Established in 1986, the Institute is a program of the Municipal Association of South Carolina that gives municipal officials a strong foundation in the operation of local government. Participants learn about the role of elected officials and administrative staff and the relationships municipal officials have with other local governments, the state and federal government. The Institute includes two daylong sessions and three evening sessions.
"For almost 30 years, the Association has encouraged local elected officials to participate in the Institute, whether they are newly elected or have served for a while," said Miriam Hair, executive director of the Municipal Association. "This Institute gives elected leaders with diverse personal and professional backgrounds an understanding and overview of the details of running a local government."
Officials participate in more than 25 hours of classroom work in order to graduate from the Institute. Highlights of topics covered during the sessions include the Freedom of Information Act, ethics and accountability, budgeting, planning and zoning, human resources and economic development.
The Institute draws its faculty from recognized local government leaders in South Carolina and other states, state officials, faculty and staff of the state's colleges and universities, and other guest lecturers.
In 2013, the Association began offering its first credited, on-demand course as part of the Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government, as well as an Advanced Institute for MEO graduates. The Advanced Institute provides elected officials who have graduated from the MEO Institute with an option for continuing education through classroom instruction, interaction with experienced peers and case studies.