Mock meeting held by government class.
by Jonathan Copsey
Milton High School students held a "mock council" meeting Wednesday, March 16, where AP Government students took over both the mayor and council positions as well as the city staffers. Mayor Connor Bourff, center, led the meeting. Jonathan Copsey.
March 21, 2011
MILTON, Ga. - The Milton council meeting began as per usual March 16 at 10 a.m. Mayor Connor Bourff called it to order and led the council and citizens in the Pledge of Allegiance. From there, City Manager Parker Smith and his fellow city staffers ran through the quick and easy meeting.
For those keeping up, this was not a typical council meeting. In actual fact, it was a "mock council" meeting, with students from Milton High School's AP Government class filling the roles of both city council and staff.
"They did a great job. It looks like they could take our jobs," said Mayor Joe Lockwood. "What a great experience."
Students filled the mayor and six council positions, as well as numerous city staff roles and citizen participants. They worked off an actual city agenda and used all the information provided to council and staff, including presenting a proclamation, delivering the results of Milton's Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment Survey and determining the city's ad valorem tax rate (4.731).
Staff presented their reports on the items and fielded questions from the council.
"It's just not something they read their book on the way here this morning, there was such a great level of detail," said Chris Lagerbloom, the city manager. "This was a success story for the first one, and I hope we do it again."
While this was Milton's first mock council, teacher Jackie Angel said the idea for such a program has been around for a long time at Milton High School – the old Milton High School on Milton Avenue.
"When Milton was in the old building, we worked with the city of Alpharetta," said Angel.
Robbie Rockovitz, the assistant city manager at that time, worked together on ways to get "students involved with the closest level of government to them," she said.
Bourff, the acting mayor, said he enjoyed the chance to be mayor.
"We made it look good and had a good time doing it," he said. He enjoyed it so much, he intends to enter politics someday, or practice law. "Everyone glazes over local government as not as significant as state or national government, but there's a lot of more relevant stuff that comes out of local government."
Angel said it was a valuable experience for the students.
"I don't want the students to see government as far away from them," said Angel. "They need to see that government officials are just like them, that they could someday be an elected official or a department director. Government people are no different from us."