Workshops & Speakers

NCACC staff will continue to update this page with information on conference sessions and workshops as they are finalized. 

The conference schedule and presentation materials can be found on the "Agenda" page.

Thursday, August 22

Workshop Block I, 9:30 – 11 a.m.

The ABCs of the PUV Program

Chances are during your time as a commissioner, you have gotten a question from a constituent about the tax value of agricultural land, horticultural land, or forestland – or maybe even adopted a Schedule of Values for lands to be taxed at present-use value (PUV) in your county. If you yourself have more questions than answers about the PUV Program, attend this workshop to gain historical context on the program, an overview of responsibilities for Boards of County Commissioners, and an understanding of processes and terminology so that you can better help constituents with questions about the program.

Speakers include David Baker, Director of Tax and Revenue Outreach, NCACC

How School Funding Agreements Impact the County-School Board Partnership

Several Boards of County Commissioners and Boards of Education use agreements (or formulas) to determine annual school system funding, providing consistency and a foundation for discussions. Hear from a panel of county and school system representatives on how current funding formulas, informal agreements, and policies that are no longer in use impact the working partnership between county boards and school boards.

Workshop Block II, 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

How a Bill Becomes a Law, and What It Means Once It Does

In this session, NCACC legal staff will take you on a journey, starting with an idea and following it through the legislative process until it becomes law. You will have the opportunity to explore the various steps that may occur – from the introduction of a bill until it is enacted into law, and ultimately how to read the final law.

Speakers include Amy Bason, Deputy Director/General Counsel, NCACC

The Convergence of Health and Wealth: The Nationwide HSA

Learn how the Nationwide HSA administered by HealthEquity can offer your employees a benefits package that combines two long-term savings needs into one seamless experience.

Speaker: Tim O’Mara, Vice President, Nationwide Retirement Institute

  • Also: Local Elected Leaders Academy session with Dan Clark (1:30 - 4:30 p.m.)

Ethics Training (3 – 5 p.m.)

Legislation passed in 2009 requires all county commissioners to “receive a minimum of two clock hours of ethics education within 12 months after initial election or appointment to the office and again within 12 months after each subsequent election or appointment to the office.” The Association will offer county officials the opportunity to receive their required ethics training during this two-hour seminar.

Speakers: Frayda S. Bluestein and Norma Houston, UNC School of Government

Workshop Block III, 3:15 – 4:30 p.m.

Make Your County Count in the 2020 Census

County leaders have a vested interest in accurate census data – 26 federal agencies rely on it to appropriate federal monies in more than 1,000 programs. In addition, census data helps your county plan for future needs. Citizen participation is crucial to a county government, and the countdown to the 2020 Census rollout is now measured in months. This session will help you understand, as a commissioner or manager, where your county should stand with planning and public engagement strategies, and the potential impact on your county of low participation.

Speaker: Kenneth C. Wilkins, U.S. Census Bureau

Local Government Corruption: Screening and Discussion of All the Queen’s Horses (3:15 – 5 p.m.)

In 2013, Rita Crundwell was sentenced to almost 20 years in prison for embezzling more than $53 million from the City of Dixon, Ill. – a scheme that took place over the course of two decades and funded a lavish lifestyle for the longtime city comptroller, one of the nation’s top breeders of quarter horses. This session includes a screening of All the Queen’s Horses, which documents the crime, and a facilitated discussion on the importance of strong internal controls for a local government.

Moderator: Kimberly Nelson, Albert and Gladys Hall Coates Distinguished Term Professor of Public Administration and Government, UNC School of Government

Friday, August 23

Workshop Block IV, 10:15 – 11:30 a.m.

Democracy, Endgame

The intentional design of checks and balances, power dilution, and the role of citizens are the foundations of democracy. While the current state of domestic and international politics may seem deeply divided and dysfunctional, the system is responding as expected. But for how long?

Speaker: C. Douglas Smith, Managing Partner, Stornoway Advisors

Doug Smith has spent more than 20 years developing solutions for the NGO, government, and business sectors. His resume includes work as an executive with the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution, where Smith was the driving force building a global democracy training practice at Montpelier, the home of President James Madison. Smith and his family will begin a year-long global sojourn starting in September to explore global citizenship, entrepreneurship, and the connection between markets and human empowerment.

Taking Care of Their Own: Addressing First Responder Suicides in Henderson County

Over an eight-month span in 2017, Henderson County Government tragically lost two longtime first responders to suicide. A growing regional problem with access to mental health services, combined with a failure in the public safety spectrum to properly address daily and critical incident stress experienced by first responders, led county leadership to a plan to integrate behavioral healthcare into its existing approach to overall wellness.

Moderator: Megan Powell, Budget Manager/Internal Auditor, Henderson County
Speakers: The Honorable J. Michael Edney, Commissioner; Steve Wyatt, County Manager; Jamie Gibbs, Wellness Clinic Manager; Michael Barnett, EMS Manager; and Michael Tui, Behavioral Health Counselor, Henderson County

Guilford County, UNCG Team Up to Respond to Opioid Epidemic

The opioid crisis has impacted all counties in North Carolina, and the response has varied based on local resources. Guilford County has formed a collaborative with the UNC-Greensboro Department of Social Work to implement a post overdose response program. This program has met with success in reducing the percentage of fatal overdoses, as well as educating public safety responders on the disease of addiction. This session will focus on implementing a post-overdose response program, and leveraging the academic community to assist local government with solutions to complex problems.

Speakers include Jim Albright, Emergency Services Director, Guilford County; and Chase Holleman, Navigator, Guilford County Solution to The Opioid Problem (GCSTOP)

Sleep Well at Night with Internal Auditors on Your Side

If you have nightmares about hackers, unethical employees, inefficient programs or dealing with your external financial audit firm, an internal audit function may be just for you! This fresh set of eyes looks within your county organization to ferret out avenues for fraud, vulnerabilities, inefficiencies, and much more. Hear from our host county about the benefits it has realized from its team of internal auditors.

Speaker: Chad Muhlestein, Director of Internal Audit, Guilford County

Workshop Block V, 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

Workshop Block VI, 3:15 – 4:30 p.m.


Saturday, August 24

General Session, 9 - 10 a.m.

Leadership in Turbulent Times

Presidential Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning Author Doris Kearns Goodwin’s seventh book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, was published in September 2018 to critical acclaim and became an instant New York Times bestseller. A culmination of Goodwin’s five-decade career of studying the American presidents focusing on Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson, the book provides an accessible and essential road map for aspiring and established leaders in every field, and for all of us in our everyday lives.

Following the keynote, Mrs. Goodwin will be available for a book signing until 10:30 a.m.

Workshop Block VII, 10:30 – 11:45 a.m.

Listening for a Better Connection with Constituents

True connection means true communication. There are many ways foster communication – online forums, panel discussions, symposiums, educational public events, surveys, television spots, radio ads and newspaper columns. None of these will be effective, however, without the key ingredient of listening. Communication is an exchange of ideas and all too often information is flowing largely in one direction. Great leaders are great listeners. In this workshop, expert communicator and storyteller Tim Lowry will share several examples of how leaders from the public and private sector create genuine listening opportunities for their constituents. He will also teach several skills to help you glean stories from members of your community that are rich with information about what constituents value, what they fear, what they hope for, and how they perceive your message.

Speaker: Storyteller Tim Lowry