German Fellows Learn How U.S. Government Works – in Arlington
By Office of Communication
Posted on March 15, 2012, March 15, 2012

Paul Schneider's stay in Arlington was barely five hours old, yet he already seemed to have a favorite. "Cowboys Stadium," he said, literally beaming. "So big. I could probably see that from Hanover."

Schneider reference to Hanover was not that of Hanover Street in Grand Prairie, but rather Hanover, Germany.

Schneider and three of his German colleagues arrived in Arlington early Wednesday afternoon as part of the McCloy Fellowship in Urban Affairs, a non-profit program giving promising Americans and Germans up-close looks at how city management and government administrations work across the Atlantic.

Last year, City of Arlington Senior Performance Analyst Kim Probasco visited several German cities as a U.S. McCloy Fellow, an experience of which she describes as "amazing" in providing exposure to cultural and policy differences between the two countries.

Arlington was selected as one of only six American cities to host the German contingent - they will visit other cities in New York, Indiana, Ohio, North Dakota, and also Washington, D.C.

"This is a big deal for Arlington," Probasco said. "We already have a great relationship with our sister city in Germany, and hosting these fellows allows us to build relationships with other, larger cities in Germany. It gives us a chance to build our networking ability to compare practices and policies."

The first stop for the fellows in Arlington was City Hall where they met with Mayor Robert Cluck, City Council Member Sheri Capehart, and Interim City Manager Bob Byrd, who explained how the city manager form of government works.

Mayor Cluck presented the fellows with a city proclamation and answered a litany of questions on how a city manager, a council, and a mayor jointly operate city business.

"My main reason for wanting the fellowship is to get an impression of how the administration works in the USA," said Fellow Anja Danigel, who works for the Office of Tourism in Wismar, a small port city in northern Germany nestled along the Baltic Sea.

Fellow Jörg Böttcher wants to incorporate what he learns into his daily work in economic development as Head of the Relocation Assistance Office in Magdeburg, the capital of the Saxony-Anhalt.

Fellow Matthias Steffan of Mannheim wants to gain knowledge about "political strategies for collaboration between city administration and city council," while Fellow Schneider hopes to add new perspectives to his approach in implementing projects.

The fellows have a jam-packed schedule in Arlington through Sunday, meeting with the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau Board, attending an Economic Development and Community Development & Planning presentation, and having tours of the Arlington Municipal Airport, John Kubala Water Treatment Plant, and the Fire and Police Departments.

There's time for fun, too, as the itinerary calls for a sampling of the local cuisine and spending time at Cowboys Stadium, the Rangers Ballpark at Arlington, and shopping at Arlington Highlands.

"So much to do," said Danigel, "but I hope to soak up every bit of it."

By Kenneth Perkins

Fellows Learn

Government, Highlights, News