Posted: Aug 23, 2016

Dorset Council Officer Selected for International Professional Exchange Program

Community Projects Coordinator, Anneka Ferguson, has been selected from nationwide applicants to receive this valuable local government scholarship.

Applications for Local Government Professionals Australia's first annual International Professional Exchange Program closed recently. Consisting of a two-week placement in a local government office in the United States (US) and also hosting a US local government professional here for two weeks, the exchange is a unique opportunity for local government's emerging leaders to take that next step, both in their careers and personally.

The International Committee selected Anneka Ferguson, Community Projects Coordinator, Dorset Council, TAS as the successful applicant to participate in the program. Anneka will be travelling to the US in September to attend the 2016 National Congress in Kansas City, before spending time with her US counterpart learning all about US local government practices and methods - providing a wonderful opportunity to share learnings and connect with local government professionals on the other side of the world!

The successful applicant from the US, who will be coming to Australia, and also hosting Anneka in Coconino County (Arizona), is Marie Peoples. Marie has a PhD in Public Health, and is currently the Chief Health Officer for Coconino County Public Health Services District, which aims to prevent epidemics and the spread of disease, protect against environmental hazards, promote healthy behaviours and to assure accessibility of health services. Coconino County has several characteristics that intersect with many Australian local government entities, in terms of size, tourist-drawing natural wonders, and as home to multiple Indigenous communities. Coconino is the second largest (in area) county in the US, features the Grand Canyon National Park, and has a number of Native American Reservations. Administratively, Coconino County provides multiple services including law enforcement and probation supervision, courts, community services, career services, parks and recreation, emergency management, and school superintendents. To add a little more perspective, the overall Coconino County budget for FY17 is $179,694,693.

Marie will be in Australia in May 2017 and attending the 2017 National Congress in Hobart. This is a wonderful opportunity for local government officers throughout Tasmania (and Australia!) to meet Marie and understand how things may be done differently in the US, and whether there may be opportunities to incorporate changes in our own practices to achieve better outcomes for our local communities.

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