This year I am honored to be the president of the Mt. Lebanon Commission. The chair rotates among the five commissioners on an annual basis. I am proud of our efforts to teach our high school students about their local government through our Mt. Lebanon Junior Commissioner and Intern programs.
In 2012, when our state representative, Dan Miller, was a Mt. Lebanon Commissioner, a new program was created for our high school students at his suggestion. Rising juniors and seniors who live in Mt Lebanon were given the opportunity to be selected as junior commissioners. The goal of the program was to give these teens firsthand experience with local government. Since then, 14 students have served as junior commissioners, one for each fall semester and one for each spring semester.
The junior commissioner attends our twice-monthly commission discussion sessions and regular meetings unless formally excused. At the beginning of each commission meeting, she or he gives a brief report on students’ activities and concerns. The junior commissioner in turn serves as our conduit back to high school students by providing updates about municipal government activities to the student council. In addition, she or he should attend at least one meeting of a Mt. Lebanon advisory board or authority.
We received many qualified applicants, so last summer, the commission created an internship program. Interns are selected for the fall and spring academic terms from the pool of applicants for junior commissioner. Planner and Assistant Municipal Manager Ian McMeans is the point person for the interns as they learn about the inner workings of our government. These students are expected to attend commission meetings and discussion sessions but are not required to report at the meetings.
I believe the students selected have enjoyed their experiences in Mt. Lebanon government. Some former interns and junior commissioners continue to attend commission meetings after their terms are over to support their fellow students. I hope that if you know a rising junior or senior who might be interested, you will encourage him or her to apply for the junior Commissioner/Intern programs. Details and an application are available at www.mtlebanon.org. Deadline for applications is Thursday, July 12. Later in the summer, a group of commissioners will interview all applicants. Then, the entire Commission will select the junior commissioners and interns for the 2018-19 school year.