry said.

"I think it's a wonderful opportunity for him. I would hope that it would help the city," said Cecil. "They don't select everybody to go to that."

Faculty and participants work together on case studies and learn from each other, according to the course description. One focus will be on public discourse over difficult issues and how to create and maintain conversations that lead to change.

Through exercises in the Harvard Decision Science Laboratory, class members will gain understanding of their own biases and attitudes and personal insights that can help decision-making, the website states.

Henry became city manger in August 2008. Before that he was city manger in Polson, Mont. He worked for Klamath County from 1999 to 2007, where he was director of the Community Development Department his last four years. He holds a master's of business management degree from Marylhurst University.

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