Name: Annette Mackay
Municipality Where You are Interning: Rankin Borough
Please tell us about yourself.
I am a graduate student at Duquesne University in the Social and Public Policy Program. My undergraduate degree is in sociology. I am interested in local government and labor relations.
What attracted you to the Municipal Intern Program?
The Municipal Intern Program provided an opportunity to apply what I learned in course work in policy analysis and policy implementation to a real time situation in local government.
What is the project you will be working on this summer and what is your interest in this project?
I have three main projects to complete for my internship at Rankin Borough. The first is to update the phone system. I am to evaluate the current system, research alternatives that improve service at lower cost, and make a recommendation using cost-benefit analysis. This project involves some internet research as well as meetings with vendors and service providers. I like the independent and interpersonal dimensions of this project.
The second is to identify rental properties throughout the borough that do not have current occupancy permits. Working with the Code Enforcement Officer and Tax Collector, I will create a database of delinquent properties and assist in contacting the owners of record to obtain the permit fees that are in arrears. This project focuses on a different area of government administration, providing greater experience in routine municipal operations.
My third project is to assist the borough secretary in tasks related to daily operations in the office, including preparations for borough council meetings. These ongoing tasks provide an overview of the functions of running a borough office. For example, I serve as an extra pair of hands in organizing a storage room, copy documents for a meeting, answer phones, and perform other clerical or non-clerical tasks as needed. In addition, I am researching grant opportunities to find funding for new body armor for the police, and money for repairs to the roof on the borough building. This side project was given to me after I began my internship, and will provide valuable experience in finding resources to support the functions of municipal government in an economically depressed area.
What do you hope to learn by the end of the internship?
I am interested not only in the functional and legal requirements of government administration, but also the social dynamics of government. While this internship will teach me the practical aspects of conducting municipal business, like code enforcement, It will also reveal how people work together to accomplish tasks in a complex interpersonal environment. My goal is to take away an understanding of the physical and political functions in local government.
My first day on the job…
My first day was an introduction to the personnel and processes of government at the Borough of Rankin. Upon my arrival, I was re-introduced to the personnel who I met at my initial interview. This included the Borough Secretary, Manager, Tax Collector and Chief of Police. In addition, I met the Code Enforcement Officer and Borough Engineer.
The Borough Secretary showed me the essentials: restroom, coffee pot, pop machine, choice parking area, lunch menus, etc. Then she offered me a choice of two desks where I could do my work. Shortly thereafter, the Borough Manager arrived and together they explained the situation with the current phone system. After this briefing I spoke with the Tax Collector and Chief of Police to obtain their opinions and perspectives regarding an integrated system. Later, the Borough Secretary talked to me about other projects under consideration, and how purchasing and other processes worked at the Borough of Rankin. This information gave me the essential tools for starting the phone system project in addition to laying a foundation from which I will perform the other tasks assigned to me during my internship.