LELA Recognition FAQs

What counts toward recognition?

Commissioners earn credits toward recognition for attending educational opportunities sponsored by the Association and UNC School of Government. The number of credits awarded per program is determined according to a chart, and is advertised in descriptive materials for each program.

What are the benefits of achieving recognition?

Commissioners who achieve recognition on any of the 3 levels are provided a certificate from the NCACC and the UNC School of Government, a lapel pin, and Local Elected Leaders Academy name badge ribbons to display at Association events. The Association also provides a press release to your county to use to announce your achievement to your local media. Commissioners who ascend to the “Master” or “Mentor” levels are formally recognized during a general session at the Association’s Annual Conference.

The Association looks to these recognized commissioners - particularly those at the Mentor level - to serve as ambassadors for the Association. Our partners at the UNC School of Government also look to Mentors to provide guidance and real-world perspective for proposed educational opportunities and training events.

I have loads of credits. How is it I haven’t achieved any level of recognition?

Courses (and therefor credits) are categorized as “Orientation,” “Workshops and Programs,” or “NCACC Programs and Service to the Association.” Essentials of County Government is the only program that you can receive the required 18 “Orientation” credits, so you must attend Essentials before you can receive recognition. In some cases, commissioners have earned many credits in the “NCACC Programs and Service” category for participation on steering committees and attendance at NCACC conferences and meetings, but have not attended courses offered by the School of Government or pre-conference workshops that fall under the “Workshops and Programs” category.

A certain number of credits is needed in each category before a commissioner can achieve a level of recognition. For example, in order to achieve “Practitioner” status, a commissioner must have attended the Essentials of County Government program (in order to earn the required 18 “Orientation” credits), must have earned 18 “Workshops/Programs” credits, and have earned 12 “NCACC Programs and Service” credits.

The following table shows the number of credits needed in each category to obtain recognition:

Program category

Credits needed to reach PRACTITIONER level

Additional credits over Practitioner to reach MASTER level

Additional credits over Master to reach MENTOR level





Workshops and Programs




Association-Sponsored Programs and Service to Association




Examples of “Workshops and Programs” offerings are: Pre-Conference Seminars held in conjunction with the Association’s and NCLM’s Annual Conferences, courses offered to elected officials through the School of Government, and other NCACC-sponsored programs such as the Economic Development Symposium held in Spring 2014.

The NCACC Annual Conference, County Assembly Day, District Meetings, Legislative Goals Conference, NACo Conferences, and service on NCACC committees and boards all fall under “Association-Sponsored Programs and Service to the Association.”

How do I find out how many credits I have?

The Association produces an individualized “Passport to Learning” handout distributed to all Annual Conference registrants that details credits earned in each category. You can also contact Kelly Brown, NCACC Executive Assistant, at or (919) 715-1991, to obtain an up-to-date summary of your credits earned.

I’ve attended Essentials of County Government in the past. Why am I not getting credit for it?

When LELA was conceived in 2008, an Advisory Board of county and municipal officials concluded that due to significant changes in the programming and content delivered during Essentials of County Government, credits should not be awarded retroactively. You will find credits awarded for all eligible events that you have attended since December 2008.

Can I receive credits for webinars and online training?

No - since the Association and School have no means of tracking who is and who remains in the room for online programming, these opportunities to not count toward recognition.

Where can I learn about upcoming training opportunities?

You can find up-to-date calendar listings on the NCACC website and School of Government website. The School of Government also prints and mails a handful of LELA information and upcoming events fliers each year. A half-page ad in each month’s CountyLines includes information about upcoming events as well, and the Association also regularly emails notices of such events.

Is financial assistance available for LELA courses?

Yes, scholarships are available to School of Government sponsored programs, workshops and courses through the Local Elected Leaders Academy. Information about applying for scholarships is found on the individual course registration site on the School’s website. Scholarship funding is provided by organizations such as the Local Government Federal Credit Union, Prudential Financial, and Food Lion.

The NCACC offers a limited number of scholarships for county commissioners to attend LELA Pre-Conference Seminars held in conjunction with the Association’s Annual Conference each August, and the N.C. League of Municipalities’ Annual Conference each October.