MPA Student Explores Professional Interests in Local Government Internship

Paul Kleier is an MPA student beginning his second year this fall. He reflects upon his summer internship experience with the City of Cresview Hills in Northern Kentucky.

When I entered the Martin School last August I knew that my professional interest lay in local government. When it came time to explore internships, therefore, I looked at the possibility of working for a city government. Being a native of northern Kentucky, this search led me to the City of Crestview Hills where I have been interning for the past two months. My experience here has been both educational and eye-opening and included tasks ranging from the more mundane realities of small, local governments to intriguing projects that can shape the future of cities.

Working with Tim Williams, the City Administrator of Crestview Hills, and other staff at the City, has exposed me to a broad array of concerns that local government must attend to. While visiting road maintenance projects with the Public Works Director, I have learned about the many considerations that go into these projects, such having proper signage to denote changes in traffic patterns. By being part of the process to develop a Mixed-Use Zone for the City, I have been able to see the qualities that are important in choosing partners for projects. I have been leading my own project of reviewing and making informed recommendations to improve the aesthetics of the City’s office park. Through this, I continue to realize how much work goes into overseeing a seemingly straightforward task that can lead to contentious interactions with constituents of the City.

Besides the duties that have been assigned to me, I have learned a great deal from observing City Council meetings. Committee meetings are often even more informative, and they tend to be longer and more focused and, therefore, more substantive. The ability to lead a focused discussion, elicit thoughtful and constructive opinions, and be mindful of the various personalities and preferences in a room is very valuable whether the subject of the meeting is the possibility of a financing program to encourage energy efficiency or how to work with the local Sanitation District to address hill erosion.

As the summer draws to a close, I look forward to applying the lessons I’ve learned from my internship with Crestview Hills. I feel confident that this field is for me because it’s the most excited I’ve ever been to go into work, knowing the projects I have in store. After all, it is very reassuring when someone interested in local government spends free time wondering about whether a particular resident would have had to get a permit to construct a detached accessory structure in their yard!