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San Bernardino Citizen Academy

Case Story

The San Bernardino Citizen Academy (SBCA) is dedicated to educating citizens about how city government works, who the council members are and how City Hall makes decisions.  Participants get to meet every department head, elected officials and the people behind the scenes who make the city work.

Although SBCA has only had two programs, there are 43 participants that have successfully graduated. One graduate was later appointed by the Mayor to the Fine Arts Commission, and another graduate is now a City Council Member.

Jane Sneddon graduated from SBCA’s first program and offered to help out with the second program. Sneddon recruits attendees, helps to plan sessions and is now on a first-name basis with all seven council members.

Topics that are covered range from San Bernardino Taking Action Against Graffiti (SBTAAG) to water treatment plan operations. Sneddon stated, “The water department session was a real highlight for most attendees as they got to learn how the water treatment plant works and all of the legal ramifications of waste water disposal.”

“I believe in the concept [of a Citizens Academy] so strongly…One of the greatest things about the academy was to see how the resident’s concept on how the city runs was changed.” This and the valuable information taught to San Bernardino Citizen Academy students has motivated Jane Sneddon to continue volunteering her time to the SBCA.

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