Otsego County’s Ken Borton is congratulated on his completion of the County Leadership Institute by NACo Executive Director Matt Chase and NACo Director of Strategic Relations Linda Langston. (NACo photo)
Otsego County Board Chair Ken Borton, also MAC’s second vice president, “graduated” in June from the County Leadership Institute (CLI) put on by the National Association of Counties (NACo). With the “rigorous four-day program offered in partnership with Cambridge Leadership Associates, NACo aims to enhance the capability of county officials to identify and implement innovative solutions to complex challenges facing county government. Attendees learn how to effectively address the demands of personal leadership in a new era of government. This era is characterized as a “permanent crisis” by CLI Program Developer and Cambridge Leadership co-founder Marty Linsky.”
MAC News asked Borton what lessons he drew from the training:
- I learned how to better run a meeting including how to allow constructive engagement of people with opposing viewpoints. This will make for better input on issues prior to making any decisions. They used a great analogy: If you want to make great stew, you can’t just put in one or two of your favorite ingredients and expect it to turn out right. You have to put in a lot of ingredients, including some you may not think you like. Then you have to apply just the right amount of heat in order to make it meld together. On the other hand, if you have all the correct ingredients and apply too much heat, you will just boil over. If you apply too little heat, you will wind up with mush. For me, I found out that I always try to turn down the heat at meetings by using humor. I have a feeling with a little more heat my meetings will be much more productive.
- One of the great things about the program was that I made connections with commissioners from all of the country. There are many issues faced by all counties, regardless of which state they are in. It’s an invaluable resource to have these contacts to learn from.
- The training left me highly motivated to work with my fellow community leaders to help create a community-wide vision for social and economic growth.
For more information on CLI, visit NACo’s website.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) urges counties to participate in the following call:
“Join the Stepping Up partners for the second Stepping Up Network Call: a deeper dive into the question “Do we conduct timely screening and assessments?” which is featured in the publication Reducing the Number of People with Mental Illness in Jails: Six Questions County Leaders Need to Ask. On this call, a representative from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services will discuss specific mental health screening tools and protocols used in regional and local jails. In addition, representatives from Champaign County, IL, and Douglas County, KS, will be available to discuss their counties’ screening and assessment processes and respond to participants’ questions. Prior to the call, participants should join or review the “Conducting Timely Mental Health Screening and Assessment in Jails” webinar, which will occur on Thursday, April 6 at 2pm ET. The webinar will be recorded and posted on the Stepping Up Toolkit”
Click here to register for the call.
Charlotte Williams, the first African American to be president of the National Association of Counties’ Board and the first African-American woman to be elected to the Genesee County Board, was remembered by MAC’s Tim McGuire as “a really, really sharp lady.”
Williams passed away in January.
She served for more than a decade in Genesee County and in the late 1970s became the second woman to lead NACo’s Board.
McGuire, who recently stepped down as MAC’s executive director, shared some memories of Williams with NACo in this week’s edition of County News.
Jerry Doucette, chair of the Alger County Board of Commissioners, has been appointed a member of the National Association of Counties (NACo) Board. The appointment was made on Dec. 9 at a NACo Board session in Tallahassee, Fla.
Doucette, who also serves on the Michigan Association of Counties’ Board as Immediate Past President, was selected to replace Oceana County Commissioner Evelyn Kolbe, who passed away in November.
“With this board appointment, I will be able to continue my work on the Economic Development and Workforce Committee, the Rural Action Caucus, Veterans Committee and Membership Committee with NACO,” Doucette said. “It is so important for MAC and NACo to partner together to protect counties’ needs for funding and continue to be the voices of county government to state and federal governmental leaders.”
The NACo Board “governs the strategic goals, policies and priorities of the association, as well as oversees the association’s policies, business and property.”
“We are pleased that Jerry Doucette will be able to continue Evelyn’s fine work on behalf of Michigan at the national level,” said Stephan W. Currie, MAC’s executive director. “Jerry’s knowledge of the issues, gained from extensive service with MAC and NACo, will pay off for Michigan’s county governments.”
Tax reform, protecting Medicaid and immigration reform are just three of several 2015 legislative priorities for the National Association of Counties.
As NACo recently reported, “The 2015 legislative priorities are tax reform, protecting the federal-state-local partnership for Medicaid, transportation reauthorization, approval of the Marketplace Fairness Act, funding for Payment In Lieu of Taxes and Secure Rural Schools, rejection of the ‘Waters of the U.S.’ proposal rule and immigration reform that addresses issues impacting county government.”
MAC members may recall coverage of the “Waters of the U.S.” issue in the October 2014 edition of Michigan Counties (see page 6).
In the October edition of Michigan Counties, the “Ask the Expert” feature focused on the definition of “Waters of the United States” and how it is important for counties to give their views during the comment period on the federal Clean Water Act by Oct. 20, 2014.
Good news. As just reported here by the National Association of Counties, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers have agreed to extend the comment period to Nov. 14, 2014.
Six Michigan counties were honored recently in the 2014 Digital Counties Survey sponsored by the National Association of Counties and the Center for Digital Government.
Oakland County was Michigan’s highest finisher after achieving 4th Place in the categories of counties with 500,000 residents or more. Also honored were Allegan, Berrien, Eaton, Jackson and Ottawa counties.
“Counties across the country are using technology to enhance services, maximize efficiency and save money,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew D. Chase in statement announcing the awards. “The Digital Counties Survey recognizes counties’ best practices and effective uses of technology to better serve their communities.”
500,000 or more residents
Oakland County, 4th
250,000 to 499,999
Ottawa County, 7th
150,000 to 249,999
Berrien County, 6th
Jackson County, 8th
Up to 150,000
Eaton County, 8th
Allegan County, 9th
The National Association of Counties (NACo) legislative conference was held this week in Washington D.C.. As part of this annual conference, MAC meets with our congressional delegation to talk about federal issues affecting counties. This year the major topics for discussion included:
- The Farm Bill and PILT Payments
- Tax Exempt Municipal Bonds
- Waters of the U.S. Guidance Proposal – Federal Overreach to Control Michigan Waters
- Medicaid Expansion and Medicaid Coverage for Pre-Trial Detainees
- Federal MAP-21 Transportation Funding and;
- Marketplace Fairness (sales tax on e-commerce)
MAC would especially like to thank Senators Levin and Stabenow for their consistent dedication to meeting with all of our conference attendees each year to discuss issues of importance to counties. This annual tradition affords our commissioners quality time to have questions answered and to relay upcoming issues of concern to Michigan counties. If you would like more information about the issues MAC members discussed with their congressmen, please follow this link to our federal briefing sheet: 2014 MAC Federal Briefing Sheet