Two Groveland Township officials have taken the next steps to further enhance the effectiveness of their township by completing the Michigan Townships Association’s (MTA) Township Governance Academy (TGA). Through their participation in the intensive education program, Treasurer Theresa Bills and Deputy Clerk Jenell Keller were able to learn enhanced tools and decision-making processes that can help positively impact Groveland Township for years to come.
The two local officials were among the members of the Academy “Graduating Class of 2023” honored on stage during a recognition ceremony held in April at the Association’s Annual Educational Conference at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme Township. The program helped to provide Bills and Keller with a strong foundation of the government closest to the people and the critical services that townships offer to residents.
“As a township board member, I have the shared responsibility to make decisions that lead the township into the future,” Bills said. “The TGA program was a great way to accelerate my learning and give me the competency and confidence to more effectively lead. I was—and continue to be—grateful for the exposure to the issues and concerns TGA brought to light and the strategies suggested for managing them.”
Keller noted, “Graduating from TGA has provided me with both the education and resources necessary to serve my community confidently and effectively. I am excited to continue using the concepts and insights gained from the Academy.”
Bills began her township service as an election inspector for the March 2016 presidential primary. She became the election administrator later that year, working in the clerk’s office. Prior to being elected treasurer in 2020, she also worked as township office administrator and served on the board of review. In addition to her township role, she teaches Club 57 at Bridgewood Church, is a board member of Brandon Groveland Youth Assistance, and is the elected secretary of the Oakland County Treasurers’ Association.
Keller first began serving her township in 2020; in addition to her role as deputy clerk, she also serves as elections administrator, on the board of review, as recording secretary and building department assistant, and with accounts payable. She is the Goodrich Soccer Club recreation manager and division coordinator and coach, and was a Mount Bethel board member for six years, until 2020.
TGA is a voluntary credentialing program intended to provide township officials and leaders with cutting-edge knowledge and expanded skills needed to assist in making more effective decisions for the benefit of their township. The Academy, which challenges candidates to tie together learning and practical experience, consists of 11 courses and includes a requirement for elective credits.
Created and administered by MTA, this program is designed to professionally challenge township leaders by offering new ideas, sharing best practices and providing a hands-on approach to dealing more effectively with everyday issues that the township may face.