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County Solutions and Innovation Blog​​
Managing Integrity and Civility Leadership Series

Written by Shaunda Ragland​, Associate, Education and Training
During the 2015 NACo Legislative Conference, Stu Brody, Founder of Integrity Intensive, served as the facilitator for the Integrity and Civility Management workshop. Workshop attendees were able to interactively examine the customary ways in which most people think of integrity and civility. The Integrity and Civility Management workshop served as a precursor for the upcoming Managing Integrity and Civility Leadership Series. 

This learning continuum will take place over the course of five webinars created to further examine and challenge the typical understanding most have about integrity and civility. The series will more broadly focus on the qualities of values-based leadership. Using a pedagogical approach, Mr. Brody will empower public leaders to accept and own integrity and civility as interdependent skills essential to values-based leadership.  These skills will be interactively analyzed throughout the Managing Integrity and Civility Leadership Series.  Participants will acquire a new perspective regarding the dynamics of decision-making and the qualities of leadership.  

The first webinar in the Managing Integrity and Civility Leadership Series will take place on Thursday, April 16th, 2:00 PM-3:15 PM EDT.  Click here to register!

Visit the 2015 NACo Legislative Conference Learning Center to view a recording of the Integrity and Civility Management workshop!  You will need your NAC...

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5 days ago | 0

Seven Teams Selected to Attend First Innovation Challenge Workshop in Pikeville, Ky.


NACo and the NADO Research Foundation, with support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), are pleased to announce the seven teams selected to participate in the first round of the Innovation Challenge for Coal Reliant Communities.  These teams will participate in an economic diversification workshop and gain access to additional resources to support job creation, business growth and economic prosperity in counties and regions that are experiencing economic challenges due to the contraction of the coal industry. 

Led by counties and regional development organizations and including a broad range of other public and private sector partners, these teams participated in a competitive process earlier this year to win spots for the first workshop, to be held in Pikeville, Ky., in late April.

The winning teams are led by:

  • Big Sandy Area Development District, Ky.
    • ​Representing Ky. counties of Floyd, Johnson, Martin, Magoffin and Pike
  • ​Cumberland Valley Area Development District, Ky.
    • Representing Harlan County, Ky.
  • FIVCO Area Development District, Ky.
    • Representing Ky. counties of Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Greenup and Lawrence
  • LENOWISCO Planning District Commission, Va.
    • Representing Wise County, Va.
  • Moffat County, Colo.
  • Perry County, Ky.
  • Reconnecting McDowell, Inc., W.Va.
    • Representing McDowell County, W.Va.

For the complete list of team members, see

The seven interdisciplinary teams will attend a three-day training workshop in Pikeville and benefit from individual assistance before and after the event that will help them implem...

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6 days ago | 0

NACo Leadership Participates in French-American Forum on Local Governments and Sustainability

Written by Alix Kashdan, Senior Intern, Community and Economic Development

“Road to COP21” banner in the French Embassy.  Source: NACo.

On March 5 and 6, the Embassy of France hosted “Focus 2015: A Forum of Communities for Urban Sustainability” in Washington, D.C.  The two-day conference gathered local government representatives from across the United States and France to discuss and share stories of sustainability and resiliency.  Local governments will play an important role at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015, and the Focus 2015 Forum established a dialogue between French and American municipal governments in preparation for the December conference.

The Forum provided educational and discussion opportunities through workshops, panels, roundtables and speakers.  Topics included transportation, land use, energy, water, resiliency, urban policy and finance for sustainability.  Linda Langston, NACo’s Immediate Past President and Supervisor from Linn County, Iowa, spoke in the forum’s Resiliency Workshops (presentation available here) and participated in a roundtable entitled “On the Road to Paris Climate Conference – Local Leaders Can Make the Difference." 

Supervisor Langston explained the role of counties in the United States, stressing the importance of local governments for maintaining critical infrastructure and adopting ordinances that impact the resiliency and sustainability of local communities. “It was great to be...

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2 weeks ago | 0

Four Counties Selected as Awardees in National Pay for Success Competition

​Written by Kathy Rowings, NACo Program Manager.


Third Sector Capital Partners, Inc. (Third Sector), a grantee of the Social Innovation Fund’s Pay for Success program, announced today the selection of seven awardees—four of which are counties—to receive federally funded technical assistance to assess the feasibility of implementing Pay for Success (PFS). Awardees (referred to as “Sub-Recipients”) have demonstrated commitment to funding high-quality, effective social interventions that produce measurable outcomes in the areas of early childhood education and health, child welfare, teen pregnancy and workforce development. The four county Sub-Recipients are:

Travis County/Austin, Texas, with leadership from the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department, will focus on determining the feasibility of PFS for reducing teen pregnancies among Hispanic youth and improving birth outcomes among African Americans.

Orange County, Calif., and Bridges Network, with leadership from the Children and Families Commission of Orange County and Bridges Maternal Child Health Network, will build on previous PFS feasibility work to improve maternal and child health through early childhood universal screening and home visiting programs.

Clark County, Nev., in partnership with the state of Nevada and the city of Las Vegas, will focus on improving school readiness and academic performance for disadvantaged children through PFS supported early childhood...

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3 weeks ago | 0

Applications Open for the NACo County Health Learning Challenge!


In partnership with the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, NACo presents an opportunity for up to three county teams to participate in the County Health Learning Challenge. Using the Roadmaps to Health Take Action Cycle, this year-long collaborative challenge is intended to help the selected County Health Learning teams develop and strengthen cross-sector partnerships, select potential policy, systems and environmental changes to improve county health and put ideas into action to build a Culture of Health in their counties.


Who is Eligible?

  • The County Health Learning Challenge is open to all NACo member counties.  All applications should include:
  • A county elected official lead applicant
  • Teams that include multiple sectors, both public and private, as identified in the Roadmaps to Health Take Action Cycle
  • Focus area(s) that align with the County Health Rankings model, and
  • Goals and strategies that reflect progress that can be reasonably attained over a year.

Why Should You Apply?

Selected County Health Learning teams will be presented with a number of unique opportunities to make progress towards building a Culture of Health, learn from peer County Health Learning teams and share their efforts with the NACo membership. These opportunities include:

  • Roadmaps to Health Community Coaching, provided through the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, will offer tools and guidance to support the work of each team
  • Participation in a collaborative with selected peer County Health Learning teams
  • Up to two tra...
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3 weeks ago | 0

NACo Releases New Waste Energy Recovery Issue Brief

Written by Rob Pressly​, NACo Program Manager.​

NACo recently released a new issue brief, Waste Energy Recovery: Renewable Energy from County Landfills.  This new report serves as a guide for county leaders to better understand the process of recovering energy from waste, and provides resources to help counties develop and finance energy-from-waste projects.

Each year, Americans collectively generate about 251 million tons of waste.  Nearly half of this waste is recycled or composted, but that still leaves about 135 tons of waste that get sent to landfills in counties throughout the U.S.  This can pose a number of issues for counties, including:

  • Costs associated with creating new landfills;

  • Costs associated with transporting waste across county or state lines when local landfills retire; and

  • Decreased air quality from methane and carbon dioxide emissions at landfills.

To avoid these issues, counties across the country have turned to alternative methods of handling municipal solid waste.  Two such methods include landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) and waste-to-energy (WTE).  LFGTE and WTE projects can provide counties with a number of financial and environmental benefits. Some of them include:

  • Generating new revenue: Counties can sell electricity generated on-site to local utilities or sell compressed natural gas collected to users to generate reliable sources of revenue.

  • Creating new jobs: Construction and maintenance of WTE and LFGTE facilities provide opportunities for temporary and permanent jobs.  On average, a 1,500-tons per day WTE facility leads to 248 direct jobs and 52 indirect jobs during the construction phase.  Once in operation, an average of 59 new direct jobs is created to operate and maintain the facility.

  • Increasing recycling ra...

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4 weeks ago | 0

Pipeline safety grant opportunity and new resources for counties

Written by Jen Horton, NACo Program Manager.
ew Technical Assistance Grants (TAG) Opportunity!
The U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is now accepting applications for the 2015 Technical Assistance Grants (TAG) for communities or impacted stakeholders seeking engineering, or other scientific analysis of issues relating to pipeline infrastructure.  Governmental entities or non-profit groups may qualify for a grant of up to $100,000 per year.  Applicants must be local communities or groups of individuals relating to the safety of pipeline facilities in local communities.  ‘Communities’ are defined as cities, towns, villages, counties, parishes, townships, and similar governmental subdivisions or consortia of such subdivisions.  For-profit entities are not eligible. 

  • The announcement can be found by using the “SEARCH GRANTS” tab at

    • Search by Funding Opportunity Number DTPH5615SN0002

  • The closing date for applications is April 22, 2015. 

  • For more information, or to apply for a grant, please contact Karen Lynch at

Additional Pipeline Safety Resources
The Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA) initiative– made up of stakeholders from all levels of government and representatives of pipeline and building industries – focuses on issues related to the potential impact of land use, and development around transmission pipelines.   Since forming in 2008, PIPA representatives have worked to address the protection of pipelines when considering or planning for development near a pipeline right-of-way.  The result was recommended practices to safeguard com...

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5 weeks ago | 0

​Painting the Town: Arts Partnerships Lead to Economic Victories in Clayton County, Ga.

By Alix Kashdan​, Senior Intern, Community and Economic Development

NACo is dedicated to supporting county leaders seeking to develop and implement creative strategies that foster economic growth.  This is the first post in a two-part blog series highlighting successful arts-based economic development projects.

Arts Clayton Gallery. Source: Arts Clayton.

Clayton County, Ga. has a population of 264,220 and is located just south of Atlanta.  One of the county’s priorities is investing in the arts, which has proved to be a fruitful investment.  Some of the county’s recent successes, which integrate support for the arts with economic development goals, include a partnership for historic preservation and an innovative education and workforce training program.

Clayton County’s historic preservation work emerged from the marked population changes the region has seen in recent years: Since the early 2000s, the county has experienced population growth due to rapid outward expansion from Atlanta’s urban core.  The influx of residents, needing new places to live, began to threaten culturally important historic centers like the Jonesboro Historic District, found in the county seat of in Jonesboro and listed on the National Register of Historic Places (and known by many as the setting of Gone with the Wind).  The county’s historic centers are home to a number of important ...

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5 weeks ago | 0

(NACo Podcasts) Optimizing Health, Justice & Public Safety in Your County


This past January, NACo held a joint Healthy Counties Initiative and Justice and Public Safety forum in Charleston S.C. This video podcast takes a look at two of the issues discussed during the forum: addressing racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system, and the intersection of behavioral health and justice systems.

During the podcast, we hear from Commissioner Joan Garner and Commissioner Katie “Kay” Cashion, respective chairs of the NACo Healthy Counties Initiative Advisory Board and NACo Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee, as well as James Bell, founder and executive director of the W. Haywood Burns Institute, and Judge Steve Leifman of the Miami-Dade County Court Criminal Division.

Subscribing to NACo Podcasts is simple.  If you are using an Apple device, while on your device, click the "Subscribe Via iTunes" button below.  Once subscribed, new episdoes will be automatically pushed to your device.  For other devices, subscribe via RSS, or download today's episode directly to your device.  Click here for a full listing of NACo Podcasts episodes.


This podcast features information and data presented at during the NACo Healthy Counties Initiative and Justice and Public Safety forum, including statistics presented by James Bell and Judge Leifman during their sessions. 

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7 weeks ago | 0

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Featured in January NACo Creating Healthy Counties Newsletter

Written by Andrew Whitacre, NACo Health Associate.
The January 2015 issue of the NACo Creating Health Counties Newsletter features a Q&A with U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center Executive Director Marc DeCourcey. The article focuses on the role of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and its local Chambers in community health improvement efforts, how county elected officials and county staff can engage the Chamber Foundation and their local Chambers of Commerce and the role the Chamber Foundation plays in the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program.

In this issue you can also read recaps of many of the 2015 NACo Health, Justice and Public Safety Forum workshops held in Charleston County, S.C. from January 21-23, listen to a NACo podcast on the six Community Dialogues to Improve County Health held in 2014 and read about work being done in counties across the country to improve the health of their communities.

Read the 2015 January issue of the NACo Creating Health Counties Newsletter here.

2 months ago | 0

Counties Find a "Roadmap" Useful When Working Across Jurisdictions

This post is part of a series of guest blog posts from the Center for Sharing Public Health Services.

In remote south-central Colorado, the San Luis Valley sits in the high desert, horseshoed by the San Juan Mountains to the west and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east. The Rio Grande River connects the region to its New Mexico neighbor to the south.

The area is isolated — it is about a four-hour drive to Denver. It is also sparsely populated — the mountains, along with the state line, enclose about 8,000 square miles and 45,000 people. The largest town, Alamosa, has less than 9,000 residents.

At a mile and a half above sea level, temperatures become frigid during winter months. The geographic isolation and extreme weather make for rugged conditions but, as Saguache County Commissioner Linda Joseph put it, “That’s just the way we like it.”

The region contains six counties — Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache. Each has its own county commission. However, for decades they have also tackled issues together through the San Luis Valley County Commissioners Association. A second group, the San Luis Valley Council of Governments, brings together cities, counties and economic development groups in the region to work jointly. 

“We really didn’t realize how unique we were,” Commissioner Joseph said when asked ...

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2 months ago | 0

Forum Recap: Systems of Care in Juvenile Justice and Mental Health

(Left to right) Mary Jo Meyers, Deputy Director, Wraparound Milwaukee; Dr. Altha Stewart, Director, Just Care Family Network; and Denise Sulzbach, Director, Policy and Strategic Development, Institute for Innovation and Implementation, University of Maryland, School of Social Work.

This morning, NACo’s Forum on Optimizing Health, Justice and Public Safety opened with a session that focused on Systems of Care in Juvenile Justice and Mental Health.  The session was moderated by Ms. Denise Sulzbach who is the Director of Policy and Strategic Development at The Institute for Innovation and Implementation, University of Maryland School of Social Work. Mary Jo Meyers, Deputy Director of Wraparound Milwaukee, spoke about Wraparound Milwaukee in Milwaukee County, Wis. and Dr. Altha Stewart, Executive Director of Just Care Family Network spoke about the Just Care Family Network program in Shelby County, Tenn.

Systems of Care rely on research and science that are data driven to encompass cultural and linguistic competence, community based programs, youth-guided programs and family-driven programs.  Elements of the program include mental health, child welfare, juvenile justice, education, and caregivers.  Wraparound Milwaukee serves 1,100 families.  They partner with Medicaid, Juvenile Justice, Child Welfare, and Child Mental Health.  Just Care Family Network services children from ages 5-19 with emotional disturbances who are at risk of being taken out ...

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2 months ago | 0