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  • Ninth annual Citizens' Leadership Academy graduates its 2020 class

    DOVER - The Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce's Citizens' Leadership Academy graduated its ninth class after six sessions that provided an in-depth look at the City of Dover's municipal operations.
    Mayor Robert Carrier and Deputy Mayor Dennis Ciotti were on hand to thank the graduates for their commitment to the course. They encouraged them to become involved with the City, such as becoming a member of the many boards and commissions or running for a School Board or City Council seat.
    "You are the heartbeat that keeps the City going," Carrier told graduates. Carrier and Ciotti both credited the Citizens' Leadership Academy in helping maintain full membership on nearly all of the City's volunteer boards and commissions. Carrier said before the Citizens Leadership Academy, the Dover's board and commissions had "vacancies beyond belief."
    Carrier said he began serving Dover on the Recreational Advisory Board 27 years ago. Ciotti said he started his service 29 years ago when he was appointed to the Zoning Board of Adjustment after his neighbor suggested that Ciotti get involved.
    Sponsored by the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce, Eastern Bank and the City of Dover, the Citizens' Leadership Academy provides residents with an opportunity to see City of Dover operations up close. Typically open to 25 residents, it was reduced to 10 members because of COVID-19 concerns. The Academy met for six sessions beginning Oct. 8.
    The sessions included a basic government overview hosted by City Manager J. Michael Joyal, Jr.; a tour of police operations with Chief William Breault; a tour of Dover Fire and Rescue with Chief Paul Haas; a tour of the public works facilities with Community Services Director John Storer; an overview of Dover's public education system with Superintendent William Harbron; and a session focused on culture, recreation and quality of life presented by Library Director Denise LaFrance, Recreation Director Garry Bannon, Economic Development Director Daniel Barufaldi, and Assistant City Manager/Director of Planning and Strategic Initiatives Christopher G. Parker.
    Citizen Leadership Academy graduate Ruth Ogembo said she moved to Dover in 2003, but she hasn't had a chance to learn more about it until now. "I've been active in other communities (because of her job), but not active in my own," she said. Ogembo said the highlight for her was the tour of the public works facilities. There she learned everything from how decisions are made to pave certain streets over others, why some roads and sidewalks are plowed before others, how drinking water is tested and treated, and how sewage is treated and managed. Ogembo is not ready yet to join a board or commission but plans to once her schedule allows. "I absolutely enjoyed it," she said about the Academy.
    Planning Board member Ellen Ianello moved to Dover two years ago and soon became a Planning Board alternate member; she was recently appointed as a regular member. "I love learning about the community," she said about Citizens' Leadership Academy. "It's been a great way to meet people."
    Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce President Margaret Joyce took the course a couple of years ago after the Chamber hired her. "It's a good program," she said.
    The 2020 graduation members include Ogembo, Ianello, Dennis Dwyer, Steve Brown, Jon-Erik Tryggestad, Arcadia Lee, Nate Stewart, Kelly Moran, Samuel Beachard, Marissa Mitchell and Richard Armstrong.