Abe Laydon, one of Douglas County’s three elected leaders, was accepted to a three-week public policy and leadership program at Harvard University, the county announced.
“As elected officials, we work for you,” Laydon said in a news release. “As we continue to confront challenging times together, it’s important for your leaders to keep developing our skill set and improving. I’m grateful for this exceptional opportunity to learn from the world’s top local government and leadership experts.”
Laydon will participate in the program — formally called the Harvard Kennedy School’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program — from June 5 through June 23, according to the county.
A “county commissioner colleague of Commissioner Laydon’s from Arapahoe recommended he attend, adding that it was one of the best programs she had ever attended,” the county said in a statement.
Douglas County over the past two decades sent three senior staff members to the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program, but this will be the first time a Douglas County commissioner has attended the program, according to the county.
“Our Douglas County culture values continuing education for its elected officials and staff, believing that continuing education among us is an investment in those we serve,” the county’s statement continued.
Douglas County will pay the upfront cost of $17,400 for Laydon to attend, the statement says. Laydon is applying for grants and scholarships to offset the cost of participation and reimburse the county. For what is not covered by grants or scholarships, he will pay the remaining cost personally, the statement says.
The county also operates with an eye toward bolstering leadership skills for staff on its own.
The county established its own Leadership Academy in 2015, and “continuing education is one component of the overall annual evaluation of department-level leadership,” the county’s statement says.
The county’s Leadership Academy — an internal program for Douglas County staff — is a one-year program for “emerging leaders” among county staff, according to the county. Participants in that academy are those nominated by department directors or elected officials.