The Veterans Local Government Management Fellowship Program is an excellent program that provides transitioning Soldiers a better opportunity for a smooth transition from military service. I am transitioning after 30 years of military service and I am grateful that the City of Fountain has embraced the VLGMF program.
During my Fellowship, I have had the opportunity to work with an awesome team in the City of Fountain. The Fountain team was readily available to assist and allow select transitioning Soldiers who met the requirements an opportunity to experience first-hand how a local government functions. The interview process and being selected to take part in this great program was absolutely one of the best experiences that I have encountered during my transition. I was welcomed in by the City Manager of Fountain and was introduced to all the employees of the organization. The atmosphere and the employees in the workplace (City Hall) were inviting and everyone was eager to assist in any way.
Working with the different agencies and departments was very educational in respect to how a local government functions as a whole. Understanding their rules and procedures was an easy adjustment because of the similarities to the Army and the structure in the workplace.
My first experience was with a synchronized team of professionals in the Engineering department. The department was up to the challenge and willing to invest in taking on another project in support of the Veterans Local Government Fellowship Program. During my orientation, the Deputy City Manager and the City Engineer briefed the different projects that were in motion for the City of Fountain. I had the opportunity to participate in many of the improvement projects which involved coordinating with different agencies and was coached by the department heads on best practices.
Next, I worked with the streets department Superintendent and Foreman and was enlightened by all of the different elements incorporated within the streets section. Observing one of the improvement projects (Community Development Block Grant) from start to finish provided a great example of the professionalism and pride within the organization. This was a phased improvement project that I had direct involvement with throughout the entire process. I was coached by one of the engineer technicians on the standards of compaction tests before pouring concrete for curbs, gutters and sidewalks. The engineer technician demonstrated the step by step process and then I was shadowed as I conducted a compaction test for one of the curb and gutter replacements. Having the opportunity to participate gave me a greater appreciation for their hard work and motivated efforts.
The electric department’s Superintendent briefed their day to day duties and responsibilities, and I had the opportunity to accompany one of the crews on a couple of work sites where they had to change out electrical poles. The crew identified and explained the different criteria for replacing power line poles and their attention to detail in doing so.
Overall, I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from many different departments about local government functions within the City of Fountain. It was very beneficial to participate in this phenomenal program and be coached by a different groups of professionals. I was treated as a permanent member of the Fountain team and I am grateful for the experience. I highly encourage all transitioning Soldiers to consider this awesome program.
Thanks to ICMA, the Veterans Local Government Management Fellowship and the City of Fountain for creating better opportunities for transitioning Soldiers.
Everett Morrow, SGM (Retired)