Publication

Membership Guide

Welcome to NACo, the only national organization that represents county governments. The NACo President, the officers, Board of Directors and staff thank you for your support and participation in the association. You have joined an exclusive group of nearly 2,300 county, borough and parish members nationwide. Our mission is to assist America’s counties in pursuing excellence in public service. We are committed to providing you with first class programs and services.

NACo Membership

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 25 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

Contact: membership@naco.org

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 Structure

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 80
1 per state 47
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
Past Presidents 6
Executive Committee 8

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.

Executive Committee

Roy Charles Brooks
President
Commissioner
Tarrant County, Texas
Greg Cox Second
First Vice President
Supervisor
San Diego, Calif
Mary Ann Borgeson
Second Vice President
Commissioner
Douglas County, Neb.
Bryan Desloge
Past President
Commissioner
Leon County, Fla.
Gordon Cruickshank
West Regional Representative
Commissioner
Valley County, Idaho
Cindy Bobbitt
Central Regional Representative
Commissioner
Grant County, Okla
Ruby Brabo
South Regional
Representative
Supervisor
King George County, Va.
Christian Leinbach
Northeast Regional Representative
Commission Chair
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.

Executive Director

Matthew Chase
Executive Director

Responsibilities: The executive director is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs and strategic plan of the organization.

NACo Staff

Responsibilities: Implements and administers the association’s programs and strategic plan.

NACo Timeline

January

January 1
Membership dues are due
Early January
Healthy Counties Forum
Late January
Interim policy resolutions must be submitted
End of January
Deadline to file as 2nd VP candidate

February

Late February
NACo Legislative Conference (NACo Board Meeting)

March

Early Spring
Achievement Award submission deadline

May

May
Infrastructure Week
Mid-May
Election credentials information sent out
Late-May
Deadline for presidential appointments
Late-May
Western Interstate Region (WIR) Conference (NACo Board Meeting)

June

Early-June
Early-Bird Annual Registration
Mid-June
Steering Committee nomination deadline (apply through state association)
Mid-June
Policy resolutions and platform changes must be submitted

July

Mid-July
Annual Conference (NACo Board Meeting)
Mid-July
Presidential Appointments Announced
Mid-July
Achievement Awards Presentation

September

Early September
PILT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) Fly-in
September
Membership dues invoices sent

October

Early October
Rural Action Caucus (RAC) symposium
Mid-October
NCCAE Annual Meeting

November

November
Steering committee calls to set policy priorities

December

Early December
NACo Fall Board Meeting
Early December
Board approval of policy priorities

NACo 2017 FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

PROTECT THE TAX-EXEMPT STATUS OF MUNICIPAL BONDS

75% of our nation’s public infrastructure projects are completed using bond financing

PROTECT THE FEDERAL-STATE-LOCAL PARTNERSHIP FOR MEDICAID

Counties own and support 961 hospitals and 883 nursing homes, 750 behavioral health authorities and serve 1,944 local health departments across the country

PROMOTE COUNTY SURFACE TRANSPORTATION PRIORITIES AND RESOLVE THE SOLVENCY OF THE HIGHWAY TRUST FUND

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 BEHAVIORAL HEALTH AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

11.6 million individuals, many 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 TO ADDRESS THE LOCAL COSTS OF FEDERAL LANDS

62.8% of counties have federal land within their boundaries

SUPPORT PROGRAMS THAT ASSIST COUNTIES IN FIGHTING POVERTY

Counties invest over $58 billion in human services each year

More info:
www.NACo.org/Advocacy
Contact:
advocacy@naco.org

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.

MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS

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

Member Advocacy

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

Resolution Format:

  1. Issue statement: state the purpose of the resolution
  2. Proposed Policy section: specify a position or action by NACo
  3. Background section: outline the county interest in the issue
  4. Fiscal/Urban/Rural Impact section: address impact for counties in these areas 

Resolutions Process

Resolutions Process

All NACo member counties decide what issues NACo advocates for in Washington. This is the process by which NACo policy is determined.

Committees

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
  • Health
  • Human Services and Education
  • Justice and Public Safety
  • Public Lands
  • Telecommunications and Technology
  • Transportation

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:
www.naco.org/presidential_appointments

Grants Clearinghouse

The NACo Grants Clearinghouse is a one-stop shop for grants information, featuring up-to-date listings of hundreds of federal, state, corporate and foundation grants available to NACo member counties and community-based organizations. The Grants Clearinghouse is an exclusive benefit for NACo member counties.

HOW TO GET STARTED:

  • Go to www.NACo.org/Grants
  • Sign in using your NACo login information (or create an account)
  • Browse all available grants
  • Follow each grant’s instructions for submitting an application or RFP

More info:
www.NACo.org/Grants

Contact:
grants@naco.org 

U.S. Communities

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:

  1. Register for free at www.uscommunities.org
  2. Browse the full catalog of goods and services available through a wide variety of suppliers
  3. Start purchasing and saving via the online marketplace at www.uscommunities.org/shop or by working directly with a supplier

Using U.S. Communities is as easy as online shopping. Point, click and save!

More info: www.NACo.org/USCommunities

Contact: uscommunities@naco.org

DID YOU KNOW?

Did you know that U.S. Communities offers NARCAN Nasal Spray (life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug) at a significant discount through the Premier contract?

Deferred Compensation

Provides deferred compensation to over 3,000 counties and special district participants through a partnership with Nationwide Retirement Solutions.

TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF THE DEFERRED COMPENSATION PROGRAM:

  1. Nationwide Retirement Institute workshops available to employees such as Social Security and post-retirement healthcare
  2. A Nationwide presence and link on the county’s website
  3. Opportunity for Nationwide Retirement specialists to present the program at new employee orientation sessions
  4. Be a participant and champion of the program as well as identify other participant/champions within the other county departments
  5. 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 retirement@naco.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.

More info:
www.NACo.org/Retirement

Contact:
retirement@naco.org 

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 membership@naco.org to get the contract.

More info: www.NACo.org/Health

Contact: membership@naco.org

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 & Analysis

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: membership@naco.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: cnews@naco.org

More info: www.NACo.org/News

Contact: cnews@naco.org 

Webinars

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

More info: www.NACo.org/Podcasts

Sample Webinar Topics:

Miss the live webinar session?

No problem! Recordings are posted online and are available 12 months after the webinar occurs. And if you’re on the go, the NACo podcast is the perfect way to keep up-to-date on county issues and NACo activities.

County Explorer

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

Contact: research@naco.org

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

Publications & Research

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

Contact: countysolutions@naco.org and research@naco.org

Publication topics include:

NACo’s work has been cited by:

Wall Street Journal

Washington Post

Forbes magazine

New York Times

Fox Business Network

CNN

Governing magazine

Chicago Tribune

Conferences & Events

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

Contact: events@naco.org

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

NACo Achievement Awards

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

Contact: awards@naco.org

Counties Matter Challenge: 100 Brilliant Ideas At Work

In conjunction with the NACo Achievement Awards, Past President Bryan Desloge launched a friendly competition to identify and share 100 examples of excellence in county government. Among the NACo Achievement Award nominees, 100 programs were selected and showcased as national models for innovation and leadership.

HOW TO APPLY:

Applicants must submit a written nomination summary detailing the program.

WHERE TO APPLY:

www.NACo.org/Awards

ELIGIBILITY:

Programs must have started after January 1, 2012

APPLICATION FEE:

Early Bird: $75
Regular: $100
Award winners in last 5 years: 2,468
Award winning counties in last 5 years: 247 

Award Categories:

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

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

HEALTH

HUMAN SERVICES

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

LIBRARIES

PARKS AND RECREATION

PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT, EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING

PLANNING

RISK AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

TRANSPORTATION

VOLUNTEERS

County Leadership Institute

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

Contact: leadershipinstitute@naco.org

Public Awareness

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.

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

COUNTIES WORK

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

Technical Assistance

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.

SOLSMART

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

Contact: countysolutions@naco.org

RESEARCH REQUESTS

Looking for a sample ordinance? Need metrics or benchmarking data? Whatever your research needs, NACo’s dedicated team can help!

NACo members are encouraged to send their research questions to: research@naco.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

Contact: countysolutions@naco.org

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

Contact: countysolutions@naco.org

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

Contact: countysolutions@naco.org 

Participating Counties

Click below to view resolutions passed by each of the participating counties.

Related News

Related Resources

Upcoming Events