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Published: 6/2/2021
Teddy Lee wasn’t sure what to expect when he was accepted into the Novi Ambassador Academy in 2017.

Marketed as a hands-on course that that allows community members to become “students” and examine the inner workings of City government, the Ambassador Academy has become a great resource for not just residents to learn more about Novi but for City leadership to learn more about the people they serve.

For Lee, what stood out was the “transparency, honesty, and sincerity of the people who work in the various departments.” He said everyone did an outstanding job explaining what and how they do their jobs to make Novi one of the best run cities in all of Michigan. “

A resident should take this (program) to see first-hand what a great community Novi is, and to appreciate the people who serve the City to keep it great,” said Lee. “If a resident has the time, they should volunteer to serve on a board or commission to keep Novi a great community.”

The free Ambassador Academy, which started in 2014, peels back the curtain on the inner workings of the City’s governing process and lets residents interact with staff who run the City on a day-to-day basis. This year’s program is slated to take place from Sept. 9 to Oct. 28 and will be adhering to all MDHHS regulations.

The eight-week course kicks off with an introduction from City Manager Pete Auger before he turns the next seven weeks over to his team. You will take a “tour” of Novi with Community Development, Economic Development, and Novi Parks, get hands on with the Novi Police and Novi Fire Departments, hop in the driver’s seat of a plow truck when visiting the Department of Public Works, and explore all the Novi Public Library has to offer.

Curious about the finances of Novi? The Finance, Treasury, and Assessing teams will break down all the numbers in a way that is both entertaining and educational. If you’d like to take a deep dive into the elections process, the City Clerk has you covered from start to finish.

Lee said it was “refreshing” to learn how the City responsibly manages its finances, and the high standards required of all Novi Police Officers.

Mayor Bob Gatt, who along with his colleagues on City Council attend a “graduation” at the end of the program, has received nothing but positive feedback from residents who have gone through the program. In fact, many residents have sought out ways to get more involved and inquired about serving on boards and commissions.

"A lot of cities say they are open and transparent, but we would much rather show it,” said Mayor Gatt. “We want our residents to know we are working with their best interests in mind and that we have the very best employees who are passionate about what they do.”

To learn more and apply for the upcoming Novi Ambassador Academy, visit cityofnovi.org. Space is limited and we ask that residents who apply can make most of the weeks.