Little-used manager mentoring program to benefit Ford City
Ford City’s borough manager may soon be one of the few in the greater Pittsburgh region to receive training through a state mentoring program that will partner him with a veteran in his field.
Though the program is offered free to any municipality, most haven’t taken advantage of it, said Michael Foreman of the Department of Community and Economic Development, which runs the program.
“It’s not frequently used,” Foreman said. “This is the second one I’ve had in maybe five years.”
Council approved Borough Manager Eden Ratliff’s participation in the program at a meeting Monday.
“I’m very excited,” Ratliff said. “I’ve heard excellent things about it. I think it’s an excellent opportunity.”
That opportunity will include about six months of on-site and remote training for the 23-year-old who graduated with a master’s degree in employment and labor relations at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in May. After an internship and stint as interim manager in Ford City this year, he was hired in October as the borough’s first manager in several years.
Becoming a borough manager fresh out of graduate school is not typical, Foreman said.
“Generally speaking, a young manager doesn’t have the benefit of hands-on experience or orientation,” Foreman said. “That’s why we’re offering this program — to make better managers.”
Foreman would not say who will be mentoring Ratliff, but said the person has managed several Western Pennsylvania municipalities similar in size to Ford City.
The program will help Ratliff gain experience with issues like budgeting, personnel, policy creation and other management duties, Foreman said.
“The peer-assistance program can benefit by providing a third-party perspective,” he said. “It is really to help management and decision-makers fulfill responsibilities in a more professional way.”
Ratliff, whose application into the program is awaiting state approval, could be matched up with his mentor as soon as January.
“It can be a tremendous benefit for the borough,” Council Vice President Jerry Miklos said. “We would not only able be able to utilize Eden’s experience, but draw upon the talents of a very, very experienced borough manager.”
Julie E. Martin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.