2022 Annual Conference Resources and Presentations

Author Beth Macy
Author Beth Macy’s latest book, Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America’s Overdose Crisis, is due for release on August 16.

Friday Keynote: Beth Macy

Raising Lazarus: The Search for Solutions — and Hope — to Addiction, the No. 1 Destroyer of Families in Our Lifetime

Nearly a decade into the second wave of America’s opioid epidemic, pharmaceutical companies are finally being forced to answer for the crisis they created. Litigation against opioid makers, distributors and retailers has resulted in direct settlement funds to local governments in North Carolina that can be used to help treat the disease of addiction, and for investments in resources to help those struggling with addiction. Still, there is no consensus on the best treatment available to help addicted people, nor an understanding of how to scale the programs that have proven successful.

In this Friday morning keynote address, author Beth Macy examines what happens when political forces beyond the control of individuals come to define generations of Americans. This complex story of public health, big pharma, dark money, politics, race and class will take the story of DOPESICK into the present day, showing that the increase in the number of overdose deaths during the COVID pandemic illustrates the tremendous need across America to change the conditions that make addiction so prevalent – and which prevent those seeking treatment from beginning new lives.

  • Learn about Beth Macy

    Beth Macy is the author of the critically acclaimed and New York Times-bestselling books, Factory Man, Truevine, and Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America (2018). Macy serves as an Executive Producer and writer on the acclaimed Hulu limited television series Dopesick, which is based on her book.

Dr. Peter Cressy

Saturday Keynote: Peter Cressy, Rear Admiral (retired)

The Transformational Leadership of George Washington

Citing specific examples of George Washington’s military and political career, this session will explore the on-going dynamics of strategic development and highlight the importance of Washington’s integration of leadership, strategy and management.

  • Learn about Dr. Cressy

    Dr. Peter Cressy has 35 years of CEO experience in both the public and private sectors including significant international experiences. A distinguished educator, a retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral and Trade Association CEO, Dr. Cressy has a lengthy history of leadership positions. His 28-year naval career included key appointments at the State Department, House of Representatives, the Pentagon, and several commanding officer positions. Dr. Cressy now serves as the Washington Presidential Library’s Director of Executive Leadership Programs.

Concurrent Sessions

Thursday, August 11

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Navigating the County Map Book: A Guide to Help Inform Decisions and Set Direction
Each year, the NCACC is pleased to share the most relevant North Carolina county-specific data maps in the County Map Book. These data and map visualizations highlight demographic, economic, health, and educational information from all 100 counties. Join NCACC Fiscal and Policy Research Director Denise Canada and intern Philip Van Wagoner to learn about the newly released 2022 County Map Book and how to evaluate and interpret mapped data.

Growing Wiser for the Older: Addressing the Aging Population
A county’s senior population requires special care, and our conference host is strategically addressing the health and wellness of its older adult population. During this session, Cabarrus County officials will share some of their successes and replicable initiatives that include housing, food services, cross-generational activities and senior center offerings.

Presenters: Anthony Hodges, Adult and Aging Services Program Administrator; Susan Domann, Adult and Aging Services Social Work Supervisor; Teresa Kiser, Senior Center Program Manager; and Ian Sweeny, Project and Events Manager, Cabarrus County

10:45 – 11:45 a.m.

Strength in Storytelling: Lifting ‘100 Strong Productions’ to New Highs
A division of the NCACC, “100 Strong Productions” endeavors to tell the untold stories of North Carolina through documentary films and various other video productions in support of the NCACC’s mission. This interactive session will provide attendees with an opportunity to discuss the potential of this new venture, provide input on future projects, and get a sneak peak of in-progress productions.

Moderators: Chris Baucom, Executive Producer and Video Creative Director; and Sara Mogilski, Chief Operations Officer, NCACC

Douse the Flames of Common, Critical Issues with Fire Services Delivery
As counties see their population centers shift, shrink or grow, the changing demands on fire protection services can become a flash point for communities and county leaders. The resulting conflict can cause stagnation and resistance to change and updated approaches. As part of the high-growth Charlotte metro area, Cabarrus County faces challenges that are both unique and common across the state. During this session, county leaders will share trends and challenges in the fire service and how they have worked through various pain points to develop solutions that bettered the service for citizens and will share additional options that may be viable solutions for your county.

Speakers: Kent Greene, Iredell County Director of Fire Services and Emergency Management; Steve Langer, Cabarrus County Emergency Management and Fire Services Director; and Jacob Thompson, Cabarrus County Fire Marshal and Fire Services Chief

1:15 – 4:15 p.m.

‘Now You’re Speaking My Language!’ A Lesson in Negotiation Styles
Navigating difficult community conversations and political issues can test your negotiation prowess. This session, led by Montana State University’s Dan Clark, will ground you in the basics of negotiation styles by first helping you to assess the conflict management styles of yourself and others. With this knowledge in hand, you’ll be better able to apply appropriate techniques to any negotiation. Attendees will also have an opportunity to gain practice implementing different strategies of negotiation.

All in Good Faith: Successful Collaborations Between County and Faith-Based Organizations
A county government can certainly share similar goals with faith-based organizations, and alliances can take many forms. This session will showcase two such projects with the Cabarrus Dream Center – a one-stop shop established to provide assistance for those dealing with poverty, homelessness, substance use disorder and addiction, family crises, human trafficking, behavioral health challenges, and/or housing disparity – and the Lockhart Child Development Center, which the county subsidizes for the provision of affordable childcare for county employees.

Speakers: Karen Calhoun, Director, Cabarrus County Department of Human Services; Ed Hosack, Executive Director, Cooperative Christian Ministry; Erin Shoe, Deputy Public Health Director, Cabarrus Health Alliance; and Gwen Stowers, Missions/Outreach & Dream Center Pastor, Multiply Church

1:15 – 2:30 p.m.

Shared People, Shared Interests: Connecting Counties and Our American Indian Organizations
North Carolina is home to the largest population of American Indians east of the Mississippi. It is well known that the Cherokee Nation is a sovereignty as a federally recognized tribe. Did you also know there are other tribes in North Carolina that are recognized under state law? These tribal organizations provide leadership, identity and programs for American Indian residents across our state. They often deliver an array of county-like services that are funded through special federal grants, funding allotments specific to American Indian populations, and other sources. Whether in the form of public school allotments or direct grants for services such as public health, day care, water quality, elder care or affordable housing, our American Indian population is a shared constituency for county commissioners.

In this session, commissioners will learn more about the tribal organizations that represent the American Indian population in North Carolina and explore ways counties and tribes might share common interests and concerns. We will briefly touch on some of the principles of collaborative leadership that come into play in working with external organizations and explore ways open communication and information-sharing might amplify ARPA resources to achieve mutual benefits.

Presenter: Greg Richardson, Director, NC Commission of Indian Affairs
Panelists: Tony Hunt (Lumbee), Hoke County Commissioner; Dr. Brucie Ogletree Green Richardson, Chief, Haliwa-Saponi Tribe; and Greg Jacobs, Coharie Tribal Administrator (invited)
Facilitator: Patrice Roesler, Manager of Elected Official Programs, UNC School of Government

Explore more:
– According to the 2020 census, what is the American Indian population in your county? Is there a particular tribal identity to this population?
– Suggested reading: James Mooney’s History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees (James Mooney, George Ellison, Bright Mountain Books, 1992)
– How was George Washington’s leadership reflected in his relationships with Native Americans? Read more here.

3 – 4:15 p.m.

The Threat Is Real: Get Defensive and Increase Your Cyber Readiness
County governments must defend against a wide array of cyber threats and challenges due to the variety of services they provide. This session will share information on current and future threats to boards of elections, water plants, tax and financial data, as well as emergency communications systems. Lessons learned from actual incident response missions conducted in North Carolina will help attendees realize where they may have opportunities to improve their cyber posture. This must-see presentation includes recommendations for mitigating or reducing exposure to many cyber threats, and offers real-world advice for county officials facing a live cyber incident or attack.

Speaker: Lt. Col. Seth Barun, Chief of Cyber Operations, North Carolina National Guard

Friday, August 12

10:45 a.m. – noon

Making Sense of the Annual Audit Report: The Story Behind the Numbers
When the Board of Commissioners receives the county’s annual audit report, are you able to translate its language and numbers into a story that tells you about the financial health of your county government? Whether you are somewhat new to your role as a county commissioner or just need a refresher, this session will provide insight into where your eyes need to focus on the financial statements, the importance of the compliance section, making sense of the fund balance section, state deadlines and what the auditors are required to tell you. Attendees will also gain an understanding of how prior year’s performance drives projections for the current and future fiscal years.

Presenter: Johnna Sharpe, NCACC County Operations Consultant

Developing a Response to the Opioid Epidemic: Surry County’s Story
The Surry County Board of Commissioners stepped up its response to the opioid epidemic with the hiring of a director for its Office of Substance Abuse Recovery in June 2018. Since then, the county office has moved intentionally toward implementation of a continuum of care model designed to eliminate impediments for county residents who seek treatment and recovery from substance use disorder. The county’s unique approach, rooted in community research and data, provides a roadmap for other counties seeking to build an informed, agile and evidence-based response plan that takes into account a community’s “readiness level” to take action on various needs.

Moderator: Chris Knopf, Surry County Manager
Panelists: Beth Macy, author; and Sonya Cheek, Peer Support Specialist; Jamie Edwards, Data Research Analyst; and Mark Willis, Substance Abuse Recovery Director, Surry County

Welcoming Young People into the County Family
Programs that involve young people in county government not only provides an educational benefit for the youth, but also helps to inform county leadership about issues that young citizens are grappling with. Cabarrus County actively works to bring youth and county government together through initiatives such as its Youth Commission, which consists of 20 members appointed by the Board of Commissioners, and a Youth Leadership Institute. Attend this session to learn about the commission and other youth-based programs in the county that allow for education, interaction and the creation of youth-adult partnerships.

Speakers: Steve Morris, Board Chair; Diane Honeycutt, Commissioner; and Tracy LeCompte, Cooperative Extension Director, Cabarrus County

A Bird’s Eye View of Recent Historic Investments in Broadband Access
North Carolina is investing about $1 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to address infrastructure, access, and digital literacy needs throughout the state. These resources will help deploy crucial last-mile broadband infrastructure to serve remaining unserved and underserved areas. And, more broadband funding will be provided by the Investment in Infrastructure and Jobs Act (IIJA), which was signed into law last November. IIJA broadband programs will be administered primarily by the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA), which received $65 billion to support various broadband activities nationwide including planning, mapping, local coordination efforts, and last and middle mile projects to connect unserved and underserved areas. During this session, you’ll get a high-level overview of these historic investments to help your county with strategic broadband planning efforts.

1:45 – 4 p.m.

Managing Difficult Conversations with Constituents
Disagreements are often along the lines of, “you say up, I say down. You say left, I say right. You say hot, I say cold.” We live in polarized times, and norms of civility and compromise have broken down. Differences of opinion can quickly become opportunities to create new enemies if conversations get out of hand. Elected officials need additional skills for managing conversations when constituents and others are frustrated, angry or demanding.

This work session will provide attendees with tools to change these exchanges into constructive conversations in which everyone feels heard. When used effectively, these skills can save time in your busy schedules by preventing endless back and forth discussions that are at best unproductive and at worst destructive.

Participants should expect a lively and interactive session, with real-life situations providing opportunities for humor and fun. You’ll be able to apply your skills using prescribed steps and tools, helping you to integrate this learning into practice so you can have more constructive conversations even with those whom you have differences of opinion.

Goals for the session include gaining the ability to:
– show people who disagree with you that they have been heard.
– find areas of commonality or agreement when those are present.
– share your views in a way that makes it likely you will be heard by the other person.

Speaker and facilitator: Bill Doherty, co-founder of Braver Angels, and a professor and director of the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project at the University of Minnesota

Continuous Collaboration Keeps County, Municipalities Moving Forward Together
Cabarrus County may be “where racing lives,” but collaboration runs strong here as well. Cabarrus County and each of its five municipalities – the cities of Concord and Kannapolis, and the towns of Harrisburg, Midland and Mt. Pleasant – work closely together on many facets of mutually beneficial projects. This rolling tour will include drive-by highlights of projects in Concord, and will stop in the heart of Kannapolis for closer looks at several transformational projects.

Tour facilitators include Steve Morris, Board Chair, Cabarrus County; Bill Dusch, Mayor, City of Concord; Darrell Hinnant, Mayor, City of Kannapolis; Lloyd Payne, Concord City Manager; and Mike Legg, Kannapolis City Manager

Transportation departs from in front of the Concord Convention Center at 1:45 p.m.

1:45 – 2:45 p.m.

Realizing Change in Criminal Justice
During the 2021 Annual Conference, members of Governor Roy Cooper’s Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice (TREC) and N.C. Department of Justice representatives outlined a set of recommendations aimed at making North Carolina’s criminal justice system fairer, safer and more effective. This updated session will shift to how county government leaders can begin to turn recommendations into reality, with particular focus on diversion programming.

Speakers: Mike Hawkins, former Transylvania County Commissioner; Sonya Harper, Director of Mecklenburg County’s Criminal Justice Services Department; and Mary Pollard, Director of North Carolina Indigent Defense Services

Join the New School Building Boom in NC
A new building boom is under way in North Carolina, made possible by money raised through the N.C. Education Lottery. Grants of $30 million, $40 million and $50 million are now available to build new schools in counties. Attend this session to learn about this new program and how your county can participate.

Presenters: Van Denton, Director of Communications, NC Education Lottery; Adam Pridemore, Legislative Counsel, NCACC; and others TBA

Security Is Not Convenient
This session will provide you with an overview of the cybersecurity landscape in today’s world, including threats, vectors and probabilities. You’ll also learn some countermeasures that are rapidly implementable, as well as ‘easy to memorize’ tenets of how to view cybersecurity.

Speaker: John Hey, Director of Operations, VC3

3 – 4 p.m.

Facts Before Feelings: Keeping Emotional Investing in Check (Part I)
Emotional investing is when you let emotions like excitement, fear, optimism and anxiety affect your investment decisions. It is a series of emotions that fluctuate as rates and prices move up and down. They come into play and cloud your original strategy. Learn about the types of emotions that affect investment. We will discuss the causes of emotional investing and strategies to avoid emotional investing.

Speakers: Colleen Heptig, Nationwide Retirement Specialist for Central and Western North Carolina; and Selmon Robinson, Nationwide Retirement Specialist for Eastern North Carolina, parts of Virginia and West Virginia

Navigating the Current Financial Environment (Part II)

Cabarrus County and three+one will discuss the state of the economy and its implications for local governments.

Saturday, August 13

10:45 – 1:45 p.m.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to complex community issues. And often, the most appropriate response typically comes from within the community that is dealing with it.

A core value of the NCACC is to promote strengthening local decision-making to respond to local needs. Through Annual Conference, the Association seeks to create a “family reunion” atmosphere that brings county leaders together to discuss shared challenges.

Concurrent sessions on Saturday will introduce a difficult or emerging topic for county officials to explore in-depth. Each session will begin with an educational-style session designed to provide context and a basis for conversation. The sessions will then break for lunch, and county leaders will have the remainder of the session time to break bread, share individual approaches to the issue, and discover potential partnerships and shared solutions.

These focused sessions will examine how county leaders can:
– Serve as a catalyst to develop local food resilience strategies (includes a screening of the NCACC’s award-winning film, Resilience – Food for All);
– Ensure the needs of your community of military veterans are being met;
– Successfully coalesce a diverse stakeholder group to provide recommendations to a Board of Commissioners on how to invest national opioid settlement funds; and
– Navigate the delivery of local workforce development initiatives in a changing intergovernmental environment.

Descriptions for each session follow:

Getting to Know the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act and Its Local Impact
Local workforce development administration is undergoing a significant overhaul. In this session, attendees will receive an overview of the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA), guidance on how to govern with maximum impact in accordance with all the pieces outlined in the WIOA, and an outline of practical steps to consider in the strategic planning and alignment processes. Following a presentation, moderated discussion will focus on the local implications of the WIOA.

Speaker: Dr. Jenni Harris, N.C. Department of Commerce

Resilience: Inspiration to Achieve Food Security
This session will begin with a screening of Resilience – Food for All, a film by the NCACC’s 100 Strong Productions. This award-winning documentary explores the challenge of food access in North Carolina and how everyday heroes are working to strengthen food system resilience in local communities. Following the screening, NCACC Past President Ronnie Smith, whose presidential initiative on food system resiliency served as inspiration for the film, and NCACC staff will moderate a discussion on how county leaders can serve as a catalyst for developing local resilience strategies.

Moderators: Ronnie Smith, Martin County Board Chair and NCACC Past President; Chris Baucom, Executive Producer and Video Creative Director; and Laurel Edwards, Director of Policy Planning, NCACC

Bringing People Together: First Steps in Fighting Back Against the Opioid Epidemic
In June, North Carolina counties received the first of 18 payments negotiated as part of the national opioid settlement with opioid manufacturers Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma, and drug distributors Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen. With the funding stream in place, many county leaders are now wondering, “where do I start?” Known for its strong commitment to collaboration, Cabarrus County will share its story of how bringing together a diverse community stakeholder group set the stage for impactful, locally developed strategies to address the epidemic.

Presenters: Van Shaw, Cabarrus County Sheriff; Justin Brines, Cabarrus County Deputy Chief of Emergency Medical Services; Kristin Klinglesmith, Cabarrus Health Alliance Substance Use Program Manager; and Mike Downs, Cabarrus County Manager

Shining a Light on Veterans, and County Services
The National Association of Counties is getting behind Operation Green Light, an initiative to shine a light on the plight of veterans in counties across the country who are having a hard time connecting with benefits after serving their country. This interactive session will introduce this national initiative before transitioning to North Carolina county-specific presentations and discussions.

Moderators and presenters: Vickie Adamson, Wake County Commissioner; James Shores, Davidson County Commissioner; Lois Harvin-Raven, Veterans Services Director, Durham County; and Eric Truesdale, Veterans Services Director, Harnett County