National Association of Counties
Washington, D.C.

 Board OKs budget, adopts priorities

Reviews new strategic blueprint; Makes changes to election process

By Tom Goodman


All photos by Bev Schlotterbeck

NACo President Linda Langston opens the Board of Directors fall meeting, held in Linn County, Iowa, Dec. 5–6. Also pictured (from left): Matt Chase, executive director; NACo Second Vice President Sallie Clark: Northeast Region Representative Joe Giles; and Karen McRunnel, Board of Directors liaison.

The NACo Board of Directors approved a $17 million budget for FY14, key legislative priorities for the coming year and changes to the election process and at its meeting Dec. 6–7 in Linn County, Iowa.

Strategic Blueprint 2014–2015

NACo Executive Director Matt Chase presented NACo’s Strategic Blueprint for 2014 – 2015 that includes greater advocacy efforts, an expanded research operation to support advocacy, a new focus on transportation and enhanced programs in community and economic development.

Erie County, Pa. Commissioner Joe Giles, Northeast Region representative to the executive committee, receives a standing ovation from his fellow NACo Board members for his 32 years of service to NACo. The fall meeting was his final meeting.

The goals that are part of the blueprint are increased membership and conference attendance and expansion of the number of members who serve on committees.

In addition, a new program, the County Innovation Network (COIN), will enable NACo members to ask questions of subject matter experts, who are county officials or corporate thought leaders through a managed online network. The network will also allow members to share information and connect with other members and suppliers in an organized marketplace.

Increased revenue for the FY14 budget is expected to come from the U.S. Communities cooperative purchasing program, membership dues and corporate sponsorship. The capital budget for FY14 is $176,500. This funding will primarily enable the association to purchase network equipment and software.

Three new grants from the Ford Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Public Welfare Foundation are part of the budget. The budget projects that the association will end the year with a $40,000 surplus.

NACo is expected to end FY13 with a $200,000 surplus. Its positive financial situation is the result of a renegotiated contract with Nationwide Retirement Solutions for the deferred compensation program. In addition, conference attendance and grant activity increased during the year, and U.S. Communities grew by 9 percent.

NACo Board members review and discuss the 2014–2015 Strategic Blueprint. Pictured are (l-r): Commissioner Elizabeth Stefanics, Santa Fe County, N.M.; Commission Chair Edward Michael, Cibola County, N.M.; Commissioner Larry White, Escambia County, Ala.; and Supervisor Efren Carrillo, Sonoma County, Calif.

NACo Election Changes

The changes to the election process focused on voting credentials, candidates speaking at steering committee meetings, use of the NACo logo and informing candidates about election procedures. The changes resulted from the work of the Election Review Committee, which was appointed by NACo President Linda Langston in August.

Langston said she appointed the committee to review the elections process to determine what could be improved and updated. The areas reviewed by the committee were the credentials process, the guidelines for candidates for second vice president, voting at the conference and bylaws changes.

The committee produced 23 recommendations. The five approved by the Board are:

  • the credentials form be sent to the Chief Elected Official and clerk in all member counties and to all Annual Conference registrants
  • the credentials form be signed by the Chief Elected Official or a registered delegate to the Annual Conference
  • candidates should not be permitted to campaign at steering committee meetings and that a candidate forum should be added to the schedule of the Annual Conference
  • candidates are not permitted to use any trademarked, registered or copyrighted NACo digital property and
  • a webinar in early February to go over the rules with candidates and other interested parties.

Past NACo presidents, Commissioner Karen Miller (l), Boone County, Mo., and Commissioner Betty Lou Ward, Wake County, N.C., review the day’s agenda for the Board meeting.

The Board sent the remaining recommendations back to the committee for further review.  The Board directed the committee to use the discussion and suggestions of the executive committee and Board members as a guide in its further deliberations. The committee was asked to produce the next phase of recommendations by the 2014 Legislative Conference.

Former NACo President and Athens County, Ohio Commissioner Lenny Eliason chairs the committee. Other members of the committee are Ron Houseman, NACo midwest region director and commissioner, Taney County, Mo.; Joan Garner, commissioner,  Fulton County, Ga.;  Cindy Bobbitt, commissioner, Grant County, Okla.;  Manny Ruiz, supervisor, Santa Cruz County, Ariz.; Doug Hill, executive director, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania; and Todd McGee, communications director, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners.


2014 Legislative Priorities

The key legislative priorities are:
  • protect the federal-state-local partnership for Medicaid
  • support the key federal investments in programs that promote local job creation and economic growth
  • protect county revenue and investment strategies
  • support federal land revenue sharing and the payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) programs
  • oppose unfunded and underfunded mandates
  • promote county priorities within immigration reform
  • support rural development and the Farm Bill and
  • support county priorities in the reauthorization of the surface transportation bill (MAP-21).

Photo by Karon Harden

Next Generation NACo Network partnered with Hawkeye Area Community Action Inc.  to pack more than 4,500 pounds of food for area residents in Linn County, Iowa during NACo’s Fall Board Meeting. Filling the cartons are: (l-r)  Commissioner Ray Jeffers, Person County, N.C.; Dekalb County, Ga. CEO Lee May and Supervisor Efren Carrillo, Sonoma County, Calif.  Commissioner Mary Ann Borgeson, Douglas County, Neb., and  Supervisor Ben Rogers, Linn County, Iowa also participated in the volunteer event.

The Board meeting included presentations by Emilia Istrate, NACo research director, on upcoming projects; Bert Jarreau, NACo chief innovation officer, on the COIN program and David Vaudt, chairman of Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB). Vaudt said GASB is reviewing pension standards and other post-employment benefits.

Vaudt encouraged county officials to contact him with feedback. “The board (GASB) will make much, much better decisions when it hears how stakeholders feel about the rules,” he said.

The Board meeting was the last one for Erie County (Pa.) Commissioner Joe Giles, who had been involved with NACo for 32 years and is retiring this year.  Giles was the Northeast region representative and in that capacity served on the NACo Executive Committee.