City employees provided with leadership training

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Williamsport city employees went through leadership training at Pennsylvania College of Technology recently. From front left are Jessie Novinger, Kate Vornhold, Jody Miller, Mike Gardner, instructor Katie Ecker, Russ Clemons; second row, Keith Lucas, Stephanie Young, Don Mayes, Bill Motyka, JJ Lyons, Kevin Hurne; third row, Mark Killian, Rebecca Haladay, Dustin Reeder, Marlin Smith, Dave Weaver, Tim Garman, Tom Cillo; back row; Megan Page, Councilman Randall Allison who presented certificates, Vince Rundio, Sherman Heaster, Joe Gerardi, Nick Grimes, Frank Shank, Sam Aungst, Adam Winder.

As project manager of River Valley Transit, Bill Motyka has a job where daily interaction with fellow employees and answering people is part of the day.

“I do just about everything,” said Motyka, one of 24 front line supervisors who took the first-ever city workforce training class in conjunction with Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Workforce Development program.

“Self-evaluation,” Motyka said was among the lessons he took from the two-day course, where he spent seven hours learning supervisor and leadership skills.

They included tips and techniques that existing technical training provided by the city may not cover, and it’s hopefully the start of a five-year series of annual classes, each a succession on the other.

“As more new city employees step into leadership roles, supervisory training at Penn College will be provided for front-line supervisors, to mid-level manager and senior executives,” according to Megan Page, city human resources director.

While the city provides required training and professional certificates for technical aspects of jobs, it does little in the way of teaching aspects of leading and managing people, interpersonal communication and conflict resolution, Page said.

The managers received certificates of completion presented to them by City Councilman Randall J. Allison, vice president of council with Marianne DePasqua of the college’s Workforce Development Program offering to work with the city to tailor a curriculum based on existing programs that would be specific to the city.

A five-year leadership development plan has started, consisting of a course, delivered over two days, in the fall of each year, Page said, adding how the coursework will be successive, meaning that it will start at the front-line supervisor level, and continue forward with each year building on the last.

Police Capt. Don Mayes described the class as “great,” saying the professor, Katie Ecker, was exceptional, knowledgeable and provided practical information all of the classmates could use.

Page seemed enthused at the course completion Thursday afternoon, as 24 of the city employees from each department posed for a photograph on the steps outside the Klump Academic Center.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time the city has held a city-wide group training, allowing future leaders to work with one another and build relationships across department lines,” Page said.

Mayor Gabriel J. Campana told the Sun-Gazette before the certificates were handed out that this new program could become a marketing tool for prospective employees, a means of retaining quality employees and it continues to build upon the strong working relationship the city has with the college.