City of Fishers’ City Government Academy (CGA)
I just finished the City of Fishers’ City Government Academy. This city just finished registration for the 2024 Spring session, which is currently full but at the time of this writing had a waiting list you could join. This is generally spread across four to five months with one or two sessions each month. For example, the Spring 2024 sessions are scheduled between January 11th and May 9th. The program ends with a luncheon with the Mayor of Fishers, Scott Fadness.
Registration Requirements for the City Government Academy
To register for this academy, you must be at least 18 years old. Additionally, the focus is on City of Fishers, so you must be a resident of Fishers, Indiana. The program has eight sessions of which you need to attend at least six. If you can’t commit to attending all eight, then I recommend you let others apply. Participants must also participate in a volunteering event during the time of the academy. Finally, participants are expected to attend at least one city meeting (City Council session, board, or commission meeting) in person during the time of their academy.
There is no cost.
You can find a link to register at https://www.fishers.in.us/1507/City-Government-Academy. This page will also contain a link to a wait list (if available) as well as information on upcoming Academies.
About the City Government Academy
The City Government Academy focuses on providing a look into the various departments and staffing areas of the City of Fishers. The meetings are spread across a variety of locations as the sessions often include tours. Locations include the public works buildings off Eller Road, the Fishers Parks Offices (currently at the Hub & Spoke), township offices, the police department, and the fire department.
The meetings are generally casual with the various department heads or city officials leading a presentation. Nearly all were interactive and allowed the attendees to adjust the topics within the given areas. This allowed for learning not only what the City wanted to present, but also about topics important to the audience. Many of the sessions included hands-on activities or tours.
Key areas of coverage included the following. These are, of course, subject to change:
- An Introduction and Orientation – The first session was led by the mayor and covered an overview of the City, his team, and things happening around the City. It also included plenty of time to ask general questions.
- Public Works and Wastewater Treatment Plant – This session stunk. Literally. Fishers has its own wastewater treatment plant. Not only did this session cover what the public works team does and how they differ from other groups within the city, but also provided a tour of the wastewater treatment plant right here in Fishers. Learning the role of this team, seeing the various equipment they have, and learning the scope of what it takes to keep a city of 100,000 people operating is definitely more complex than many would think. Planting trees, grinding sidewalks, and making sure things flow downhill are just some of what can be learned from this department.
- Fishers Engineering – For my academic group, we derailed the presentation from the Fishers Engineering department. Instead of doing the hands on activity that dug into determining what it takes to design a roundabout, we bombarded the lead engineer with questions and discussion points. This was a chance to learn about the miles or roads, the planning, and the efforts it takes to be a fast expanding city. While it can seem easy for a City Council to approve projects, someone has to make sure they actually work within the City.
- Fisher Parks – If you follow this page, you know I’m a fan of our parks overall. The Fishers Parks department is currently located at the Hub & Spoke off of 106th Street. Learning about this team, many of their programs, and some of the core parks and future park initiatives, made for an informative evening. Getting to tour – and do a project within – the Maker Space at Hub & Spoke was also an added bonus. The equipment and tools available to the community through the Maker Space (sadly for a fee) are amazing.
- Fishers Police Department – The academy also presents information directly from the Police Chief or one of his team about the actual size and responsibilities of the Fishers Police Department. This session provides insights into who is on the force, what their responsibilities are, and a bit about the issues they face. More impressive is getting a tour of the Police Department and seeing some of the various equipment they have. Fishers is on the leading edge in crime detection and solving and this is highlighted in this session. Of course, there is also the Police Citizen Academy That delves into all of this more than the single session from the City Government.
- Fishers Fire and Emergency Services – Just like learning about the police force, there is also a separate section on the fire and emergency services team. This session also overviewed the fire department and emergency team as well as their responsibilities and what they have accomplished. The interactive session also included a close look at the equipment as well as a better understanding of the types of issues they deal with. I believe that just like with the police department, attendees of the academy walked away with a much better appreciation for the scope of responsibility for these departments.
- Fishers Health Department – With Fishers having its own health department, this session provided insights into the range of services they are responsible for, including areas such as inspections as well as health services.
- Fishers Community and Economic Development – This session met in the pavilion building in front of the Fishers Amphitheater, thus showing attendees more of the buildings the city has available for various events. The focus was on what the city does to draw business into town as well as keeping existing businesses here. Like all of the sessions, there was a lot of interaction with the City staff members to address questions related to what was presented.
As mentioned, I attended the City Government Academy. I posted notes on a few of the sessions here on FishersTOS. In truth, there were so many notes and slides taken in a short time, that I didn’t have time to get them all posted. As time allows, I hope to go back and write about each of the sessions because they were enlightening and did provide a true peek behind the curtain. When you put all the various departments together, you quickly realize that the Mayor of Fishers is responsible for a lot. Clearly Fishers is not just a small town with a few dozen people keeping things operating. Rather it is hundreds of fulltime staff members working with thousands of volunteers making million-dollar decisions on a regular basis.