Farmington council member receives training scholarship

Joe LaRussa
Joe LaRussa (City of Farmington)

Farmington city council member Joe LaRussa has received a scholarship to cover the costs of training he’ll receive at the Michigan Municipal League’s September convention in Grand Rapids.

LaRussa and East Lansing city council member Aaron Stephens will each have up to $1,000 of their training costs covered through the Michigan Municipal League Foundation John Barr Leadership Education Scholarship.

“I’m excited to be selected as a scholarship recipient,” LaRussa said. “Continuous education and training are 21st-century realities, and as a relatively new city council member, it’s even more important that I educate myself on topics relevant to residents of Farmington.”

He added, “I’m also pleased that this scholarship will free up some of the city’s financial resources for other priorities.”

LaRussa said he plans to attend convention sessions that focus on redevelopment, reinvention and placemaking.

According to a press release, the John Barr Leadership Education Scholarship was established in March 2017 with a generous $10,000 investment from MML Foundation Board Member and Ypsilanti City Attorney John Barr. The scholarship was created from his vision to provide local elected and appointed officials the knowledge and skills they need to lead and govern their communities.

Matching donations from MML members, Foundation board members and DTE Energy matched an additional $10,000.

“Training and education are a large part of the key to good government,” Barr said. “The MML and affiliates offer wonderful opportunities for both training and education. My hope is that this scholarship initiative will encourage more public officials to increase their knowledge and understanding of the best practices of local government.”

Five yearly, one-time scholarships of up to $1,000 for nonpartisan training of local elected or appointed officials will be awarded. The training must have a leadership component and practical application to the individual’s role as a public official in municipal government.

“Communities can’t afford to offer professional development or leadership training,” MML Foundation President Gisgie Dávila Gendreau said. “Our donors’ generosity means we can help make communities better.”