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Spotlight on Town Fair Trainings

Town Fair 2022 is packed with a plethora of top-notch training sessions, many of which our members specifically requested. Organized into four main categories – governance, operations, infrastructure, and partnerships – this year’s presentations are particularly timely as they target challenges local officials face each day and offer solutions for towns of all sizes. The time between scheduled sessions to network with your counterparts from around the state – to learn from them and adapt their ideas to fit your own town – continues to be an invaluable part of Town Fair.

Read on for a summary of some of the classes and activities that are sure to enlighten and entertain each attendee. We will continue to add to the list after this Journal is sent.

Breakfast on Thursday morning includes the opportunity to participate in any of several topical roundtable discussions. Then the first block of trainings lets you learn from a comedian/selectperson how using humor can help you govern more effectively; be introduced to resources to help advance your local initiatives when you simply can’t do it all yourself; learn how using State of Vermont contracts can save your municipality time and money; and discover solutions to common municipal finance challenges and how an accounts payable processing service can help you go paperless. And that’s all before lunch.

Thursday afternoon will feature the combined annual meetings of VLCT and the PACIF and VERB insurance trusts.

If you’re staying overnight, you’ll want to save time later in the day to explore the Killington resort area and its many recreational opportunities, and for sure to attend the VLCT Awards Night and Variety Show, “The Lighter Side of Local Government.” Vermont comedians Tim Kavanagh and Jason Lorber join Josie Leavitt along with VLCT’s own genuinely jovial Ted Brady to demonstrate the benefits of not taking ourselves too seriously.

Friday’s early sessions are geared toward equity (How Are Vermont Municipalities Addressing Justice, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging?), housing (Want Greater Housing Affordability? Then Let’s Talk About Infrastructure, Part 1) and data management (Using New Technology to Engage Your Citizens). The housing theme focuses on the local level in the subsequent set of trainings with part 2 of Want Greater Housing Affordability? Simultaneous with this session is Lessons Learned from Losing Millions: Generating Cyber Resiliency in a Time of Geopolitical Tensions, which will summarize how to analyze organizational readiness and prepare for next-generation attacks. Deciding between those two essential trainings will be hard enough, however the concurrent annual meeting of Women Leading Government makes the choice even more difficult.

Town Fair concludes with two more timely presentations: “Where’s the Money?,” a panel discussion to help local officials track and spend their town’s ARPA award; and “Where Have All the Employees Gone? Finding and Retaining Municipal Talent in the New Labor Market,” whose title says it all.

Nearly anywhere you look in Town Fair 2022, you’ll find ideas to help you attend to the day-to-day tasks in your municipal office. Don’t miss this once-a-year opportunity!