Five City of Pittsburg staff members were recognized Friday, December 1, at the Kansas State Capitol for their completion of the University of Kansas Certified Public Manager® (CPM) program. Police Lieutenant Ben Henderson, Wastewater Treatment Superintendent Chris Farinacci, Police Lieutenant Diana Fries, Memorial Auditorium Technical Director Jason Huffman and Assistant Finance Director Stacie Perry graduated at a special ceremony alongside 80 public service professionals from across the region.
The CPM program is a nationally-accredited education opportunity for managers working in government agencies, non-profits and organizations providing public services. Participants met in the classroom twice a month for sixteen hours, and spent the rest of their time outside the classroom completing coursework, papers and a capstone project.
Pittsburg City Manager Daron Hall says city staff benefit from the additional professional development and exposure to their peers from around the state.
“The CPM course is a highly-respected program,” says Hall. “It provides our employees the opportunity to learn and share their experiences with other public sector professionals. In return, our team members receive education and training to make them more productive for our community.”
Pittsburg Police Lieutenant Ben Henderson says the course strengthened his leadership and management skills.
“It was a great experience which will have lasting benefits for me and the City of Pittsburg,” says Henderson. “The personal training I received will help me to be a better leader.”
Pittsburg Wastewater Treatment Superintendent Chris Farinacci says he enjoyed the chance to network with other public-sector professionals.
“I learned a lot from the classes but the networking was even more important,” says Farinacci. Interacting with other area professionals gave us the ability to learn from each other’s personal experiences.”
Each participant completed a capstone project focused on cost savings, revenue generation, process improvement or innovation in their workplace. City staff used their projects to find real-world solutions and potential cost-saving opportunities for the city.
“I focused my capstone project on using biogas produced at the wastewater treatment plant and converting it into energy,” says Farinacci.
Farinacci’s innovative proposal would take the municipal waste from Pittsburg’s wastewater treatment facility and turn it into an alternative renewable energy source. His idea was so well-received that he was asked to present the project at the 2018 CPM conference.
Memorial Auditorium Technical Director Jason Huffman says he appreciates the opportunity to participate in the course.
“This program was a good way to refresh my management skills and it made sure I was on the right path,” said Huffman. “I’m really grateful to the city for allowing me to take the class.”
The Kansas Certified Public Manager program was established in 1993. Since that time, close to 1,600 public managers from all across the state have completed certification.