Veteran PR professionals to offer ‘Communications 101 for Public Officials’ in series at UM-Dearborn

May 1, 2006

DEARBORN / May 1, 2006---Local elected officials can learn how to communicate more effectively with their constituents in a three-part seminar to be offered by the Institute for Local Government at the University of Michigan-Dearborn during May.

The series will be led by Bob Berg and Georgella Muirhead, principals in the Detroit public-relations firm Berg Muirhead & Associates. Both Berg and Muirhead worked in the administration of Detroit Mayor Coleman Young and have served in advisory positions for Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Berg also was communications director for Gov. William G. Milliken while Muirhead directed community relations efforts in Ann Arbor, East Lansing and Southfield before working for the City of Detroit.

The three sessions of the program, titled “Communication 101 for Public Officials,” will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, May 10, May 17 and May 24, in UM-Dearborn’s Fairlane Center North building, at 19000 Hubbard Drive in Dearborn. The fee for each session is $80, and participants can attend one, two or three sessions; registration is required.

“One of the most important parts of serving successfully in public office is maintaining open communications with your constituents,” Muirhead said. “We’re excited at this opportunity to work with local officials from throughout the region to develop their communications skills.”

The course “is part of a broader program conducted by the Institute for Local Government to help local officials better serve their constituents,” according to Edward Bagale, vice chancellor for government relations at UM-Dearborn.

“When we learned Georgella and Bob were available we asked them to share their experiences and what they have learned about communications with local officials from southeastern Michigan and we’re grateful they agreed to do it.”

The first session will focus on examining the most effective ways public officials can communicate with constituents, including cable television, Web sites, print materials and public meetings.

The second session will cover media relations strategies and practices. The third session will look at communications plans and ballot issues, and offer participants the opportunity to discuss specific challenges they are facing in their current positions.

The Institute for Local Government was founded by UM-Dearborn’s School of Education in 2004 to offer a variety of programs to help develop stronger civic leadership in the region. To register for the “Communications 101” program, or for more information, contact Susan Rowe at the Institute for Local Government at (313) 593-5140 or see www.umd.umich.edu/iflg.

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CONTACT: Terry Gallagher
PHONE: (313) 593-5518
The Office of University Relations
Room 1040, Administration Building
University of Michigan-Dearborn