Bell Atlantic to Co-Sponsor "Academy of Excellence"
November 24, 1997
County Commissioners Assn. of Pa.
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
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
"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.