Bell Atlantic to Co-Sponsor

Bell Atlantic to Co-Sponsor "Academy of Excellence"

November 24, 1997

Media contacts:

Bell Atlantic

Sharon Shaffer


County Commissioners Assn. of Pa.

Janet Neidig


HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Bell Atlantic-Pennsylvania and the County

Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) will co-sponsor the

"Academy of Excellence," a state-wide initiative designed to help

county government officials manage issues and responsibilities of the

21st century.

The Academy of Excellence is a voluntary training program for county

commissioners, chief clerks and solicitors. Participants complete 48

credit hours over a two-year period -- 30 credits of core courses and

18 credits of electives.

"We're proud to be part of this effort," said Daniel J. Whelan, Bell

Atlantic-Pennsylvania president and CEO. "The Academy of Excellence

is an important initiative that ensures we have informed and

responsible public officials who can give our counties the leadership

and management needed to deal with the challenges ahead."

Courses cover all aspects of county responsibility including financial

management; personnel and labor relations; leadership, management and

decision-making, and legal and ethical responsibilities. It is the

only in-depth course available for county officials.

Gov. Tom Ridge predicted the Academy will result in more effective

county government.

"Completing this course involves a personal commitment of time and

energy that demonstrates these individuals want our county governments

to be the best in the nation. I'm confident we'll see the results in

improved decision-making, efficiency and innovation, " Ridge said.

As part of its sponsorship, Bell Atlantic will showcase the latest

distance-learning technology in an interactive experience called "The

Wave of the Future." The February session will be held in five state

locations -- Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Altoona, Scranton and

Conshohocken-- allowing commissioners to participate in the Academy

course without traveling far from home.

"We hope our technology showcase will help commissioners better

understand how technology can provide solutions to the problems they

face every day -- improving services, lowering costs and moving

information quickly," Whelan said.

The Academy of Excellence curriculum was developed in the early 1990s

by CCAP members, state officials and educators who recognized the need

to provide training for elected county officials who often had no

background in county government.

Courses are offered as part of regularly scheduled CCAP meetings as

well as in stand-alone sessions. The first group of 65 commissioners

to complete the course graduated Nov. 24.

"The Academy provides in-depth education on critical issues and also

offers opportunities for commissioners to share problems, questions and

ideas," said Nancy Besch, Cumberland County Commissioner and chair of

the subcommittee that developed the Academy curriculum. "The

networking opportunities are invaluable and open up a whole new way of

interacting with each other."

The new Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and

NYNEX - is at the forefront of the new communications, information and

entertainment industry. With 40 million telephone access lines and

5.5 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are

premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market

leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of

directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the

world's largest investors in high-growth global communications

markets, with operations and investments in 21 countries.