NACo IS YOUR ORGANIZATION
Instead of 3,069 separate voices trying to be heard, or 3,069 counties solving problems in isolation, counties come together through NACo to speak as one and find solutions together. Counties are stronger when we are united as NACo members. For reasonable membership dues, NACo delivers resources, skills and support to successfully lead counties into the future.
NACo provides so much it can be overwhelming to navigate all the benefits of membership. This guide is your handbook and reference manual. Keep it handy and refer to it whenever you need to know more about NACo or how to get involved.
WANT TO HELP RECRUIT NEW NACo MEMBERS?
You know how essential NACo is to your work, and we hope you will join us in recruiting the 23 percent of counties that are not NACo members. Join the NACo membership committee effort to recruit new members. For every nonmember county you recruit, you receive a free NACo conference registration ($825 value per registration).
More info: www.NACo.org/Membership
DID YOU KNOW?
County governments are the members of NACo. Once a county is a member, the benefits extend to all of the county’s officials and staff. Dues are based on a county’s 2010 Census population and follow the calendar year — January through December — and are invoiced yearly in September.
NACo is owned by you, America’s county governments, with oversight and governance by an executive committee and board of directors.
Members and Voting
Each member county casts a number of votes proportional to its population in determining leadership at NACo and final decisions on policy.
To vote, a member county must:
- Register for the Annual Conference
- Submit a credentials form
- Pick up your ballot at the credentials desk at the conference, and
- Attend our annual business meeting.
Responsibilities: Members craft and approve all of NACo’s policy, amend the bylaws and elect officers at the annual business meeting during the Annual Conference.
Board of Directors
NACo is governed by a board of directors appointed from the following sources:
|State Association Nominees||79|
|1 per state||46|
|100% membership states receive an additional representative||22|
|Top 12 membership states||12|
|Affiliates, Western Interstate Region, Large Urban Counties Caucus and Rural Action Caucus Representatives||25|
|Presidential At-Large Appointments||10|
All board members serve one-year terms subject to annual renewal.
Responsibilities: The Board sets the strategic goals, policies and priorities of the association, as well as oversees the association’s policies, business and property.
Tarrant County, Texas
First Vice President
San Diego, Calif.
Second Vice President
Douglas County, Neb.
Leon County, Fla.
West Regional Representative
Valley County, Idaho
Central Regional Representative
Grant County, Okla.
King George County, Va.
Northeast Regional Representative
Berks County, Pa.
Responsibilities: Officers are responsible for the property, funds and business affairs of the association in the absence of the board, and exercise all powers granted by the board.
Responsibilities: The executive director is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs and strategic plan of the organization.
Responsibilities: Implements and administers the association’s programs and strategic plan.
Membership dues are due
Healthy Counties Forum
Interim policy resolutions must be submitted
Deadline to file as 2nd VP candidate
NACo Legislative Conference (NACo Board Meeting)
Achievement Award submission deadline
Election credentials information sent out
Deadline for presidential appointments
Western Interstate Region (WIR) Conference (NACo Board Meeting)
Early-Bird Annual Registration
Steering Committee nomination deadline (apply through state association)
Policy resolutions and platform changes must be submitted
PILT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) Fly-in
Membership dues invoices sent
Steering committee calls to set policy priorities
NACo Fall Board Meeting
Board approval of policy priorities
PROTECT THE FEDERAL-STATE-LOCAL PARTNERSHIP FOR MEDICAID
Counties own and support 907 hospitals and 838 nursing homes, 750 behavioral health authorities and serve 1,943 local health departments across the country
PROMOTE COUNTY INFRASTRUCTURE PRIORITIES
Counties own 46% of all public road miles and 38% of U.S. bridges
WORK FOR A MORE EFFECTIVE DEFINITION OF “WATERS OF THE U.S.”
More than 70% of counties invest in storm sewer systems, sewage disposal, solid waste management and water utilities
SUPPORT COUNTY AUTHORITY TO COLLECT EXISTING SALES TAX
$26.1 billion of existing sales tax revenue goes uncollected – potential funding for essential local services
SUPPORT POLICIES TO PROMOTE MENTAL HEALTH, SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND JUSTICE REFORM
11.4 million individuals, 64% of them with mental illness, cycle in and out of more than 3,000 local jails each year
SUPPORT THE PAYMENT IN LIEU OF TAXES (PILT) AND SECURE RURAL SCHOOLS (SRS) PROGRAMS
61.6% of counties have federal land within their boundaries
SUPPORT PROGRAMS THAT ASSIST COUNTIES TO PREVENT AND REDUCE POVERTY
Counties invest over $58 billion in human services each year
SUPPORT A COMPREHENSIVE LONG-TERM FARM BILL REAUTHORIZATION
In 2016, almost 45 million people received services from SNAP
NACo’s state and county profiles effectively show the impact that federal laws and policies have on counties. Find your county on NACo’s County Explorer interactive on the web (www.NACo.org/CountyExplorer) and use our individualized profiles to make the county case to federal policy makers. Our goal is to help Congress and the Administration understand that counties matter.
Flawed “Waters of the U.S.” regulation sent back to the drawing board
Implementation of the new 2015 ozone rule delayed for one year
EPA’s Risk Management Rule delayed for two years
Bureau of Land Management Planning 2.0 rule repealed
U.S. House Bipartisan Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs created
21st Century Cures Act passed, reauthorizing major justice and mental health grant program and providing additional resources to combat opioid epidemic
Preserved $3 billion for CDBG and $950 million for HOME
Secured full funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program at $465 million for 2017
Highlighted county infrastructure priorities during Infrastructure Week
Fought to protect tax-exempt municipal bonds
Secured seat on new FAA National Drone Advisory Council
Produced new advocacy toolkits to assist county officials
Met with all 62 new members of Congress
Recognized 85 members of Congress who are former county officials
Advised the newly created White House Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity
Led the local response to FEMA’s Disaster Deductible proposal
Presented congressional testimony on public lands management, transportation and infrastructure, federal regulations, National Flood Insurance Program, the Endangered Species Act and other county priorities
Your involvement matters
NACo is a vehicle through which all counties can be heard in Washington, D.C. Members have many opportunities to influence national policy:
- Action alerts on developing legislative issues
- Fly-ins where NACo members advocate in person in D.C.
- Hill day during the Legislative Conference to speak to federal leaders
- Opportunities to testify at congressional hearings
- The NACo policy resolutions process
- Issue statement: state the purpose of the resolution
- Proposed Policy section: specify a position or action by NACo
- Background section: outline the county interest in the issue
- Fiscal/Urban/Rural Impact section: address impact for counties in these areas
All NACo member counties decide what issues NACo advocates for in Washington. This is the process by which NACo policy is determined.
Policy Steering Committees
Policy steering committees review and make recommendations on federal policy issues and legislation. The committees start the process to develop NACo’s advocacy agenda before the Administration, Congress, U.S. Courts and the American public. All officials and their staff in NACo member counties are invited to get involved in crafting the American County Platform!
The 10 policy steering committees are:
- Agriculture and Rural Affairs
- Community, Economic and Workforce Development
- Environment, Energy and Land Use
- Finance, Pensions and Intergovernmental Affairs
- Human Services and Education
- Justice and Public Safety
- Public Lands
- Telecommunications and Technology
How to Join
Joining a committee is easy! Fill out the enclosed form or download the form from www.naco.org/nomination. Forms are due in June and must be submitted to your state association.
Caucuses, Task Forces, Ad Hoc & Standing Committees
Ad Hoc and Standing committees help shape and drive NACo’s programs and services, both internally for the association and externally for county governments and our partners.
Our caucuses play a prominent role in advancing NACo’s policy agenda and providing an important forum for peer exchanges and thought leadership. As needed, NACo convenes special task forces to study and address important policy questions that may have implications beyond a single policy committee’s jurisdiction.
The caucuses, task forces, ad hoc & standing committees are:
- Large Urban County Caucus (LUCC)
- Rural Action Caucus (RAC)
- Arts and Culture Commission
- Finance Standing Committee
- Healthy Counties Advisory Board
- Immigration Reform Task Force
- Information Technology Standing Committee
- International Economic Development Task Force
- Membership Standing Committee
- Next Generation NACo
- Programs and Services Standing Committee
- Resilient Counties Advisory Board
- Veterans and Military Services Committee
How to Join
These are appointments made by the NACo President. In the spring, fill out the online application form here:
GOVmotus // Permitting
Your involvement matters
Bring your permitting process online. With this free NACo member benefit, all your county’s permit applications and related documents can be stored online.
Jurisdictions often struggle with complex, paper-work-heavy processes that weigh down their building departments. GOVmotus is the solution. This innovative software package helps counties manage, automate and track community development processes. With customizable packages and tailored configuration, GOVmotus is an economic workhorse built especially for permitting, licensing, and property maintenance functions of local government.
Save time and money on purchasing your county’s key products using the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance. The program uses leading public agencies to competitively bid products and services essential for counties. Your county can piggyback on these contracts for big savings!
TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF U.S. COMMUNITIES:
- Visit www.uscommunities.org/summit to find out when the next Strategic Sourcing Summit will be held in your area. Attending these free events will give you an opportunity to interact with your regional program manager, network with peers and meet exhibiting suppliers.
- Visit www.uscommunities.org/news-events/webinars/ to listen to online webinar recordings on a variety of topics related to cooperative purchasing – learn about new contracts, cost-saving solutions and more.
- Be sure the person responsible for purchasing in your county has this information.
HOW TO GET STARTED:
- Register at www.uscommunities.org. There are no fees, commitments or order minimums.
- Browse the full catalog of products and solutions available from U.S. Communities’ supplier partners
- Start purchasing and saving by working directly with a supplier
More info: www.NACo.org/USCommunities
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that U.S. Communities offers NARCAN Nasal Spray (life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug) at a 40% discount through the Premier contract?
457b Deferred Compensation
Provides deferred compensation to over 3,100 counties and special district participants through a partnership with Nationwide Retirement Solutions.
TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF THE DEFERRED COMPENSATION PROGRAM:
- Nationwide Retirement Institute workshops available to employees such as Social Security post-retirement healthcare costs
- A Nationwide presence and link on the county’s website
- Opportunity for Nationwide Retirement specialists to present the program at new employee orientation sessions
- Be a participant and champion of the program as well as identify other participant/champions within the other county departments
- Consider hosting a financial fitness fair for county employees with the assistance of Nationwide
HOW TO GET STARTED:
If you would like to offer this benefit to your county employees, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-263-3656.
We will then contact the appropriate Nationwide Program Director in your area to work with you on implementing the program.
DID YOU KNOW?
This is the largest county offered plan in the country, over 1.5 million county participants have utilized the Deferred Compensation Plan to prepare for their retirement since its inception in 1980.
Live Healthy U.S. Counties
NACo’s Live Healthy U.S. Counties discount program saves all your residents money on prescriptions, dental, vision, hearing, labs, diabetic supplies, imaging and more. Savings range from 15 to 75 percent. This program is free for all NACo member counties.
HAVE YOU ADDED DENTAL & HEALTH DISCOUNTS?
Your county may be in our prescription discount program (44% of counties are!), but you need to fill out a quick form to add dental and health discounts. It’s free and a great enhanced benefit.
HOW TO GET STARTED:
Joining is easy (and free)! Just e-mail email@example.com to get the contract.
More info: www.NACo.org/Health
DID YOU KNOW?
Additional savings are available on every successfully filled prescription, $1.00 per prescription can be used to support county programs such as veterans services, health clinics and more. Ask us about it!
County News is NACo’s official, award-winning publication that every two weeks brings you the news from Washington, D.C. and from counties across the country. County News is mailed to your office, e-mailed to your inbox and available online. All member counties receive County News. If you’d like to request additional subscriptions or change your address, please e-mail us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Something interesting happening in your county? Have a successful program you want to brag about? County News is always looking for story ideas! Send story ideas to: email@example.com
More info: www.NACo.org/News
Want to learn more about a specific issue or gain a new skill? NACo offers a variety of informational webinars where subject experts share their knowledge and perspective of the major issues affecting counties and impart important leadership skills. These in depth trainings are available for free to member counties.
More info: www.NACo.org/Webinars
Sample Webinar Topics:
Removing Barriers to Solar Energy: SolSmart Overview
Miss the live webinar session?
No problem! Recordings are posted online and are available 12 months after the webinar occurs.
Mapping County Data
County Explorer includes the latest available data for 3,069 counties across 19 categories, over 110 datasets, more than 1,000 indicators and 15 types of county profiles.
More info: www.NACo.org/CountyExplorer
NACo County Explorer Features
- Detailed data-points on every county
- Monthly updates bring the latest data to your fingertips
- Benchmark counties quickly using the color-coded interactive map
- Print PDF county or state profiles on major issues for counties
County officials make difficult decisions every day, and NACo understands how important it is to have high quality information at your fingertips. From justice to economic development to health and county finances, we’ve got you covered on the evolving fiscal, political and policy issues that will shape the future of county government. The studies, publications and reports are a wealth of knowledge, analytics and data you can access for free online.
More info: www.NACo.org/Publications
Publication topics include:
NACo’s work has been cited by:
Wall Street Journal
New York Times
Fox Business Network
Sometimes you just need to see people face-to-face. NACo’s conferences, symposiums, forums and other events are a great chance to hear from policy experts, exchange best practices on issues that matter to you and to network with peers from across the nation. All NACo events are reduced cost or free for members, so be sure to add one (or more) to your calendar.
More info: www.NACo.org/Events
Want Free Registration?
You can get a free conference registration if you recruit a new member county, the new member gets one free registration as well.
“I was VERY impressed with the seminars, how much I came back with, and if our county investment doesn’t pay back 10-fold, 30-fold or 100-fold I’d be surprised. Because I came back with information that will help make our county more efficient, better serve the people and save tax dollars.”
The Hon. Robert Thomas, Commissioner, Franklin County, Pa.
Sample workshops from this year’s annual conference:
COUNTY COMMUNICATIONS AND THE CHALLENGE OF FIGHTING FAKE NEWS
REGULATING MARIJUANA: EMERGING CHALLENGES AND BEST PRACTICES
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOLS FOR RETAIL - WHAT’S IN YOUR WALLET?
THE GIG ECONOMY: THE RISE OF THE FREELANCE WORKFORCE
THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC’S PUBLIC HEALTH IMPACTS
APPLYING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO COMBAT THE RANSOMWARE CRISIS
LEADING, MANAGING, DEVELOPING AND KEEPING MILLENNIALS
The NACo Achievement Awards program provides national recognition to county governments for their innovative programs. Hundreds of programs are highlighted every year in a variety of categories. These award-winning programs are judged based on their own merits and according to set criteria. Applications are due in the spring and the winners are announced at the NACo Annual Conference.
More info: www.NACo.org/Awards
HOW TO APPLY:
Applicants must submit a written nomination summary detailing the program.
WHERE TO APPLY:
Programs must have started after January 1, 2012
Early Bird: $75
Award winners in last 5 years: 2,468
Award winning counties in last 5 years: 247
ARTS, CULTURE AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION
CHILDREN AND YOUTH
CIVIC EDUCATION AND PUBLIC INFORMATION
COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
COUNTY ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT
CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY
COUNTY RESILIENCY: INFRASTRUCTURE, ENERGY AND SUSTAINABILITY
PARKS AND RECREATION
PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT, EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING
RISK AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
Are you ready for the most intensive and rewarding leadership development program available to emerging county leaders? Using curriculum designed by Cambridge Leadership Associates, CLI provides a rigorous, four-day course designed to enhance participants’ leadership skills through a series of modules, simulations and issue expert speakers.
Want to Participate?
State association executive directors nominate two candidates and 25-30 are selected to participate in the course each year.
Did You Know?
CLI graduates maintain a vibrant alumni network. Friends made at CLI become valued contacts and partners for many years to come.
More info: www.NACo.org/CLI
One of the most common questions county officials receive is “What does a county official do?” Too many of our residents don’t understand the role counties play in our democracy and the responsibilities of county officials. NACo works to provide you with the tools to answer that question and educate the public about why counties matter.
Did you know that counties own 46 percent of our nation’s roads and nearly 1,000 hospitals? Do your constituents know? This campaign, in print, video and on the web, showcases the important role counties play. Order copies for a county event, broadcast the video on your public access channel and educate your residents about how much counties matter.
More info: www.NACo.org/CountiesMatter
COUNTY GOVERNMENT MONTH
Held each April since 1991, National County Government Month is a time to highlight effective county programs. NACo makes a toolkit every year to help your county host events and activities that raise public awareness about the various services your county provides the community. We help you get the word out through the press too. Start planning your National County Government Month events today!
Ideas for County Government Month events:
- Mobile pet vaccination clinic
- Geocaching tour to explore county history
- Hold an open house to showcase county services
- Organize a day of service or volunteer fair
- Tours of county facilities
- County Official For A Day event to invite students to shadow county officials
- Essay, poster or coloring contest for kids
- A virtual ride-along (via social media) with the fire department
More info: www.NACo.org/NCGM
Teachers are always looking for help with civics curriculum NACo is here to help with our acclaimed Counties Work game and County Solutions curriculum. This game, updated in 2017, allows students of all ages to play the role of a county official and resolve resident issues in a fictional county. The curriculum has reached approximately 550,000 students as well as more than 1.23 million game plays in the past 5 years.
More info: www.NACo.org/iCivics
FLAG RETIREMENT PROGRAM
NACo member counties can get free flag disposal boxes courtesy of NACo and the National Flag Foundation. Place them at county buildings to provide convenient locations for residents to retire old or damaged U.S. flags. Let us know if you’d like a free flag disposal box!
More info: www.NACo.org/Flag
Ever wish you had an expert on staff to handle a particular technical issue that arises? Wish you had a team of researchers familiar with county issues? Well, with NACo on your side, you do. Our staff provides direct technical assistance in many important areas and is part of your NACo membership.
Want to make it easier for your county to go solar? The SolSmart program aims to help counties address local barriers to solar energy development, such as soft costs and red tape.
Participating in SolSmart gives counties access to no-cost solar technical assistance and the opportunity to host a solar expert advisor to work directly with county officials in order to help accomplish solar goals and become more solar-friendly.
More info: www.SolSmart.org
BUILDING STRONGER ECONOMIES IN COAL-RELIANT COMMUNITIES
NACo provides technical assistance to support county and regional leaders in coal-reliant communities with retooling their economies to become more resilient to changing conditions.
As part of this program, NACo has hosts technical assistance workshops and maintains a clearinghouse of resources related to transitioning economies.
More info: www.NACo.org/InnovationChallenge
Children's Impact Network
The first years of life are critical for a child’s later success. NACo helps counties establish and enhance policy, expand upon existing strategies, build capacity, bolster resources and address programmatic gaps for individuals under 3.
More info: www.NACo.org/ChildrensImpact
Local Leadership in Ending the Opioid Epidemic
A joint report from NACo and the National League of Cities examines how cities and counties can strengthen collaboration with each other and state, federal, private-sector and non-profit partners to tackle the opioid crisis.
More info: www.OpioidAction.org
RURAL IMPACT COUNTY CHALLENGE
This national initiative seeks to advance counties’ efforts to reduce the number of rural children and families living in poverty. Counties receive coaching in creating and implementing a plan to provide services to and economically develop rural communities.
More info: www.NACo.org/Ruralimpact
DATA-DRIVEN JUSTICEJoin this initiative to build on successfully implemented data-driven strategies, share best practices and discuss how to overcome common barriers to using data in order to identify and divert people charged with low-level offenses, and those with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders, out of the criminal justice system and into effective, community-based care.
More info: www.NACo.org/DataDrivenJustice
STEPPING UP INITIATIVE
The number of people with mental illness in U.S. jails has reached crisis levels. In counties across the nation, jails now have more people with mental illnesses than psychiatric hospitals. NACo provides you with the tools to develop an actionable plan with measurable outcomes to address this critical issue.
More info: www.NACo.org/SteppingUp
Click below to view resolutions passed by each of the participating counties.